I was pretty excited about Google Ad Planner when it was announced.
Why? Well ... the current measurement tools we have at our disposal in AU are pretty dire. They are either too light on in terms of depth of data, or packed full of data that really has no use.
So when Google stated "If you're a media planner at an ad agency, you know that planning an online display buy can be challenging, particularly in scaling your campaign's reach while keeping it relevant for your target audience", I thought things were on the up.
Not true. Well ... not true, yet.
Google AdPlanner is an epic anti climax in AU.
Well, you can't actually plan anything. Reason for this is when you start (and I mean START) drilling into an audience on even the most basic level (ie gender, age) it hits you with the error ...
"You have likely either specified an audience too small to display or a site without any data. Please change your audience definition."
I got the same error when I was looking up EVERY age bracket, and the only site that appeared when I looked for Males was BrisbaneTimes.com.au. Don't even bother with household income ... same result.
It turns out demographic information isn't available for sites outside of the US.
Still, AdPlanner is pretty basic. Where does it fall down?
1. Where are they getting their data from? It's not stated - this concerns me.
2. It gives preferential treatment to Google Content Network sites.
3. It gives really broad estimates of available inventory per day (ie 10K - 100K) which makes it very difficult to get accurate projections
4. It only focuses on unique users and page impressions - not time spent, pages per user, geolocation, media type (ie streaming video, audio, html etc). Very backward.
5. It is missing a LOT of AU sites - LOADS. I'd estimate 80-90%
6. It has a stack of sites that do not accept advertising - like CommBank and Public Transport sites - which is useless for an "Ad" Planner. No option to switch these off either (which Netview has)
7. No information on AU eyeballs across overseas sites. How many AU eyeballs on Digg? Don't ask Google Ad Planner - they can't tell you - which doesn't help given so much Internet use in AU is on o/s sites. Massive fail here.
8. Google claim "discover many relevant sites--small and large--that would otherwise be hard to find." Not true in AU - it's barely scratching the surface
The only groups/agencies this tool will benefit are those who can't afford to subscribe to market data sources. As much as it pains me to say it, Nielsen offers more robust user data and Morgan gives better insight into the consumer. Yes, both are very limited ... but right now they are still the best two.
Unless Ad Planner can dramatically - and I mean DRAMATICALLY - improve, I wouldn't waste anymore time on it.
"Google Ad Planner is designed with media planners in mind"
Maybe ask some media planners for input next time as I don't know any media planner who would find it useful in its current state.