Search giant dives into online audience measurement

By Mike Shields, Mediaweek

June 25, AdWeek

NEW YORK Google has potentially increased its sizable influence over online ad spending by throwing its hat into the increasingly log-jammed world of Internet audience measurement.

The company has launched Google Ad Planner, a free product that promises to allow buyers to identify Web sites that match their desired target audiences -- and ultimately guiding them toward where they should spend their clients' dollars. The new tool puts Google in competition with established industry metrics players Nielsen Online (owned by Adweek and Mediaweek parent the Nielsen Co.) and comScore -- which charge agencies a fee to access their data -- as well as a host of upstarts, including Quantcast, Hitwise and Compete.

According to a post on Google's official AdWords blog, the tool enables buyers to cherry pick individual sites based on their client's specific target demographics and calculate the total audience for an individual media campaign. Buyers have the option of creating a spreadsheet to compile this planning data or exporting it to DoubleClick's MediaVisor tool.

While not mentioning other services by name, Google appears to be positioning Ad Planner as better suited to reporting the audience for smaller, long-tail sites whose audience data may not be as well captured by panel-based services offered by comScore and Nielsen. "If you're a media planner at an ad agency, you know that planning an online display buy can be challenging, particularly in scaling your campaign's reach while keeping it relevant for your target audience," reads Google's blog posting. "Plus, how do you keep track of the millions of sites out there that might be just right for your campaign?"

Read more this news quote

photo: Ad Planner puts Google in competition with established industry metrics players (AdWeek)