Adobe’s Bold Plans for Online Ad Business Don’t Include Advertising

But watch out if you're Salesforce, comScore, Chartbeat or Brightcove

Once an looming outlier, Adobe wants to play a central role in the online ad business. Despite lots of speculation, the company says it doesn’t want to get into the media or advertising business—but it does have bold plans for plenty of disruption.

Adweek recently caught up with Bill Ingram, vp of Adobe Analytics and Adobe Social, to talk about where Adobe is and isn’t going when it comes to taking on the entire Luma Partners Slide.

Adweek: You guys have made a bunch of acquisitions in the ad tech space, as well as an ad agency/search shop. That's led to a lot of popular theories about your ambitions. One theory I’ve heard is that given all the magazines you support on tablets, you could build an iPad ad network.

Ingram: That’s not in the cards. Ad networks are about advertising arbitrage. That business is falling down. We’re really about digitizing the word. Helping advertisers get their stuff on the Web. We’re a content enabler. With print, there is a short-term opportunity to help publishers digitize.

What about an ad exchange?


What about taking on the Web video ad business? You guys have made a lot of inroads here. Adobe is one of the companies cited that could help Web video finally incorporate sophisticated targeting. You could make dynamic ad insertion a reality for the Hulus of the world, or even VOD.

We’re not interested in selling video ads. We want to own the market for video tech. We can host delivery of video. We can do dynamic delivery, packaging, serving. We can help content companies better monetize it. But we don’t want to get into distribution, and we don’t want to sell ads.

With your acquisition of Omniture, could you see Adobe taking on comScore in terms of video research and reporting?

Yes, that’s in the cards.

Some of what you offer seems to compete with Chartbeat?

Oh, we are going to crush Chartbeat.

Should FreeWheel, Brightcove and those types of companies be worried?

Yes. We want to disrupt the video market. It has to be sustainable.

You also have built up a large suite of tools for campaign management [things like Adobe Media Optimizer], ad serving, and for helping brands manage social campaigns. Does that mean you want to take on Buddy Media?

We’re going to crush Buddy Media. That’s going to turn out to be the worst acquisition Salesforce has ever done.