comScore Launches Ad Focus Reporting System

comScore Tuesday released its monthly top 50 U.S. Internet properties for the month of October, which included the top gaining properties and categories for the month along with a new reporting service called Ad Focus Reporting.

Among the key findings in the report were big increases in consumer confidence in online spending-particularly retail. In October, retail accounted for nine of the Top Ten Gaining Properties. comScore says that a similar increase has occurred in preceding years around this time and likely reflects the first signs of the holiday shopping season, but it also mirrors an increase in the Consumer Confidence Index from September to October.

The Retail-Department Stores category showed the largest gain in October, with a 25 percent jump in unique visitors. The Home Furnishing category is up 36 percent from a year ago, and 9 percent from September. ComScore reveals that research has shown Home Furnishings to be one of this year's fastest growing product categories. Fragrances/Cosmetics and Comparison Shopping have all reported impressive growth at 11 percent and 9 percent, respectively.

E-Cards was the lone category not from the retail sector. While comScore concedes that the egreetings boost is also most likely related to the holiday season, Halloween-related cards accounting for much of the 10 percent increase in visitors to this category.

Incidentally, the search for the right Halloween costume led to BuyCostumes.com's 167 percent increase in sales from September to October, which made it the top gaining site among the top 250 properties for the month. E-invitations distributor Evite, among the top 250 properties, experienced a 26 percent Halloween increase in sales.

Peter Daboll, president of comScore MediaMetrix, noted that the holiday shopping season usually starts early online, and this year is certainly no exception-but there is also evidence of renewed consumer confidence and interest in shopping online. "Bolstered by an increase in consumer confidence and continued reliance on the web as a shopping and planning resource, we'll clearly see continued momentum in shopping and related categories as the holidays approach," Daboll said.

ComScore's other major announcement yesterday was for their new reporting service called Ad Focus Reporting. The new service for media buyers and planners will help them monitor the actions of different audience segments so that they may target them more efficiently; it is designed to correspond to the way in which advertising is actually packaged and sold.

The service is designed to make it easier to view distinct audience segments of individual sites and properties that carry advertising.

For example, in addition to viewing the total audience of individual sites and properties, Ad Focus Reporting allows the user to examine visitors to the home pages of select sites (such as AOL, MSN and Yahoo) that currently package home-page-only impressions, or geo-targeted sites (such as Tribune Interactive Los Angeles and Boston.com). In addition, advertising networks, such as Advertising.com and Burst!, are available in the Ad Focus list so media planners, buyers and advertisers can consider these networks side-by-side with other online media.