comScore, Inc. , a leader in measuring the digital world has released March 2008 data on online ad networks, highlighting both the breadth of reach for the top ad networks and the emergence of a series of audience-specific niche ad networks. comScore’s technology platform measures the actual delivery of ads within online ad networks, a feature that differentiates it from most, if not all, other online measurement firms.
“Ad networks have become integral components to the online advertising industry over the past several years by helping aggregate audiences for the purposes of delivering impressions to a broad array of Internet users,” said Jeff Hackett, comScore vice president. “The increasing ability of many ad networks to target and deliver ads either behaviorally or demographically is enabling a more efficient expression of ad dollars and an improved return on advertisers’ online marketing investment.”
Jeff Hackett and comScore vice president Alistair Sutcliffe, will be discussing comScore’s latest online advertising products, including Ad Metrix which provides online advertising intelligence for advertisers and publishers, at the Bay Area Users Group Forum on Wednesday, April 16 at the San Francisco Marriott Hotel (Golden Gate Ballroom at 8:00 AM) in conjunction with the ad:Tech San Francisco conference.
Each of the top 15 ad networks delivered ads to at least half of the total U.S. Internet audience in March, making them very effective reach-building vehicles for advertisers. Platform-A, the AOL ad network that combines Advertising.com, Quigo and Tacoda, served ads to 170 million U.S. Internet users in March, representing 91 percent of the total U.S. online population, to rank as the top ad network. On a stand-alone basis, Advertising.com would rank as the top ad network with a reach of more than 167 million Internet users. Yahoo! Network ranked second with a reach of 160 million, followed by Google Ad Network (152 million) and Specific Media (140 million).
As ad networks have expanded their reach and influence online, a new crop of ad networks has surfaced to serve specific demographic and behavioral target segments through both the traditional ad network model and more innovative ad-targeting mechanisms. While the overall reach of these niche ad networks is eclipsed by the more generalized ad networks, their ability to precision-target niche audiences helps advertisers reduce wasted ad impressions.
One example of a behaviorally targeted ad network is Snap Shots Network, which delivers ads to users of Snap.com’s Snap Shots. The network reached more than 18 million U.S. Internet users in March. Widgetbucks Network delivers contextually relevant ads through a widget, and joined the ad networks ranking in March with a reach of 9.5 million, while NeoEdge Game Network, which delivers ads through games, had a reach of nearly 1 million. Other ad networks on this list target specific audience segments, such as HispanoClick by Batanga (Hispanics), Indieclick (young influencers or “tastemakers”) and The Heavy Men’s Network (men).
“The reality is that advertisers have different objectives with their online campaigns,” added Mr. Hackett. “While some are focused on broadening the reach of their brand, others prefer a more focused approach that can deliver a higher frequency. The emergence of these niche ad networks represents an evolution for the online advertising industry that is giving advertisers more precise targeting and better control of their online campaigns.”