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Akamai Tracks Web Impact of Bowl Ads

Akamai, which says it manages 10%-20% of the traffic on the Internet--including all video and audio downloads from iTunes--will give some of its clients a chance to gauge the effectiveness of their Super Bowl TV ads in driving traffic to their Web sites and microsites.

According to Director of Production Marketing Kieran Taylor, Akamai (which means "cool" in Hawaiian) handles Web services for the majority (23 of 38) of the advertisers in the Super Bowl.

In response to requests from those advertisers, which include Dove, Burger King and Sprint, Akamai has developed a Net Usage Index that will give at least 23 Super Bowl advertisers a way to gauge the amount of traffic to their site before, during and after the Super Bowl so they can measure any spike generated by their TV ads, as well as where that traffic came from.

It is the first time Akamai has provided a tool for correlating the Web traffic data with the TV ads, but it won't be the last, says Taylor. TV and the Web are converging, he says, "and our customers want to know where they fit in."

Akamai began tracking the sites several weeks ago to set up a baseline for comparison.

Taylor says the company is not worried about handling the potential flood of traffic to the sites and microsites.

The microsites are where companies like Burger King, Visa and Pizza Hut direct viewers to sub-sites tied specifically to their ad campaigns.

Dove, for example, is working with the Girl Scouts and will direct viewers of its "real beauty" spots to for more information on low-self-esteem problems among young girls.
Taylor says the company is not concerned about handling the potential spike in traffic on Super Bowl Sunday.
For last Year's Super Bowl, for example, Akamai handled traffic to Mitsubishi's Web site tied to its "see what happens" commercial series (that car bouncing off the car carrier into traffic, for example, which sent viewers to the Web site to find out the end of the cliff-hanger).

"We handled 11 million requests in five hours," says Taylor.

Akamai caches Web content for some 1,700 clients to allow for more secure and faster access by surfers. In essence, it reroutes Internet searches to its own servers closer to the user, or what it calls an "Internet overlay architecture" (the company was founded in 1999 by an MIT professor and his student).