Is Microsoft's "engagement mapping" a Google-killer? Ad buyers say no

NEW YORK — Microsoft's Kevin Johnson is pushing "engagement mapping," a technology used to track the ads consumers viewed on the Web before they purchased a product. As he put it to Fortune, "We think paid search is getting more credit than it deserves." Ad buyers here at the EconAds conference told the crowd they don't buy it. Said NeoAtOgilvy COO Greg Smith, "I tell my clients: Search should be the first dollar spent. It makes all the sense in the world that if someone is saying, 'Gee, I'm looking for tax preparation help,' why wouldn't [H&R Block] want to be on that space?" MEC Interaction's Adam Shlachter said there is room for Johnson's new tool — "We need to make sure that the messages that trigger purchases are getting their due" — but asked whether ads shown to be effective by engagement mapping would take money from search marketing, Shlacter simply shook his head "no."