During the first quarter of 2011, 1.11 trillion ad impressions were shown in the US alone. An impression is when an ad is shown on a page. Everytime someone loads a webpage and an ad loads, that counts as an impression for that ad. 1.11 trillion in the US alone! And that data is 3 years old so it is surely much larger today. People involved in the online marketing/advertising world are quite aware of the size of this market, it’s insanely rapid growth, and most importantly its potential. 3 billion more people are expected to be using the internet in the next 6-7 years as people in undeveloped countries get internet access. The data doesn’t lie, and to anyone not aware of how big it is, I’d advise reading into it a bit. I always laugh when I talk to a random person about what I do and how 99% of people insist they’ve never clicked an ad on Facebook or elsewhere.
Facebook generates billions of dollars each year from clicks alone, so no doubt many many people click ads. And from the perspective of an advertiser like myself, an ideal ad is an ad which is user doesn’t know it is an ad. Most people who browse the web would be suprised at how many ads there actually are, how often they actually do click them, and how much influence the advertising market has over the actions you take online.
With this said, the point of this post is to discuss a bit about WhatRunsWhere (WRW), which is a online ad intelligence tool. Essentially it crawls the web similar to how Google searches the web, but WRW crawls the web for banner ads. It then monitors how long ads are shown, where they are shown, who the advert is bought through, etc. Other companies who want to buy advertising can use this data to find out which banner ads are performing best, where they are shown, etc. It provides very valuable data that can be used to help media buyers (people who buy adverts online) scale out their advertising campaigns, get ideas from the best performing ads, and give insights into what websites are likely to perform for them.
You can search by advertiser (such as Coke), by keywords (such as drinks, or puzzles), or by publisher. I did a keyword search for “amazon” and you can see below it shows all the ads related to “amazon”. You can also pick between 5 different ad sizes, and text ads:
From there, you can click on individual banners and it will provide even more insight, such as:
- How long the banner has been running
- The traffic sources this ad is being run through (such as Adwords, direct buy, etc.)
- The placements of this ad (what sites this ad is shown), along with the duration for each placement
- The countries it is shown on in each placement, and the duration
- The ad server running the ad
- The destination URL/landing page of the banner
You basically get all of data of the advert, aside from its click through rate. You can heavily use this data to your advantage. For example, if an ad has been running for many months on a single placement, there is a good chance the advert is performing well for the advertiser. Below is quick screenshot of the detail page of a banner:
There is a massive amount of data here, and what I’ve wrote only scratches the service. Note that there is also WRW for mobile, where you can gather data on mobile adverts. Luckily, you can checkout all the features of WRW essentially for free using their 30 day, $1 trial. Use for 1 month for $1, and you can cancel anytime. If you’re a media buyer, want to see what your competition is advertising, want to get ideas from well-performing ads, learn from brand advertisers, or just want to explore the massive online advertising market, check it out.