Adclarity asked us to if we’d like to review their new tool which helps advertisers, publishers and ad networks research and analyse Ad buying activity across a vast range of website properties.
We are quite particular about what we review but, in this case, the tool caught my interest because I am acutely aware of how difficult market research on display advertising can be. These are the two things I like most about AdClarity: the usability is very intuitive while the insights are actionable and, if used well, seriously revenue generating.
The tool is designed with three client types in mind (publisher, advertiser, ad network) so let’s address these in turn. At the end I list some extra features I like, some forthcoming features and a short feature wishlist.
Let’s imagine I work for Toyota and want to know more about Honda’s campaigns. I want to know where they are putting their ads, which of these places they are concentrating on as well as what the ad copy and landing pages look like. Let’s look at how we’d extract all this from the tool. After running a search for Honda I am taken to this page
Focusing on the last three months of US results, we have details of the 76 campaigns Honda have run in this period. The “last time detected” allows me to spot ongoing ad campaigns that I may want to respond to. Filtering by statistical share, how often these ads are detected as a percentage of total ads detected for Honda, allows me to see where they are concentrating their money. As with most things on AdClarity, this is all exportable to excel. Under URL we can click-through to see the landing page used in any particular campaign.
I can then dig down to get more detail on a particular campaign. I can get a list of publishers for this campaign along with statistical share and a daily trend graph that shows campaign impressions over the last three months on that publisher. This allows me to see where Honda are concentrating the campaign. Drilling down and filtering by statistical share on the Honda Access campaign, for example, I can see that they are concentrating heavily on Huffington Post which is taking well over 10% of their ads for this campaign. There is also the option here to see mediators (such as DoubleClick) and the reports also show the display and text ad copy that is being used on the campaign.
Going back up a level, I can see all publishers, creatives (ad copy) and mediators for the last 3 months across all Honda’s campaigns if I wish. To save me digging through these results every month, I can “follow” Honda and receive email updates whenever AdClarity spots a new Honda campaign in a particular territory such as the USA.
Now suppose my alerts told me about the Honda Access campaign on Huffington Post and I decided to counter on that publisher with Toyota’s own campaign. Who should I email at Huffington Post about this? Conveniently, AdClarity have included contacts for the websites they cover. So, for Huffington Post, I navigate to the main report and then click contacts to be presented with a small address book of 86 contacts at this website. I can filter by department and level to narrow it down to people with the authority to sell me ad space. Contacts credits are then used to reveal full names, email addresses and phone numbers of particular individuals.
For bigger sites the contacts feature can be a little overwhelming and the two dimensions for filtering may feel slightly sub-optimal.
American Express, for example, returns 5924 people and limiting this to directors and managers in marketing only narrows it down to 815. It may take a little time to find the right person but the real question is how this compares to other options. LinkedIn does have many more filters, including a location filter which AdClarity might benefit from, but many filters are not free and Linkedin is unlikely to supply phone numbers or email addresses! In short, there’s some room for improvement here but it beats the alternatives.
AdClarity for Publishers
As mentioned, AdClarity is also aimed at publishers and ad networks so let’s take a look at what a publisher could get out of the tool. Just as advertisers will mainly use it to check out other advertisers, publishers are going to spend most of their time looking at the performance of other publishers.
Imagine I work for a new competitor to ESPN. Opening up the ESPN report, I see a similar report to the one we saw for Honda but here we have (in place of publishers) the advertisers that are placing copy on ESPN and the proportion their ad copy makes of the total ad copy AdClarity found on the site. We also get an estimate of unique visitors and page views.
Now let’s say I spot an advertiser, like Ticketmaster, that I’m not currently running and whose ads would be useful to many of my readers. Drilling down to a particular campaign like this one, I can see not only the creative ad copy but also the deployment chain illustrating all the ad networks and mediators that assisted in getting the ad from Ticketmaster to ESPN. This campaign has had quite a few intermediaries so there is a good chance that if I go direct to Ticketmaster I may be able to offer them a better deal. I can then contact Ticketmaster using the same functionality we reviewed in the advertiser section.
If Ticketmaster were to decide to advertise on my site, I could revisit the data a few months later to compare what share of their ads ESPN and my own site have. Similar email alerts could be set up for ESPN as we set up for Honda in the above section.
The fact that AdClarity reveals the deployment chain of ads is one of several features that make it an interesting proposition for Ad Networks interested in either scoping out the competition or investigating new sales leads. An AdClarity report on DoubleClick reveals Campaigns, Advertisers, Publishers, Landing Pages and, if we drill down, deployment chains and the different ad sizes used in a campaign. As with publishers, a competitor could use this information to either benchmark or search for new leads.
That covers the most important things advertisers, publishers and ad networks can get out of AdClarity. Let’s finish up with some other features I like, some forthcoming features and my feature wishlist.
Other useful features I like
- Clients influence coverage: don’t see the publisher you are looking for? You can submit them to AdClarity for inclusion and have results within about a week.
- Share reports: you can share reports with co-workers if they are also AdClarity users.
- Sub-domain focus: focus on a specific site subdomain like soccernet.espn.go.com.
- Publisher categories: make it easier to find relevant placements for a niche e.g. in health and fitness.
Exciting future features: Coming soon to a report near you!
- More countries: AdClarity planning to double from 15 to 30 countries in the coming months.
- Mobile: Coverage of mobile ads planned.
- Social: Coverage of social ads planned.
- Retargeting: Coverage of retargeting ads planned.
- Benchmarking: Currently you have to do this yourself in excel but an insights benchmarking report is in the works.
My feature wishlist
- Campaign daily trend: Would be great if this could be maximised to show more detail.
- Specific page level data: Would allow one to research highly relevant articles on a site (e.g. Forbes.com) which is too general to target otherwise.
- A location filter: to narrow down contacts in large companies.
Do you use AdClarity and, if so, what do you think about it? Let me know in the comments.