Spanning The Globe

  • by , Op-Ed Contributor, September 3, 2008
A New York-area sportscaster used to do a monthly clips feature under the name of "Spanning the Globe," so with apologies to Len Berman, I'm nicking the title for this column.  Today is my first day back from vacation, and thus I'm pleased to report I have managed not to think too deeply about any one business issue over the past week or so... but of course, one's love affair with online metrics being what it is, I've thought a little about a couple of topics.

Item: Politics
After following the Democratic convention and the news of McCain's Veep pick, I got to wondering about the relative performances of Obama's and McCain's Web sites.  According to Media Metrix US data, since January 2008, has attracted between 2.7 and 5.3 times the monthly Unique Visitors of .  The 5.7 was in March; not surprising since that was in the middle of Obama's 11-state run in the Democratic primaries.  (In case you're wondering, from January through June 2008, Hillary Clinton's Web site drew fewer Uniques than Obama, but more than McCain.)   If we accept time spent as a surrogate for engagement, Obama's visitors are more engaged, spending, on a month-by-month basis, between 29% and 140% more time per visitor at his site than McCain's visitors do at his.

These may not seem like surprising findings, since Obama voters skew younger than McCain's, and Internet penetration and intensity (tonnage of usage) are greater among younger persons within the 18+ voter demographic.  What might be surprising is that, in July 2008, the age distribution of visitors to both Obama's and McCain's sites are remarkably similar (69.8% UVs were from persons aged 35+ for Obama; 68.2% for McCain; 37.3% and 38% respectively for age 55+.)  Since most polls have the two of them just a couple of points apart, I'm curious why Obama's Web site seems to be so much the bigger draw.  I would have assumed it was the age skew of the respective constituencies, but the similarity in the age skews of the respective web audiences suggests otherwise.

Obama has a slight female skew in UVs (52%) while McCain's visitors skew male (56%); interestingly, with respect to minutes, both Web sites skew male (Obama at 52%; McCain at 58%.)

Interestingly, persons from households earning over $100K a year accounted for 32% of time spent on Obama's site in July, versus 18% of the time spent on McCain's.  In case you're wondering, for the Internet overall the $100K+ cell accounted for 26% of minutes.

Item: My New iPhone
Over the summer I got an iPhone, the first time I've had the Internet in my pocket.  

I think most of us media pundits agree that mobile/cellular is the next major emerging medium (if we were in Asia, we'd probably agree that mobile/cellular was the most recently already-emerged major medium.)  

I think too that it is probably fair to say that, despite what seems like a long build-up to the commercialization of the mobile Web, at least here in the U.S. it has been the advent of the iPhone (a little over a year ago) that has really raised the curtain on the mobileWweb as a widespread consumer medium.  Gian Fulgoni, comScore's chairman of the board, says that smart phones (including the iPhone) will be to the mobile Web what broadband was to computer Internet access.

So naturally, the next question is measurement.

One flavor of the measurement question is whether we will think about the Internet as a single medium that is device-agnostic; or, if we will think of the computer and the phone as different media, each of which may be used to access the Internet (among other things.)  I think I'm in the latter camp, at least in the near term.  The Internet is a different experience on the phone than on the computer, and competes with a different set of utilities based on the device (e.g.., with calling and texting on the phone; with Excel and PowerPoint on the computer.)  Of course, these differences will blur soon enough, and ultimately the primary difference in user experience may simply be screen size. And agencies already want to know the unduplicated reach of a campaign across the two platforms.

comScore acquired M:Metrics, the leading provider of intelligence about the mobile web, this past June, and it's been exciting to get some exposure to that space.  I know some of my colleagues have already been in touch with both the IAB and the WAA about mobile metrics.  You can expect to see an expanded mobile measurement platform from us in the near future, and in the months to come I suspect I'll be writing more and more about the mobile component of online metrics.

In the meantime, I'm loving the iPhone.

Item: OMMA Panel
I have the good fortune to be moderating a panel at MediaPost's upcoming OMMA Conference in New York.  The topic of the panel is "The Metrics Mash-Up: Making Sense of Mixed Platforms." (I wouldn't call this a plug or anything, but we've got a great panel lined up, including fellow Metrics Insiders Jodi McDermott and Kevin Mannion, and it's at 3:30 on Friday, Sept. 19. Hope to see you there.

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