Atlas DMT Buffs Up Reach Forecaster

Ad technology provider Atlas DMT, a unit of aQuantive , announced on Monday the availability of a new version of its reach and frequency forecaster, promising more data options to give media planners a better handle on the potential audience for their campaigns.

The Atlas GRP and Reach Forecaster 3.5 boasts a number of improvements aimed at helping media planners better segment their potential audience. It can also plan for up to 400 sites, up from about 300 previously. Also, the new version can differentiate a dozen different MSN channels, allowing advertisers to forecast reach for specific parts of the portal.

“This is one of the biggest points of feedback we got,” said Young-Bean Song, Atlas DMT’s director of analytics. “To date all these tools have been at the site level, but people don’t buy media that way.”

Song said Atlas DMT was working with other large publishers in order to include more channel data in upcoming versions of the GRP and Reach Forecaster. For publishers, such channel curves will allow them to better define how their various channels meet specific goals of brand advertisers, he said.

The forecaster draws on server-side data from the 50,000 online ad campaigns run through Atlas DMT’s ad software, in addition to user data from comScore Media Metrix’s panel. Last December, Atlas DMT rolled out version 3.0, the first time it put the forecaster on clients’ desktops. Previously, Atlas DMT would produce reach and frequency reports for clients. About 40 Atlas DMT clients current use the GRP and Reach Forecaster.

Improved reach and frequency tools are one of the reasons that the online advertising industry has begun to turn around, according to a recent report by Goldman Sachs analyst Anthony Noto. Such tools are thought to improve efficiencies in online media buys, by telling advertisers where their money can buy the most audience, while also allowing for greater integration of online in cross-media campaigns thought to be the key drivers for the industry.

Atlas DMT competes head-to-head with industry leader DoubleClick. Last August, DoubleClick inked a deal with VNU’s IMS to include its WebRF reach and frequency tool in its MediaVisor planning platform. WebRF uses panel data from Nielsen//NetRatings.

Song said Atlas DMT’s approach of combining server and panel data made it the more powerful tool because it takes the approach endorsed by the Advertising Research Foundation.

Atlas DMT also released research that looked at whether combining server data and panel data really did predict an online campaign’s reach. To do so, Atlas DMT compared the forecasts produced by its reach forecaster with the actual reach numbers as measured by its back-end reports. The study, which encompassed 327 media buys across 77 sites, found that the media planning tool captured 83 percent of the variance for all media buys.

“When you are generating these forecasts, you can have a very high degree of confidence that those forecasts are directionally accurate,” Song said.

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