ComScore and UKOM multiplatform-metrics rollout will help “wean” industry off dependence on insufficient measurement

ComScore and UK Online Measurement (UKOM) have launched their first planning tool which separates and de-duplicates tablet, mobile and PC data, with the aim of helping rid the market’s over-reliance on insufficient metrics and establishing a trusted system for online brand communications planning in the UK.

The companies, which revealed the first wave of data exclusively to The Drum last week, unveiled the full breakout of data at an event in London this afternoon as part of plans to help “close the loop” between digital planning and campaign reporting.

Speaking at the event ComScore’s VP of marketing Paul Goode said the digital industry’s “inability” to talk clearly about measuring people rather than cookies, has hampered the development of brand advertising online.

“If cookies were people, then you would not need comScore. If cookies were people, then the national census is wrong and the government’s immigration policy is clearly not working.

“You also probably would not need comScore if people only used one device, if ad campaigns were only a day long and ran on a single site, if served impressions rather than visible ones, and click-through rates (CTRs) were sufficient metrics, if ad agencies could easily frequency cap their campaigns, and if brand advertising did not have great potential online. But these things are not so.

“That I need to repeat that is a sign of the failure on the part of the research and analytics community to produce comprehensive and timely data for planning and campaign reporting that can wean the industry off its reliance of the seductively addictive stats from ad servers and legacy web analytics.

“That is why we believe that the services we are discussing today matters, and will help the online advertising industry grow,” he said.

The MMX Multi-Platform tool launched today shows the total UK digital population for PC, mobile and tablet use is 46.2 million people. Until now, ComScore has measured 44.66 million PC and Mac users, and 30.8 million mobile users, and is for the first time now reporting a UK tablet audience of 12.8 million people.

The product combines PC / Mac, tablet, and mobile browsing and app data and mobile wifi browsing and app data. It will add mobile and tablet app dwell time in the first quarter of 2013, with mobile and tablet video to follow in the second quarter.

Meanwhile the 55+ age group has a higher percentage of tablet ownership than the market as a whole and their use of smartphones has increased by more than 20 per cent year on year, according to the research.

However, it also revealed the post PC era is strongest for the 25-35 year old bracket with 86 per cent using multiple platforms or just mobile or tablet.

The multiplatform tool has launched more than five months ahead of schedule, in response to increasingly urgent demand for quantifying the rise in multi-device media consumption.

Goode said legacy web analytics platforms can result in over-counting visitors, under-counting duration per visitor and miscounting conversion rates. However, he added that Joint Industry Committee for Web Standards (JICWEBS)/ABC audited standards for census web measurement were more clear and used the correct term "unique browser" rather than "unique visitors" as some legacy web analytics platforms "persist" in calling them.

Also speaking at the event, UKOM’s general manager James Smythe said it had overcome several barriers in the co-development of the tool. “First, talking to the digitally enlightened about reach and frequency was like walking into a cocktail bar and ordering a mild pint.

“The analogy holds – reach and frequency is one flavour for all, and there’s an uncertain amount of gas and froth mixed up with what you really want. Digital however has a cocktail targeted to every taste.

“The other barrier we’ve faced is that publishers could fairly argue we were not pouring them a full pint. First with a panel-only measurement which drastically underestimated audiences, then as mobiles then tablets started to gain share, the siloed focus on PC audiences disadvantaged those media who were keeping up with the consumer and the market,” said Smythe.

The tool used a multitude of different data inputs to the MMX Multi-platform, including panel data from 48,000 domains and 75-000 opt-in PC users, 25,000 National Readership Survey, and 15,000 MobiLens survey respondents.

It also collected 38.2bn tag calls in the UK across PC, mobile and tablet for pages, apps and video along with daily, anonymised internet data for 32m mobile subscribers accounts, that totalled 260bn records per month.

It also used the census data to observe the tag tablet use and isolate a 170,000-strong panel of individuals across whom it can then measure PC, mobile and tablet overlap usage. Then all or it is combined.

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