AOL is the King of All Advertising. That’s right, AOL.
On April 14, Web measurement firm comScore released March rankings of the top online advertising networks in the United States. Who was number one? Surprisingly not Google. In fact, the top spot went to AOL’s Platform-A, the network comprised of Advertising.com and another billion worth of acquired ad networks.
According to comScore, ads served by AOL’s Platform A network reached 171 million, nearly 91% of the total US population. Yahoo came in second, reaching more than 85% of the US population with the ads it serves. Google came in third with a reach just shy of 81%. Specific Media, a large independent network that has extended its breadth in recent months with the acquisitions of smaller ad networks, ranked fourth.
Judging from the comScore’s report, it would seem that an AOL/Yahoo combination isn’t such a bad deal. The combined company could put an ad in front of nearly every American Web surfer each month. That’s quite the proposition for a marketer.
Then again, comScore’s results also underscore just how much more there is to online advertising than the ability to deliver an ad to a user. What really drives dollars is the ability to target users well enough that they respond in some way to the ads they see, say by visiting a marketer’s Web site.
If money was the measure, than Google would rank number one. The search giant is expected to grab about $7.9 billion of the $27.5 billion in US ad dollars destined for online this year, says research firm eMarketer. Yahoo is expected to snare $3.6 billion and Microsoft will come in third with about $1.7 billion.
By the money measure, AOL ranks fourth. EMarketer anticipates AOL will take in $1.5 billion in US ad revenues this year, despite its massive reach.