RelevantKnowledge Inc. said it issued its first monthly Ad Network Report, calling it “the only analysis that accurately measures the potential and actual reach among ad networks.”
Oddly, no specifics from the report were issued. A spokeswoman for the company
said that was a deliberate move, taken to avoid the sort of controversy that
ensued recently when DoubleClick and LinkExchange began issuing dueling press
releases over figures from Media Metrix. RelevantKnowledge “didn’t want to
infringe on the content of the report,” she said.
The RelevantKnowledge June Ad Network Report includes 24/7 Media, BurstNet,
DoubleClick, Flycast, LinkExchange, RealMedia and ZuluMedia. The spokeswoman
said at least three of those networks are subscribers to the report. There is
not yet a pricing structure for the ad reports, she told Internet Advertising
The immediate intent of the Ad Network Report is twofold, RelevantKnowledge
First, the report delivers intelligence to the industry about the reach and
audience composition of the major ad networks. Second, it provides ad
networks, advertisers, agencies and analysts with quantitative data about the
reach of specific “affinity groups” (interest areas with similar content,
e.g., news/information) designed to enhance the targeting of advertisers’
media buys. Affinity groups are the result of an ad network’s
functional and technical relationships with thousands of sites.
“So much confusion has arisen recently in the very competitive ad network
space,” said RelevantKnowledge CEO Jeff Levy. “The goal of our report is to clear up some of the commotion arising from apples to oranges comparisons, such as the actual v. potential reach of
an ad network, as well as comparing ad networks to aggregated Web domains or
But confusion or no, don’t be surprised to see figures from the report soon,
either leaked to the online media or boldly presented in yet another press
release from an ad network.
RelevantKnowledge defines potential reach as the reach across all sites that
an ad network represents. This does not account for whether ads are viewed.
Actual reach, a better performance measure, is based on actual ads viewed by a
user. The company said its advantage in this area of measurement lies in its
technical capability of measuring when a user receives an ad provided by an ad
network’s ad server.
While RelevantKnowledge has the ability to take an ad network’s self-reported
URLs and yield a potential reach figure across those URLs, the company said
its Ad Network Report goes a step further by measuring actual ads viewed.
“An ad network may represent 10 million ‘potential’ Unique Visitors, but in a
given time period, it may only be able to reach a third of them,” said
RelevantKnowledge President Tim Cobb. “This one-third number is considered by
RelevantKnowledge as the ‘coverage rate’ of an ad network, a number that often
hinges on distribution deals that ad networks have with sites.”