Google Ad Planner in SG and SEA context

Halo guys,

This is not a “new” tool per say. It has been in beta launch since June 2008. However, as per usual, i haven’t seen a lot of blog posts talking about how Google Ad Planner can be used in Singapore or SEA. Hence the intention of this post.

First of all, what is Google Ad Planner?

Google Ad Planner is a free media planning tool that can help you with

  • Identify websites that your target audience are likely to visit
  • Easily build media plans and get relevant statistics

Basically, Google Ad Planner “combines information from a variety of sources, such as aggregated Google search data, opt-in anonymous Google Analytics data, opt-in external consumer panel data, and other third-party market research” to come up with information about various websites on the internet.
Information about sites that Google provides includes:

  • Unique Visitors/month
  • Pageview/month
  • Reach in a certain territory
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Education
  • Household income
  • etc…

These information are pretty much what a normal media planner would need to build his/her plan.

Traditionally, these information are Not free. You have to subscribe to companies who provide competitive intelligence like HitWise, comScore or Compete. However, Google is not trying to provide these information for free.

Secondly, How to use Google Ad Planner?

To use Google Ad Planner, you will first need to apply for it since it’s only in beta testing.
After that, go to and log in using your details.
The rest is quite straight forwards since the interface is quite intuitive. It allows you to do research about a certain territory, find websites that your audience is likely to visit and save your media plan.
Please refer to the image below for more information:

You can play around by defining your audience using the left hand menu or zoom in to a particular site by using the icon next to the site name.

How to slice and dice the information is up to your imagination. Please note that you can compare different sites with each other, looking at the trend for each site etc…
For all of the above, please dig around online and you will find my posts written about how to use Google Ad Planner.
I will instead focus on my comments about Google Ad Planner in Singapore and SEA context.

Thirdly, Is Google Ad Planner any good in Singapore and SEA?

Well, the idea behind Google Ad Planner is brilliant!
As expected from Google, after conquering the search engine marketing world, Google is aggressively moving into the Media Buying/Planning world and try to position itself as the biggest Media Owner in the world.
With lots of free tools, Google is offering unparalleled advantages for Advertisers, making it so easy and efficient to use Google Ad Platform that slowly it will outbid all the competitions in the Online Advertising world.
That’s the idea. However, in practice, it’s not that easy to gather massive amount of information about different websites accurately as other Media Owners see Google as competition and if they can put up a fight, they won’t let Google knows any information about the site traffic etc…
For example, Google has no information about Yahoo network in SG or MSN.

Right now, in my humble opinion Google Ad Planner is not that useful in Singapore. It only has information about 250 sites (as of 31Aug08). Some of the biggest sites in terms of unique visitors are:

  • streetdirectory
  • starhub
  • etc…

It does provide information about popular portals for the more “lazy” media planners like: AsiaOne, Channel News Asia, HardWareZone, jobsdb etc…
Surprisingly, there are no information about YouTube or many other social networking sites in Singapore.

Also, Google Ad Planner does not have enough information to specify age, education or household income for Singapore market. I guess SG is considerred too small for Google at the moment.

The same for most of other SouthEast Asia countries as well. Indonesia and Vietnam are not even in the country list 😀
I guess that there will be improvement when the office launch is out.

Besides, Google Ad Planner does not provide information about International Portals that Singaporean often visits like those numbers from Hitwise or any Ad Network in the region.

So i say that Media Planner in Singapore can’t use Google Ad Planner effectively yet at this point.
We still need to rely on the numbers from Hitwise, comScore, Ad Network (like Admax, Aktiv etc..) or other sources…

I will keep you guys posted with the progress and let’s see how fast Google can make companies providing competitive intelligence obsolete if ever!

Have a nice weekend,


  1. Good commentary.

    Note that it is interesting that they did not scrub their date of sites which have no monetization ability (e.g. Citibank). This just clutters up the interface.

    In addition, someone did a research that apparently sites that are on the Goog AdSense seem to have higher traffic number as compared to Hitwise or Comscore. I do not blame Goog for doing this as it is their product. But caveat emptor.

  2. Hi Christian,

    Totally agree that at the end of the day, Google Ad Planner will only work if they can widen the network and provide accurate information.

    As for sites which have no monetization ability (e.g sites from banks) i think it’s still valuable but from different angles like competitive analysis, etc…

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