SAN FRANCISCO, June 23 Google Inc (GOOG.O) will
offer advertisers a free media planning tool to help them
locate target audiences on the Web, a company spokesman said on
Monday, posing a challenge to existing Web measurement firms.
The leader in Web search and related advertising is making
available Web measurement tools to advertisers and their
agencies, based on the belief the more data ad customers have
about their audiences, the more they are likely to spend.
The spokesman said audience measurement features are an
outgrowth of Google's efforts to provide better media planning
tools. He declined to provide further details on the plans,
which will be announced in a company blog post on Tuesday.
The company was confirming details first reported by the
Wall Street Journal about Google's plans to compete with
established providers of Web audience measurement tools such as
comScore Inc (SCOR.O) and Nielsen Media.
ComScore shares fell $1.69, or 6.1 percent, to $26 in
extended trading following news of Google's planned media
measurement service. Nielsen Media is a unit of Nielsen Co,
which is owned by a collection of top private equity firms.
These Web measurement firms have roots in conventional
media or retail audience tracking technologies. They have
relied on selective surveys or customer panels to estimate
Internet behavior. Their statistical approaches have faced
criticism among advertisers and publishers over how
comprehensive their data is. By contrast, Google's audience
measurements would come from a fuller set of data collected
directly from Web servers.
Web publishers would have access to the media planning
tool, but are not the intended customer, the Google spokesman
(Reporting by Eric Auchard; Editing by Andre Grenon)