Kantar Media, a unit of WPP, said April 28 it will start tracking advertising on digital ad networks, with data about advertisers, products, impressions but not specific dollar expenditures at least at the outset.
A rep said that while Kantar is not reporting ad dollars for networks at this time, but it will report the number of impressions and share percentage of impressions attributable to individual ad networks.
Kantar said it would be the only researcher to offer such detailed insight into the companies, advertisers and products running on ad networks, and the only source of industry- and category-specific ad network trending. However, the firm is still sorting out how much of the data, if any, it will release for general public consumption. For traditional media, it offers quarterly and annual reports on broad trends and ad totals.
“Ad networks have made it possible for site owners to monetize inventory that hasn’t been sold through direct sales channels, but to date, industry- and advertiser-level trending and data analysis for such networks, as well as insight into the source of such display advertising, has not been available” said Mark Nesbitt, president, Kantar Media Intelligence.
The firm’s reporting, he said, will provide new insight “into the volume of network advertising running across the 4,500 premier, top-tier and local sites in the U.S. and Canada that Kantar Media monitors.”
Kantar said the new research offering was designed in consultation with agencies, publishers and ad networks, and would enable advertisers and agencies to see which brands are running on which networks. While the reporting will not reveal individual site placements, agencies will be able to identify which networks have the highest level of overlap when evaluating flights and campaigns.
To start, Kantar said it would track 29 networks, adding others over time.
According Kantar’s initial findings from December and January, ad networks accounted for 22 percent of total Internet ad impressions while ads sold directly by publishers accounted for 78 percent. Among ad networks during that time, Fox Audience Network led with a nearly 35 percent share, followed by AOL Advertising Network (23 percent); ValueClick (14 percent) and 24/7 RealMedia (14 percent).
Marketers with the largest share of ad network impressions for that that two-month period: Victory Records (11 percent); Zynga Inc. (seven percent); Sprint Nextel Corp. (five percent); credit report company Privacy Matters (four percent) and AT&T (three percent).
Top ad network product categories include amusements and events, games, Internet providers, telecommunications and financial services, per the Kantar data.