Where is the money: we look at advertising (and competitors)

    The other day we launched WEBO Bubbler - a very cool addition to our usual technological monitoring : we learned how to take screenshots of sites from anywhere in Russia and track advertising banners on these screenshots. For starters: this is what Samsung’s advertisement looks like on main Yandex from Novosibirsk.
    Samsung on Yandex

    What is the point?

    Firstly, you can take a screenshot of any site from (almost) any city in Russia. Now this is limited only by the size of our network (more than 20 points in Russia), so in the near future almost all cities with a population of more than 500 thousand (that is, those with normal Internet) will enter there. You can check the correctness of your geo-targeting for users, as well as track many other points.

    Secondly, which is more important for the service, you can find a specific banner on a given page of an advertising platform from a specific region. For advertising agencies, this is a very popular functionality.

    Thirdly, which is more important for brands, you can track the competition of competitors on leading sites and roughly estimate the advertising budget (knowing the frequency of displaying banners, daily audience reach and time of the advertising campaign).

    How it works?

    There are two modes of operation: taking a single screenshot from cities in Russia or countries of the world - you just need to go to the WEBO Bubbler main page, enter the website address and select regions or countries.

    In the second mode - advertising tracking - you first need to download the banner, which you need to find in the screenshot, only then enter the address of the site and select the cities for which it needs to be tracked. As soon as the desired screenshot is received (the banner display frequency of at least 1% is taken into account), the screenshot will appear in the service interface. Now all graphic formats (JPEG, PNG, GIF) and Flash are supported. We plan to add TGB and social media accounts to track ads there.


    Taking a screenshot has not been a problem for a long time, there are a huge number of services that do this. To place such a service in the region is also not very difficult: you just need to rent a site from a hosting provider. It is much more interesting how the correspondence of an advertising banner to a given one is determined. Especially if it is a dynamic banner.

    Since all screenshots are taken in PNG, we can accurately map two images with great accuracy: an advertising banner and a loaded page on a site. Selecting graphic blocks is also a rather trivial task (for example, it is well-painted here) The algorithm of actions is quite simple: we need to remove a sufficiently large number of states of the dynamic banner (for example, every 100ms), and then compare each of them with a suitable graphic area in the screenshot. With a large coincidence of images, the banner is considered to be found.

    The combination of all these elements is the essence of the service: for absolutely symbolic money, you can know for sure whether a given advertisement is shown in a given region.

    Living example

    Screenshots of the Samsung advertising campaign on the Yandex home page from Russian regions.
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