I'm frequently asked for advertising data and have limited access to any paid advertising databases or publications. Below we'll talk about a couple of free resources, but this is a good time to remind ourselves how beneficial creative Googling can be. Using the same tactics we talked about for finding free market research reports, we can also find free advertising data. Using searches like "mobile advertising" or "top ad agencies" and then limiting to PDFs can help you locate all kinds of free reports or white papers. Image searching can be helpful as well. As an example, try this image search: emarketer mobile advertising. Lots of very helpful charts! These types of searches can also lead you to organizations that provide other free resources. Here are a couple of our favorite ones for advertising: IAB's Industry Data & Landscape--"The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) is comprised of more than 500 leading media and technology companies that are responsible for selling 86% of online advertising in the United States." While some reports on the IAB's site are for members only, they have quite a few free reports. On their Industry Data & Landscape page, you'll find revenue and trend reports, as well as more specific reports such as sports fans and mobile usage. They've even got a brand new report out called "2012 Olympic Games Go Mobile: United Kingdom Vs. United States".
Duke University's Digital Advertising Collection--"The Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History in Duke's Special Collection Library acquires and preserves printed material and collections of textual and multimedia resources and makes them available to researchers around the world." Aside from being a great, free resource, this site is lots of fun. Thousands of advertisements from magazines, billboards, bus benches and any other venue you can think of all the way back to the 1800s. They offer several ways to search their collection including company, product, date, publication, format, subject, medium, headline and audience. Once you've found an ad, you'll see a bit of information about it including dates, publications, medium, etc.