My ears perked when I saw a post in TechCrunch that claimed AOL’s Platform A Is The Top Advertising Network By Reach.
Since I have access to ComScore data myself, I tried replicating the results shown below
New figures released by comScore show that AOL’s Platform A advertising network is the top advertising network in the United States by reach (unique visitors).
According to the figures, Platform A reaches 90.7% of all American internet users, ahead of Yahoo on 85.3% and Google on 80.9%. AOL’s figures include ads served from Advertising.com.
I found, however, while producing a Media Trend report Platform-A shows up just since January 08 and I’m not sure how a platform that just “appeared” suddenly gets to be a top Ad Network? Something seems fishy or, at least, missing from the data.
This brings up the notion that we need to question data more instead of just accepting it – first of all, most of us aren’t even aware of Platform A, how it was formed (a history would have been good, had it been presented).
Doing some research it took me a minute or less to find out that AOL Introduces ‘Platform A’: Integrated Ad Targeting from a post last September in Search Engine Land:
The new entity, called Platform A, will offer advertisers access to the most sophisticated targeting and measurement tools available in the marketplace across Platform A’s unmatched network of third-party sites, as well as AOL’s owned and operated sites. Platform A already reaches more than 90% of the domestic online audience, according to comScore Media Metrix. Platform A builds on the success of Advertising.com, which operates the largest third-party display network, and integrates behavioral targeting leader TACODA, Third Screen Media, which operates the largest mobile media network, market leading video ad serving platform Lightningcast, and ADTECH’s global ad serving platform.
Simultaneously, AOL has stuck a deal with HP to offer co-branded local portals (like others such as Google-Dell and Microsoft-Lenovo):
AOL separately announced today that it has signed an agreement with HP to offer co-branded, localized versions of its portal, toolbar and search on HP desktop and notebook PCs sold worldwide. Under the agreement, the co-branded portal will be set as the default homepage, and the co-branded toolbar and search will be default settings in various countries worldwide. The agreement extends and expands the existing relationship between HP and AOL, which provides consumers with a co-branded AOL/HP portal as the default homepage for HP consumer PCs sold in the U.S.
So, AOL’s Platform A is simply an aggregate of other advertising networks – that’s why it appears to have more reach than any of them.
The lesson I get out of this is AOL bought it’s way to the top of Ad Networks – at least, according to ComScore.