• comScore Gets Its Act Together on Ad Network Traffic Reporting

    I was pleased to see comScore announce on Tuesday that beginning this month it will report two sets of numbers for online ad networks: "potential reach" and "actual reach."

    Potential reach will represent the unduplicated visitors to all sites that an ad network has under contract to deliver ads to (based on written documentation), while actual reach will represent the number of ads actually served (based on a tagging mechanism that comScore will require the ad networks to implement to be counted). This is a welcome development, particularly in the intensely competitive video ad network space. In fact, it seems such an obvious move, one wonders why comScore has been so tardy in introducing it.

    Followers of VideoNuze and other industry blogs know that comScore's measurement deficiencies recently set off a tempest after comScore ranked YuMe, one of the large video ad networks, #8 in reach in its Ad Focus report. With YuMe trumpeting its ranking, other industry players challenged it by noting that the full audience of MSN (a site that YuMe serves ads to) had been counted. The confusion was caused by the fact that comScore had not been delineating "potential" from "actual" reach or providing apples-to-apples numbers for all networks. Chastened, comScore re-ranked YuMe, sending it plummeting in the rankings.

    All of this of course only served to create more confusion for media buyers who are trying to cobble together media plans that achieve their broadband video reach and frequency goals within budget, while minimizing their time invested. Though I'm a huge advocate of the ad-supported model dominating the broadband video landscape well into the future, I'm cognizant that the friction media buyers currently encounter is the single biggest challenge the ad model currently faces in its bid to scale and redirect spending from traditional outlets.

    So comScore's new reporting is a step forward after two recent steps back. Let's hope for more forward progress.

    What do you think? Post a comment.

     
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