Monday, March 31, 2008

Get your fair share of the ad network pie

The buzz around ad networks and ad serving technologies couldn’t be louder: The Google/DoubleClick merger is moving forward, new ad exchanges continue to pop up on a monthly basis, and just last week Forbes and ESPN followed Martha Stewart’s lead to start their own ad network.

Last week’s actions prove that publishers want a piece of the online advertising pie. After analyzing content monetization across 68 million domains, it’s clear that publishers have a huge opportunity to collect revenue directly from ad networks. (If you are like me and need a refresher on the difference between an Ad Server and an Ad Network, there is a good description here.)

What we did:

We analyzed the ad-server calls across 68 million domains captured from our January, 2008 crawling operations. The data was joined with January, 2008 unique user data from our friends at Compete to determine market share numbers.

What we found:

  • DoubleClick and Google dominate overall market share capturing 35% and 34% of unique users, respectively.
  • DoubleClick owns the head and Google owns the tail. For sites with over 1MM monthly unique users, Doubleclick has a 48% share, a 3x advantage over 2nd place Yahoo. For sites with less than 100k monthly unique users, Google has an 8x share advantage over 2nd place MSN.
  • Professionally produced content is widely proliferated across highly trafficked, commercial sites, representing an untapped opportunity for publishers to increase their revenue through content licensing, ad revenue share or link-building.

Ad Server Market Share

Ad Server Monthly Unique Users Market Share Unique Domains Market Share
Google 1,107,489,739 35.30% 91,462 77.28%
DoubleClick 1,079,203,140 34.39% 6,748 5.70%
Yahoo 362,201,931 11.54% 5,147 4.35%
MSN 309,290,121 9.86% 8,099 6.84%
AOL 156,109,326 4.98% 1,976 1.67%
Adbrite 73,446,676 2.34% 3,575 3.02%

Ad Server Market Share Grouped by Site Traffic

Ad Server <> 100k – 1MM UU’s > 1MM UU’s
Adbrite 4.07% 4.90% 0.48%
AOL 1.95% 6.55% 5.74%
DoubleClick 9.13% 29.92% 48.04%
Google 71.38% 41.56% 15.85%
MSN 6.57% 6.30% 12.85%
Yahoo 4.66% 7.33% 16.49%

Content Proliferation by Site Traffic


  • The GoogleClick combination is an ad-serving juggernaut. They should be at the top of your call list to collect a % off of every ad dollar made off your content.
  • Content is proliferating all over the place - Attributor finds an average of 20 different copies for each article we track.
  • There is a lot of money at stake. 64% of the copies have ads on their pages and most republishing is on sites with > 1MM monthly unique users.
  • It’s an SEO goldmine. 57% of the copies we find do not link back to the original sites.

Stay tuned for regular reports on the pace at which articles, images and videos are spreading across the web and implications for the online content economy.

Methodology notes: This report represents a snapshot of ad server distribution in January, 2008 across 68 million domains Less than 5% of the domains contained more than one ad server call – in these cases, the traffic for the domain was associated with each ad network found. We did not attempt to de-duplicate the unique user numbers.

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