Google Ad Planner Opens for Everyone

By Josh Catone

In June, Google launched a closed, invite-only beta test of their media buying planning tool Ad Planner. Many pundits predicted that Google’s offering would be damaging to established competitors like comScore, whose stock tumbled when Google’s product was announced. Those competitors were quick to dismiss the product as an inferior offering, but they may have reason to start worrying again: today Google opened up the free Ad Planner product to everyone and beefed up its feature set.

Though Ad Planner is aimed at media buyers to help them find the best sites to advertise on to reach their target audience, we’ve often used it as a way to compare sites within the same niche. We noticed during initial testing that Google’s product, which some surmise might be getting data from the Google Toolbar among other sources, had an uncanny ability to be able to accurately report traffic information. It isn’t perfect, but we’ve found it to be spot on more often than other free tools.

In addition to traffic stats, Ad Planner also gives demographic data on a site’s traffic — age, gender, education, household income — and suggests related sites and keywords. It’s hard to tell how accurate that information is, so it’s not easy to gauge value. But certainly, Ad Planner provides a nice starting point for ad buyers.

The new public release of Ad Planner adds a number of new features, including expansion into five new international territories: France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Great Britain. Ad Planner can also filter results by keyword and geo-target. So, for example, you could find sites about certain topics (like model trains) that are frequented by visitors from specific countries, regions, or metro areas (like Washington, DC).

Ad Planner also offers a new bubble chart view to compare sites in your media plan and figure out where to allocate the brunt of your advertising budget.

The new Ad Planner still might not match the paid metrics from rivals like comScore and Neilsen, but as a free alternative it is definitely a useful tool for online advertisers to have in their arsenal. And as we noted, it can also be a great tool for site owners to use when researching competitors and new markets.

The video below comes from Google and introduces the Ad Planner product.

  • IndyCash

    Hmm.. the video is no longer available.

    Wonder if G has changed it’s mind about something, or changing features.

  • @IndyCash: Hmm, video still works for me. Perhaps a momentary glitch?

  • Everything works OK, G proposes more and more services and opportunities for users!
    Ivan, Web-Impress

  • neil100

    It appears to be rather inaccurate some of the page view stats are a joke.

  • IndyCash

    @Josh… that’s very weird. It still says ‘video no longer available’ for me

  • @IndyCash: Maybe you can access the video directly at YouTube.

  • IndyCash

    Thanks for the link Josh… but just to add to the weirdness, it says the same thing when I try and play it there. (all other vids seem to work fine)

    Maybe they don’t want Australians to view it. :)

  • cshepherd

    neil100, agreed. Makes me wonder whether comparing 2 sites gives a better representation or not. Not knowing competitor sites stats, it makes it hard to tell.

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