When Google's free audience measurement service AdPlanner hit the 'Net (in an
invite-only beta, of course), it leveled the playing field for online media
buyers. So while those that have invested a large portion of their budget in
Comscore and Nielsen slap themselves in the head in the ultimate "doh!" moment,
let's look inside Google's AdPlanner and discover how any online media buyer can
leverage it for the benefit of greater exposure, lower cost and more
Getting started creating a media plan is simple with AdPlanner - just enter a
formal name for your media plan and the country being targeted. For the purpose
of this tutorial, I have created a theoretical company selling iPhone
applications that wants ad exposure in the US. Once create, we can begin our
research. Editors Note: The first and last images in this article have
been resized slightly to fit within this site structure; for a closer view just
select them and a new window will open to display the image in its entirety.
The first step in creating a media plan using Google AdPlanner is to define the
audience. Google gets us started by saying that in their content network there
are 230 million unique visitors (which is a monthly measure) with a country
reach of 99.5% create page views of 160 billion. At any time we can change the
country or the language. Why would we do this? Well, perhaps we want Chinese
speakers in the U.S. This bring our Unique visitor count down to 2.2 million
with a country reach of 0.9 and 2.3 billion page views, but we're able to
quickly identify media opportunities and decide whether translating our iPhone
application into simplified Chinese is a prudent move.
The next step in creating our media plan with Google AdPlanner is to specify the
demographics we are looking for - for example gender, age, education and income.
In the case of our iPhone application (which let's say happens to be one related
to social shopping) we know it is better suited to women, of a younger age and
higher educatio level with some discretionary income. Understanding your
audience is imperative to the success of AdPlanner. As such, we've selected
women ages 25-44, with at least some college (which includes those with
bachelors or graduate degrees) earning more than $50K per year.
From the 230 million unique visitors available to us originally, we've now
narrowed down the available audience to a modest 16 million users (7% country
reach and 14 billion page views).
Our targeting power however can be amplified if we understand the audience
behavior and what websites they are currently visiting. Since we're selling an
iPhone application, it is probably safe to assume that our audience has at least
one time visited a website such as "apple.com". The more sites we add however
the small our audience sample gets so depending on whether volume or relevance
is more important to you campaign, research accordingly. For example, we added
itunes.com to the website apple.com which we already had defined in "online
behavior" and received a system message which asks us to change our audience
definition as we likely specified an audience to small to display or a site
without any data.
Once we define the audience we are looking for and their demographics and online
behavior (and while we are doing so) AdPlanner displays sites within their
content network and even outside of their content network which we might be
interested in advertising upon. Websites can be sorted by site, category
(determined by an automated system), "comp index" which shows the concentration
of an audience relate to users in your define country, unique visitors, country
reach, page views and whether or not they appear in Google's content network.
As an advertiser that utilizes the Google content network, the following image
displays the top sites by number of impressions per day in various categories.
one of the downside of my experience using Adplanner is that the only filter
that can be applied is to restrict sites from appearing that do not appear on
the Google content network or sites appearing on the content network that do not
display a specific ad format or size. The ability to narrow down by category
returned by AdPlanner would be helpful in this instance.
Once we have added the sites we have identified as ones we would like to
advertise upon to our media plan, users are able to double check those sites to
ensure they meet the specific objectives of the campaign. For example,
mothering.com (in the pregnancy and maternity category) was one website that we
initially selected that online media buyers for this campaign may considering
removing from the plan. Users can learn more by selecting the graph button next
to the domain name to review a summary of the site in relation to unique
visitors, country reach and page views as well as sites that are also visited,
keywords searched for, visitation history and user demographics if available.
While mothering.com has the highest number of page views, in the end we decide
to remove it based on the fact that the category is not relevant to our
The most valuable aspect of Google AdPlanner is in its ability to help online
media buyers quickly identify advertising opportunities and have a good amount
of research to back up their initial assumptions. While still a little rough
around the edges in terms of usability, Google AdPlanner is a powerful,
immensely useful service which will get you on the path to online marketing
savvy much faster than competing services for absolutely no cost at all.