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FEATURE24 April 2012

ComScore counts down to UKOM kick off

Features News

As ComScore prepares to take over the UKOM online measurement contract, we talk to the firm’s chief operating officer, Cameron Meierhoefer, about plans for the new measurement system.

There are changes afoot in the UK’s internet landscape. At the start of 2013 Nielsen’s three-year term as the official audience measurement provider to the industry-backed UK Online Measurement Company (UKOM) comes to an end.

Into its place steps ComScore, who lost out to Nielsen last time, but will use the same hybrid methodology it pitched before – one that combines server-side data and information from a panel of respondents.

“One of the things that’s changed since the last tender is mobile and tablets have come into their own as mainstream digital platforms and a traditional PC-only panel only captures a piece of the puzzle”

So what changed this time around? Cameron Meierhoefer, the company’s chief operating officer, explained: “At the time of the first tender ComScore had just invested heavily in building out this multi-source methodology and we had committed internally to ourselves that this was worth the investment, that this was the best way to measure internet audiences.

“But when the UKOM tender came out we failed to recognise how important it was for us to bring everyone along with us. To some degree, we took for granted that people would understand all of the nuances of why we think [hybrid] is the best way to go. The market was not ready to just take ComScore’s word for it and ComScore wasn’t in a position to make all of this transparent and reviewable.”

With the transparency hurdle overcome, UKOM has certainly come round to ComScore’s way of thinking. Indeed, Nielsen is a month away from delivering the first batch of UKOM data sourced from its own hybrid system – which evolved from its original panel-only measurement approach.

From January ComScore will collect data through a panel of 60,000 respondents (at least that’s the target size – it has a minimum guarantee of 40,000 ). Meanwhile, 70% of the top 100 commercial media sites already tag their sites so they can be measured by ComScore’s system. The company hopes that with the encouragement of UKOM that figure could rise to between 80% and 90%.

Data will be reported monthly as agreed, but ComScore said it hoped to have developed an option for weekly reports later this year which will be up and running by the time the UKOM contract kicks off. On top of this, it is “exploring” an option to deliver audience figures on a daily basis, the firm said.

Other preparations include final tweaks to Connected Media, a new product that reports audiences figures for online display advertising, video and mobile. Meierhoefer said: “One of the things that’s changed since the last tender is mobile and tablets have come into their own as mainstream digital platforms and a traditional PC-only panel only captures a piece of the puzzle.

“Agencies are worried about display, video and mobile,” he said. “We’ve been reporting on display and video and we’ve been reporting on mobile separately. But the Connected Media product brings those three assets together in a manner that allows you to have a planning-quality data asset that actually covers all of the digital space. For a planner who’s seeking to understand incremental reach and frequency as they supplement a core display campaign with video and mobile, you want to be able to look at all of these things within a common frame.”

Indeed, finding a common frame in which to view and understand all of the fragmented activity that takes place in the digital world is, Meierhoefer believes, one of the key strengths of the hybrid approach. “Platform fragmentation is going to continue,” he said. “From a user perspective, their digital media requirements are going to be satisfied through multiple platforms. We need to be in a position to measure that appropriately and we believe that the multi-source methodology sets us up very nicely to be able to adapt with the market, to deliver the services that the market needs and to allow these services to evolve over time in response.”

1 Comment

8 years ago

> “But when the UKOM tender came out we failed to recognise how important it was..." How true; from the other side the suggestion was that comScore didn't take it seriously at all, for one reason or another. Any discussion of the cost to UKOM for this data provision? Given that it is pretty much comScore's existing UK methodololgy and panel?

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