Audience Measurement & Advertising

by Merin Pasternak

Stephen White, Founder and Chairman, EMM International, a global media management performance and auditing consultancy, says it best, “Audience behaviour is vastly more complex and variable than before and audience measurement technology is like the quest for renewable clean energy.”  We have always seen that old is replaced by new technologies.[1]  First there were paper diaries that were replaced by electronic versions such as Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing and people meters, and then followed Audience Establishment Survey that could determine size and composition of a large sample audience.  It was predicted that online and social would be able to one day measure themselves.  However, there have been some problems with this theory as page visits and Ad hits are not black and white, measurement systems are not always compatible, and there has never been a metric system that could seamlessly integrate TV, online and mobile.

Overview of Current Environment

Today’s media environment has drastically fragmented and is ever changing, from the once limited selection of TV channels.  Companies must identify the factors that impact average media consumers.  There are three forces in particular that must be quantified:

  • New sources of information: always update sources as new data forms we have not yet seen will continue to emerge.  
  • New forms of media: brings social websites into view as having social ads, as the line between content and advertising are blurred.


  • New screens: Conventional examples include theTV,Laptop, and even Mobile, but the tablet experience is new to us.  There are already discussions about Google lass – augmented reality coming soon as an additional fifth screen that will require a separate strategy. [2]

Multi-Screen Measurement System

comScore Approach

On October 16, 2012 comScore, Inc. (NASDAQ: SCOR), an internet company measuring how people navigate the digital world, revealed that a new solution to providing data of impressions delivered across TV, web, and mobile platforms.  This unique multi-screen measurement system is known as validated Campaign EssentialTM Multi-Platform (vCE MP).  This groundbreaking process enables marketing and media companies the information necessary to receive accurate performances indications of ad campaign delivery across all digital screens.  Specifically, reports include individual based demographics, frequency and gross ratings points (GRPs), used to measure the size of an audience reached by a specific media campaign.  This process has created a standard that is equivalent across different media platforms and channels. [3]

“Existing cross-platform solutions are limited by the use of traditional panel-based measurement … comScore’s census-based multi-platform methodology delivers … a campaign analytics product that is both robust and comprehensive enough to address the key questions our clients are asking.” Cameron Meierhoefer, COO of comScore.

vCE MP Key Product Features

  • Unduplicated Person-Based Measurement of Audiences Across Platforms.  vCE MP is not based on cookie measurements of reach, frequency and GRPs, so it is not skewed due to the increase in cookies across multiple devices.  This solves a major problem for marketers who depend on these calculations for advertising allocations of TV, web, and mobile platforms.
  • Campaign Reporting for TV, Web, Smartphones and Tablets.  Currently, the solutions are not effectively reporting to the mobile screens, which have now become an essential part of today’s digital media landscape.
  • Multi-Platform Unification Using the comScore Census Network.  The product’s informational resource is based on the comScore Census Network, which uses census data points to piece together multiple media platforms into one consolidated index of digital consumer behavior and ad exposure.
  • Robust Sample Sizes.  comScore Census Network has the large advantage to observe digital media at a census-level, with sample sizes numbering in the millions rather than limited hundreds.
  • National TV Data from 5 Million U.S. Households.  It is also noteworthy that advertising information from 5 million U.S. households’ TV set-top boxes is integrated into data collection.
  • Viewability Measurement.  This refers to display ads based on comScore’s MRC accredited vCE technology ensuring that impressions are based on the same ‘opportunity to see’ used in TV measurement.

comScore vCE for Video Can Now Include Viewability in Addition to Audience Validation for Online Video Market, Improving Cross-Media Integration with TV. 

Nielsen Approach

Nielsen has also expanded its multi-screen audience measurement capabilities.  Nielsen has already arranged a series of in-depth tests with Cross Platform Campaign Ratings.  They have used advertising’s largest players such as ESPN, Facebook, GroupM, Hulu and Unilever.  These participants have allowed for unprecedented reach, frequency and GRP measurements for TV and Internet to ensure the best test results. [4]

The move to Cross Platform Campaign Ratings is a direct result of consumers and viewers interacting on a more cross-platform basis than ever before.  The typical American spends close to five hours online and watches more than 34 hours of TV per week, over half watch video online. [5]

Steve Hasker, President of Global Media Products and Advertiser Solutions for Nielsen, explains that “Online Campaign Ratings is the first comprehensive advertising measurement system that has existed … It brings is a whole new level of accuracy to online measurement.”  Online Campaign Ratings allows advertisers to demand and publishers to give guarantees based on viewers that are being bought and sold. [6]

OCR Key Attributes

  • Automated tagging – streamlines the end‑to‑end process.
  • Delivery of data in raw form to different platforms.
  • Adaptiveness to the measurement system by industry standards.

