Commentary

ComScore Explains Cross-Platform Measurement Advancements

For those of us who have been in the research sector of the media business for a number of years, there is nothing as heady or as exciting as what is happening now in our field of expertise.

As Gian Fulgoni, co-founder and CEO, comScore, noted at the company’s recent industry meeting, “There is a digital revolution the likes of which we have never seen.”

And this revolution is creating measurement innovation, not only in the data-driven audience marketplace but also in cross-platform measurement solutions.

ComScore recently announced an advanced version of its cross-platform measurement capability, which could spell the end of age and gender proxy measurement — eventually. (We all know that the media business takes time to adjust to new metrics and protocols.)

But the excitement engendered by the introduction of various datasets and their application to measuring viewer and consumer behavior is beginning to mark a distinctive change in the rate of new measurement metric acceptance.

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According to Fulgoni, comScore is focusing on the need to be nimble in order to meet all technological changes. Their approach to cross platform measurement includes four pillars:

-- Granularity for precise measurement in cross platform and also by individual platform.
-- Understanding the unduplicated reach across platforms.
-- Buying and selling TV on advanced audiences, beyond age and gender.
-- Moving toward an addressable and advanced TV future.  

In a world of panels and census data, do you start with a panel and build out, or do you amass census level data and model demographics?
ComScore’s approach is data scale first, then the creation of a unified panel and census metrics. “We believe that scale drives quality,” stated Fulgoni. “You can’t start with a panel and build up on it.”

Scale becomes important when measurement must include an expanse of devices. ComScore’s Total Home Panel is built to measure content across  mobile, network-connected set-top boxes, streaming OTT, PC, home theater, game consoles  and such devices as wearables, smart speakers and audio systems etc  for unduplicated reach.

These advancements in cross-platform measurement could not come too soon for Julie DeTraglia, VP ad sales research, Hulu; Ed Gaffney, managing partner, GroupM; and Beth Rockwood, VP portfolio research, Turner.

As DeTraglia explained, “Hulu lives in a world where we have all of the benefits of television, and that is television content on a television screen. We have some challenges in measurement that we are working on….We sell platform-agnostic and are also looking at how ads differ by platform.“
Attaining true, unduplicated cross-platform measurement is not an easy task."

“There is a long list of must-haves which makes it hard to do well,” stated Rockwood. “Certainly the quality and the scale of the measurement are critical if we really want to be able to get a good view both of consumer behavior and campaign effectiveness.

“Also, understanding how consumers are receiving information in a series, and unpacking all of that to understand consumer journeys,” she added.

Gaffney concluded: “It’s quality, coverage and scale, in no particular order. We need all three to get a good view of what is going on out there.”

Having a third-party measurement that is privacy-compliant and can also measure the full range of devices for specific audience targets will enable both buyers and sellers to realize the full potential of their brands.

But doing all this will  depend on whether the industry is ready to break with the marketplace measurement metric tradition.

“The currency is still age and sex and will be for the near term,” admitted Gaffney. But based on the measurement developments from companies such as comScore, maybe the future is closer than we think.

5 comments about "ComScore Explains Cross-Platform Measurement Advancements".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics, May 23, 2017 at 7:59 a.m.

    Charlene, I agree that these are interesting times. However, before we pat ourselves on the back, we should note that over the past 60 years since TV adopted viewer ratings as opposed to set usage ratings, little has been done to get at a workable definition of "viewing". The move by Nielsen to tally "average minute commercial ratings"  about ten years ago, notwithstanding, we don't know how many people who claim to be program viewers were even in the room when an ad appears, let alone attentive to that ad. And let's not think that all that is needed is a general "correction factor".The data are very misleading, in ways that we really fail to think about or understand, based on program content, consumer mindsets, demos, time of day, the nature of the ads, etc. Now, we are about to get a wealth of cross platform "audience" data, but most of it will be based on device usage, not "viewing". So an "average commercial minute viewer" finding for "linear TV" will be compared to  a digital device being on and an ad's pixel -being shown on the screen for at least two seconds for a 10-second, 15-second or 30-second video ad as if that represents "ad viewing". Sorry, but while this is a needed first step, that's all it is. If we don't go way beyond this baby step---and I suspect that we won't--we are just kidding ourselves.

  2. Charlene Weisler from Writer, Media Consultant: WeislerMedia.blogspot.com, May 23, 2017 at 3:34 p.m.

    Hi Ed, I am sure that there will never be a perfect way to measure actual viewing unless something is impanted that will indicate eye focus, attention and comprehension. I am happy to follow the steps towards 'good' and hope for perfect. But realistically, perfect will always be at the horizon.

  3. Patrick Boegel from Media Logic replied, May 23, 2017 at 3:34 p.m.

    Ed, I think while that is absolutely true, to get to the deeper level of data understanding would rely on a level of consumer (Human) cooperation or tolerance that I am not sure anyone is willing and ready to give.

    There is an undefinabel level and loss of actual impressions or engagement with any ad, and unfortunately I think the data needed to quantify that in any absolute sense is not attainable.

    Settling for richer data sets may be less than satisfactory, but it also may be the furthest we get with willing participation. 

    In regards to digital viewability and pixels.  It is hard to buy into that all too much as a reasonable assessment of an impression being made for certain.

  4. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, May 23, 2017 at 4:12 p.m.

    Patrick, of course, you are right about the difficulty of getting a workable definition of viewing. As you may know, I have tried to delve into this problematic area for many years, with sttention level studies, eye camera research, etc. and I believe that if some effort was made, "we"  would be far better able to evaluate cross media and, for that matter, within platforms, relative to ad exposure and effectiveness. The problem is that that effort is never made---which is a great loss for both those who program the media and advertisers who press their agencies for better cost efficiencies without realizing that many of their" impressions" are phantoms.

  5. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, May 23, 2017 at 4:16 p.m.

    Charlene, I happen to believe that eye tracking and attendant content recall, liking and atitude- change research could do wonders if integrated with media planning and buying. On the eye tracking front, have you seen what TVision is trying to do with exactly such a methodology ( eye tracking ) for TV shows and comercials? The question is will the powers that be---especially on the advertising and media buying side, really get involved and try to see what such data can tell us?

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