Archive for the ‘social media’ Tag

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


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Control Your Content – Lesson From the Music Industry

music-value-destruction

Source:  Magna Insights

A couple of weekends ago, I had the pleasure of speaking on a panel that explored the future of the music business with some great company:

We discussed the dizzying changes in the music landscape over the past 10 years, illustrated by the chart above.  Napster paved the way for the Apple iPod/iTunes ecosystem which forever changed the retail music landscape.  Much of the damage was created because artists and music companies did not react swiftly enough to advances in distribution technologies, platform and evolution in consumer behavior.

So how does an artist or any music business adapt to this new ecosystem with new retailers (Apple, Amazon, etc), new venues (Pandora, Last.fm) and social network evolution (MySpace, iMeem, Facebook?

Fred Cannon said it best at our panel – 1) Add value for your audience 2) Control your content

Many artists are satisfied with leaving distribution up to someone else while working on his or her craft.  This could include signing with a label, working with marketing and promotions firm to create virtual street teams on the web in MySpace or Facebook.  These are great things to do but it must all start with the artist’s brand.

Rohit Bhargava has a great post on the importance of personal branding that summarizes this quite well that works in this context as well since an artist’s music and the personhood of the artist are inextricably linked.  An artist’s brand exists outside of albums, CDs and mp3s.   Successful music businesses (great music is no longer sufficient to have a great career) must be about a relationship with fans independent of social networking sites, retailers and physical venues.

A digital hub/website that is an extension of the artist and brand that is under the control of the artist is essential to surviving the changes in the music landscape.  This website should have the ability to delight fans through delivery of content, first-look at exclusive merchandise and anything that extends the relationship between fan and artist for mutual benefit.

3 Ways to Maintain Control of Your Digital Self

Judging by the dizzying rate of growth of Twitter and Facebook over the past several weeks and months, general web users, and in particular small businesses, are embracing social media.  Not to be the voice of doom and gloom but what happens if Twitter and Facebook disappear? While that is not likely, what is likely is that Twitter and Facebook will look radically different in 12-18 months.  Why? Both entities need to innovate to continue to be market leading social network services (SNS) and more importantly, they need to find a sustainable business model.  Facebook needs another cash infusion and is having difficulty securing it.  Twitter is helping third-parties like Comcast, Zappos and Dell streamline customer service but does not yet have a way to directly monetize its platform.  So while we are enjoying the free ride today, it may not last.  Somebody has to pay for the  servers, storage and bandwidth – either advertisers or users.

How do you take advantage of the growth of social networks while protecting yourself from shifting business models and implementations?

1.  Maintain An Online Hub for Your Digital Self – It is critical to have an online home for your content, your brand and your products that you own.  Use social media sites as outposts and use your website/blog as your online headquarters.

2.  Use Facebook and Twitter As Spokes – Leverage these growth engines to hone your ideas, do market research, market your brand and acquire new users.  Make sure that whatever you do points back to your online hub.  Use these sites to provide sampling/teasers to pay off at your hub.  This strategy will work when the next Facebook or Twitter competitor emerges.

3.  Create A Conversion Event on Your Online Hub – Continue to move users down the awareness-consideration-purchase (action) funnel when they get to your site.  Promote registration to a newsletter in exchange for an email address.  Determine the action that gets the user closer to driving revenue while providing value in return.

I’ll elaborate further on the 3 control techniques above in future posts.  Until then, no social networking presence takes the place of your own online hub.   Use Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, MySpace and LinkedIn to your heart’s content.  Just make sure you understand why you are using them and how you will know if your goals are being met.