Role of Social Media

Facebook Tie-Ins

With the introduction of Nielsen’s new gross rating points (GRP) for Online Campaign Ratings (OCR) there are significant tie-ins with social media sites.  For example, Facebook data including gender and age are being combined with information from online advertising impressions to increase target effectiveness and improve monitoring of online advertisements.  This new technology allows for video intelligence suites to focus on specific Ad effectiveness, which differs from mainstream platforms that merely take into account predetermined delivery goals, margins and efficiencies.  Companies such as VideoHub, are able to monitor complex ecosystems in order to actively match Ads to the correct viewers, achieve marketing goals, and maximize impact.  The standard metric used to measure advertisement effectiveness to this point has been clicks, which are not at all accurate or up to date with current consumer usage.  This emphasizes the great importance of this new technological breakthrough in measurement systems.

Google Joins the GRP Movement

Google hopes to help standardize how digital advertisements are purchased and measured.  This aims to facilitate Ad agencies and brands to compare the performance of offline with online Ad initiatives.  In the attempt to achieve these goals Google has launched two new initiatives Active View and Active GRP, which are both available for display, content networks and YouTube.  This enables companies to purchase “viewable impressions.”

The Social Economy

Today, social capital and intellectual assets are defined by online and real world activity.  Participating in online communities and creating content that others are seeking, individuals are able to build an online brand, reputation and persona that transcends both the digital and actual world. [7]

The social economy and its landscape is creating vast opportunities for companies to reach consumers by engaging in conversations, thus allowing organizations to generate more in depth comprehension and form specifically targeted recommendations for consumers.  McKinsey Global Institute report shows that 72% of companies are using social technologies, the vast majority are not attaining the entire benefit. [8]

Mobile Measurement

Source: comScore

On November 12, 2012 Facebook revealed its new partner in mobile measurement – Localytics.  Specifically, Localytics reports engagement, retention and contribution to consumers value over a lifetime.

Localytics is built for mobile & tablet apps. This allows for event and screen tracking used to analyze conversion funnels, screen flows, feature usage, content

access, advertising performance, and much more.

Localytics is designed to measure apps, providing the greatest accuracy and lightest footprint. Apps differer from websites, offering richer experiences and integration.  Different from website and television, apps function offline and are essential for multitasking.  Apps have access to key data collection (geotagging, storage, accelerometers, etc.  Other key advantages include:


  • Complete user analysis to identify effective sources for growth.
  • Category based engagement and retention analysis.
  • Tracking of buying patterns and/or subscriptions.
  • Advertising APIs for integration optimize promotional campaigns.
  • App usage, screen flow, and event analysis that track performance levels and consumer interface with functionality.
  • Compliant with Facebook data and privacy policies. [9]

 (Source: Localytics)  [10]

Coming Up Next for Social Media

The Newsfeed is a key component that has not yet been tapped into by advertisers, but is on the near horizon.  This would allow the greatest amplification where brand messages can serve as a channel for exposure to “Friends” within respective social networks.  We are already seeing that Facebook’s mobile newsfeed ads are a great success with advertisers, and also allow for companies to acquire Facebook fans.  These new initiatives will enable companies to gauge who, where and why specific users engage and amplify certain brand messages.  This is why the newsfeed is classified as the “tipping point” when digital and social advertisements converge and result in a tangible and quantifiable return on investment.


[1] Twishy. (2012, October 23). Audience data powers our industry: Stephen white . Retrieved from

[2] Owyang, J. (2012, May 21). Altimeter research theme: The dynamic customer journey. Retrieved from

[3] comscore introduces revolutionary multi-platform campaign analytics solution to measure advertising effectiveness across tv, web and mobile. (2012, October 16). Retrieved from

[4] Rodgers, Z. (2012, October 1). Nielsen, comscore move faster on multi-screen audience measurement. Retrieved from

[5] Delivering true multi-screen ad measurement, nielsen brings new solution to market. (2012, October 1). Retrieved from

[6] Rodgers, Z. (2012, October 1). Nielsen, comscore move faster on multi-screen audience measurement. Retrieved from

[7] Solis, B. (2012, March 3). Social capital: The currency of the social economy. Retrieved from

[8] Chui, M., Manyika, J., Bughin, J., Dobbs, R., Roxburgh, C., Sarrazin, H., Sands, G., & Westergren, M. (2012, July 1). The social economy: Unlocking value and productivity through social technologies. Retrieved from

[9] Facebook mobile app install ads now measured by localytics. (2012, November 12). Retrieved from

[10] Localytics. (Producer). (2012). Accessing your s3 bucket. [Web Video]. Retrieved from;autoplay=1