Archive for the ‘Online Metrics and Measurement’ Category

2010 FIFA World Cup, ESPN XP and Nielsen – Following Soccer Matches Across Platforms

In Nielsen’s latest three screen report, we find that more and more Americans are using TV and the internet at the same time.  Multitasking has not cannibalized TV viewing.  In fact, TV viewing increased by over 1 hour when comparing Q4 ’09 to Q4 ‘o8.  Those in the Media and Entertainment C-Suite are resting much easier now that concerns about cannibalizing TV have been mitigated – so much so that cross-platform efforts are being accelerated.

ESPN has launched XP to track the 2010 FIFA World Cup.  (Sounds a lot like an operating system we all love to hate but stands for cross-platform in this context.)  ESPN XP seeks to examine consumer behavior across all media – TV, Internet, radio and print.

Nielsen is one of ESPN’s key partners for XP and will provide several measurement and research services to power ESPN XP insights.  Nielsen Life360, a service that provides a “day in the life” snapshot of consumer habits and attitudes via electronic journals, will follow what consumers are doing as they watch the 2010 World Cup.  Nielsen will provide linear TV ratings as expected and the Nielsen Online unit will provide TV/Internet multitasking usage insights via a panel of more than 10,000 consumers.

ESPN realizes that over 50% of users are using TV and some other media platform.  That is more than double the rate from 5 years ago and ESPN’s cross-platform users make up nearly 75% of all time spent with ESPN.  ESPN plans to refine XP to become a standard metric they will share with advertisers so that it can be considered cross-platform currency.  Many media companies will watch with great interest as ESPN tries to define a cross-media metric that extends across multiple franchises like College Football and Monday Night Football.  Nielsen will have a key seat at ESPN’s table to extend their TV currency into a new medium.

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Does comScore Measure Up?

comScore has been making moves to expand their portfolio beyond web audience measurement.  They purchased M:Metrics in 2008 to enter mobile measurement and most recently acquired ARS in February 2010 to expand into measuring advertising effectiveness .  In addition, comScore deepened their bench strength by hiring Joan FitzGerald to head up cross-platform measurement.  The charter of the group is to track consumer interaction across the “three screens” – computers, mobile phones and TVs.  comScore certainly has been assembling the pieces to execute a cross-platform measurement portfolio.

In order to be considered media currency, I contend that the source needs to be the primary source (or one of a very small handful) used to determine audience and/or firm value (See Arbitron in the radio market and Nielsen in the TV market).  I’ve taken a look at comScore mentions in online news publications over the past few days to indicate what the market says about comScore as a source of media measurement across platforms. We will focus on 5 key areas – Web Audience Measurement, Search, Mobile, Social Media and TV/Video to assess comScore’s status as media currency.

Web Audience Measurement – A Techcrunch article suggested that Facebook has eclipsed Google as the most visited property on the web but Hitwise was credited as the source.  comScore data was then used to refute the claim since comScore uses reach to measure audience share rather than share of visits.  comScore is one of the key sources media buyers and planners use to assess reach.   Therefore, comScore is one of the key players in audience measurement.

Web Audience Measurement Currency: Yes

Search – comScore recently released reports showing 46% growth in the 2009 global search market as well as February 2010 Search Engine Rankings.  comScore’s search engine market share reports are widely used and generally accepted by Wall Street.  While there are other sources of search engine market share data, Wall Street’s reliance on comScore’s qSearch and comScore’s  effect on stock price of search engines meets the currency criteria.

Search Currency: Yes

Mobile – Reports on handset market share use data from many different providers including comScore.  comScore’s methodology is slightly different that Strategy Analytics for example and leads to different conclusions. comScore measures ownership whereas Strategy Analytics measures shipments.  Shipment data is also forecasted by IDC and iSuppli as well.  We won’t go in to the specific of the reports here but there is some confusion about the appropriate way to measure mobile market share.  Given the numerous sources for data that are used to determine firm value for key players in the ecosystem I wouldn’t consider comScore a primary source here

Mobile Currency: Not Yet

Social Media – comScore measures the audience size of social networking sites but does not measure campaign effectiveness of the channel directly.

Social Media Currency: Not Yet

TV/Video – comScore is widely quoted as a source for online video rankings data.  As TV becomes more tightly integrated with online video, there is an opportunity for comScore to challenge Nielsen for TV measurement dominance.  However, that seems to be a long way off and Nielsen is not going to cede that territory without a fight.

TV/Video Currency:  Not Yet

Hybrid Measurement Controversy:   comScore recently released a hybrid measurement product to combine web publisher internal web analytics data with audience measurement panel data.  The goal here is to bridge the nearly threefold difference in unique visitor counts when comparing internal numbers from Omniture or Google Analytics to panel numbers from comScore.  In order to use the comScore solution to close the traffic gap, publishers have to pay $5-10K to have their traffic “hybridized.”  Jason Calcanis compared comScore’s approach to hybrid-measurement to Payola.  Others consider it to be found traffic since internal numbers combined with internal panel numbers generally produce higher overall web audience numbers. This Wall Street Journal article on counting web traffic is great background for understanding the key elements of the issue.

Summary: Key Player in Web Audience Measurement and Search.  Up and Coming in Mobile, Social Media and TV


Data Is the Currency of The Internet – Tools to Transform Data Into Insights

Data Is Currency Of The Internet

Web publishers are competing  for advertising  dollars based on audience scale and the ability to articulate audience insights.  Achieving audience scale by itself is no longer enough.  Advertisers are beginning to move dollars from traditional media into interactive media because of the promise of measurability.  This promise hinges on collecting, analyzing and synthesizing data about consumers.  The more web publishers can tell advertisers about how their audience consumes content including their purchase intent, the more dollars will flow into the web.

The race to control collection of audience data is on.  Facebook has changed its privacy policy to begin mining personal interests to unlock insights from a massive behavioral database.  Apple and Google have taken the gloves off in the war to track user behavior gleaned from mobile phone usage.  Media and Entertainment companies have to ensure that they are not caught flat footed in this battle to present audience insights to advertisers, ceding control to portals and social media communities.  Data analysis and analytics is at the heart of this war.

In order to demonstrate value to advertisers, web publishers must be able to translate internal and external data into currency.   Currency is the medium of exchange that connotes value and is generally accepted as a measure of that value.  This is where the problem begins in the world of data – there really is no single metric (currency) that is generally accepted or suggests  value.    To further complicate matters, there are multiple vendors who are vying to provide the currency of data.   To provide a thumbnail sketch of the myriad of options available,  I’ve listed a few in each of the key categories below:

Reach:  3rd Party Verification of Web Publisher Audience Size  (Audience Measurement)

Internal Metrics: Traditional Web Analytics or KPI Providers (Engagement/Reach)

Offsite Engagement:  Social Media Engagement

Site Tools

  • Facebook Insights
  • Youtube Insights

3rd Party Tools

I will take a look at each of the aforementioned areas for measurement – Reach, Internal Metrics/Web Analytics and Social Media Measurement – over the next several posts.  My goal with this series is to help web publishers, especially Media and Entertainment companies, leverage the best tools in each category to transform data into insights and ultimately into currency.