How to Validate your Media Agency’s Digital Plan in 5 Minutes (PH Edition)

Posted: November 30, 2010 in Uncategorized

It’s a fact that the Philippine digital media industry is still in its toddler stage versus that of the western world. We are at least 5 years behind in terms of understanding digital media and moreso, how to plan our ad spend.

In one of my meetings with the digital head of one of the top ad agencies in PH, I popped the question: “so how do you plan your digital media?” The answer was: “honestly, by gut feel.” So if you were aghast by this answer, what about the answer of a former media director of one of  PH’s top digital agencies on why they were only on doing ppc (pay-per-click) on Facebook and Google Ad Network: “that’s what the client wants and understands.” So there goes your digital media budget, Mr. Client!

Thus, if you were the client, would you know how to quickly validate your digital agency’s recommendation on media allocation? Or you’re stuck with perception and branding with the likes of, Facebook and Google Ad Network?

If your agency is still pulling out numbers, then you have a reason to fire them! Yes, seriously. is not even considered as a serious source of digital media data in the western world as they simply use data largely from toolbars downloaded by its users which I believe are not large enough for critical mass in the digital space. It doesn’t take into account Internet Cafe usage which is the highest source of Internet penetration in the Philippines (about 75%).

If they give you ACNielsen numbers, then you can say that they have a fair source for numbers but is really based on surveys (panel and census) and may or may not be culled from actual numbers online where your true market lies. You can’t blame ’em. These agencies have been using ACNielsen for traditional media for so long, that is what they will try to use as their “best” source of data. Of course, others may still pull out Comscore and other regional or global independent research data. Some will use data from their regional or head office. But drilling down to actual per country or per site shall need a better source (other than Effective measure which is still in its start-up and information-gathering stage in PH.)

When you’re online, you expect more results coming from online sources as well. Thus, for me, I recommend using the Google Ad Planner in the absence of many first-world planning tools in PH. It will only take you 5 minutes to validate your agency’s recommendations.

Why Google Ad Planner?

1) Google Ad Planner was the brainchild of Double-Click, a pioneering 3.5 billion-dollar ad serving technology company bought by Google in 2008.
2) Renaming the Ad Planner as Google Ad Planner, we know that Google is a trusted company that leverages its reach and web-crawling technology to maximize its pay-per-click ad strategy
3) Advertisers that have shoe-string budgets use Google Ad Network buys
4) Read more about Google Ad Planner in their FAQ.

Google Planner in 4 Easy Steps

1) Sign into your Google Account
2) Go to (or search for) Google Ad Planner
3) Search by Audience (Geography) to go to PH (there’s a drop-down)
4) Choose your filters (demographics, categories, interests, etc.)

Google Ad Planner (Philippines) showing top 5 sites

Today, I used Google Ad Planner to look at the top 5 sites in PH. These are the results in terms of reach across all online audience in PH (no filters):

1) – 75.5%
2) – 68.9%
3) – 22%
4) – 15.3%
5) – 15.2%

As a digital media planner, I’d easily scrap and Blogspot carries millions of blogs that can’t be easily targeted unless using Google Ad Sense. is a browser without banner ad spaces. So you’ve got the top 3 sites in PH today as follows: Facebook, Yahoo and Friendster.

So there. Try your hand at this cool tool. You’ll be amazed at how user-friendly this is.

Google Ad Planner is not your end-all tool. I just recommend this as one of your tools for quick validation of your digital media plans done by your agency or in-house.

HOMER NIEVERA is a Digital Media Evangelist based in Asia.


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