ComScore Inc. is expanding its measurement services with a new tool that will increase the ability to provide specific and targeted content to audiences. The Total Universe report will enable publishers to measure all aspects of Web site traffic, including those on device centric mediums like mobile phones and tablets products.
"What we’ve been doing is developing a new system so that we can account for the additional usage that’s occurring on mobile, phones, tablets, apps and even shared use computers," says Andrew Lipsman, senior director for marketing and industry analysis at comScore. "For most publishers that’s not a huge chunk of their audience yet, maybe it’s a few percentage points, but there are many publishers out there who have a really significant portion of their total activity occurring off of the main dot com Web sites."
Historically, comScore has reported on Web traffic from the home and work environments, which has been the dominating source of access for most digital content consumers.
The new Total Universe report features standard comScore panel based measurements, which has always been the root of how the group gauges activity. That type of industry census Web analytics data, along with the content tag data that comes directly from publishers, was synthesized together to get "a best of breed approach," Lipsman says.
"The Total Universe is saying each person can visit one digital entity or they can visit via four digital entities, that doesn’t matter, they only count as one unique visitor," Lipsman says. "A normal Web site is still going to be the dominant mode that people are going to account for unique visitors but mobile will come after that."
Lipsman adds, "There are identifiers that indicate pretty clearly where the traffic is actually coming from," he says. "We also work with publishers so when we provide the comScore tag to their pages it indicates where that traffic is actually coming from. It could determine whether it’s a mobile app or a mobile optimized Web site."
The report will be released later in April in both the United States and United Kingdom to comScore Media Metrix subscribers and publishers using the Unified Digital Measurement tag.
According to comScore’s Web site, a Unified Digital Measurement [UDM] gives companies the ability to "place tags on their content and ads, and these calls are recorded by comScore servers every time content is accessed. ComScore is able to view these calls on its global panel in addition to measuring the direct server calls."
"Once we started having publishers participating in UDM we were able to essentially gain visibility into the full range of activity," Lipsman says. "That was something we didn’t have with just our panel based measurement in the past. We’re able to develop a calibration system where we could provide actual page view numbers, audience estimates (unique visitors) and be able to do that across all the platforms."
Lipsman says that for some publishers mobile and other digital mediums outside of a browser based access point have a growing significance, with some 10 percent or more.
Since this technology is in its earliest stages Lipsman says it is likely that the most popular medium will be mobile users, which he says is vastly important, giving a personal example of his use of music Web sites.
"The mobile device will become increasingly important," he says. "Pandora is probably the best example in my day-to-day life—I rarely visit the Web site but I listen to the app every day on the way to work so I would be a unique visitor for the Pandora app but not in terms of normal Web visitation."
Before this Total Universe report his interaction with the music application program would have gone uncounted under the UDM tags since he was accessing the software from a mobile phone application.