So Long, 2020: A Comscore Year in Review
At the beginning of 2020, no one could have predicted the year ahead. From the pandemic to social justice issues to the political season and increased consumer privacy protection concerns, businesses have been impacted by wave after wave of changes and audience behavior shifts.
Throughout it all, Comscore has demonstrated a commitment to helping its partners pivot, adapt and innovate to thrive in the new normal. Let’s close out 2020 with some highlights...
Coronavirus Consumption Insights
Situation-sensitive messaging and precise targeting leapt to the top of the priority list as COVID-19 hit U.S. shores in March of this year.
To deepen client understanding of the overnight change in media consumption, we rapidly launched and made available a “Coronavirus Insights Hub” to provide a wealth of insights into behavior across platforms, verticals and mediums.
Some insights clients found useful:
- Streaming: From the end of February to the beginning of April of this year, we saw an increase of nearly 30% in average daily OTT streaming hours – a new baseline that has stayed steady since then.
- Television: TV viewing surged in March of this year too. By the end of March, broadcast viewing was up 19% and cable viewing was up 73% year-over-year, and financial networks, in particular, saw viewership jump 95%.
- Digital: While digital visitation to categories like “Tickets” and “Travel” took a dive, categories like “Home Furnishings”, “Consumer Electronics” and “Food & Grocery” thrived. Overall digital visits on mobile and desktop peaked at the end of April of this year and even now remain over 30% higher than pre-pandemic levels.
- Data Usage: In-home data usage spiked across all platforms this year as people across the U.S. began to work and attend school from home (+28% in March, +36% in April, and +30% in May).
Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
The death of George Floyd sparked a global movement for change that showed up in boardrooms too. At Comscore, we took the opportunity to listen, learn and plan for action to drive forward equity, diversity and inclusion efforts in both our own organization and in the media ecosystem at large.
We outlined specific and foundational actions that we were taking to create a more inclusive, more diverse Comscore, and immediately saw the power of shared passion and commitment in ourselves and across the populations we serve. Enabling learning and insights was a key focus, both within the company and for our clients. Employees celebrated and practiced the very essence of “inclusion and diversity” through new and existing Employee Resource Groups. Our collective commitment to building equity, diversity, and inclusion will make 2021 a year of greater growth and success in this very important facet of our culture.
As the 2020 election season heated up, campaigns and advertisers partnered with Comscore to gain unique insights into their key voting demographics. Comscore Congressional District Ratings, a geography-based report delivering valuable viewership insights on local television audiences located within U.S. congressional district boundaries gave our clients the ability to easily plan, transact and evaluate political campaigns. Plus, advertisers gained enhanced political segmentation to better understand key voter categories via our partnership with TargetSmart.
Clients trust and rely on Comscore’s continued commitment to privacy and the responsible use of information in all of its solutions. Publishers, advertisers, and agency clients continue to access the granularity of measurement they’ve come to expect from Comscore, along with a focus on privacy and transparency thanks to enhanced privacy policies across our products, services, and practices which we created, published, and monitored in 2020. As an example, our new Atomic ID will provide privacy-driven representative behavioral profiles that can be applied across platforms and data types, while at the same time eliminating dependence on cookies and other tag IDs.
As part of Comscore’s ongoing commitment to transparency, control, and security, we
also leveraged our existing consent framework to provide a solution for California’s CCPA requirements. Additional information can be found here.
New Products & Partnerships
Comscore forged a new partnership with LiveRamp to combine the companies’ collective television and video intelligence to develop new and innovative privacy-focused services across the advertising ecosystem. By Comscore building the best advanced advertising solutions available, its clients will have access to an even sharper focus on enabling outcome-based measurement, data activation and a data collaboration environment.
2020 saw the launch of this partnership’s first official joint product offering, Data Plus Math powered by Comscore, which gives marketers access to leverage Comscore’s trusted TV and digital ad exposure data with LiveRamp’s unrivaled identity and data connectivity solutions in one, integrated platform.
To address rapidly changing market needs, clients wanted a solution that anticipated third-party cookie deprecation and offered a way to buy their custom segments horizontally across media platforms. In response, Comscore launched the first programmatic open exchange connected TV (CTV) contextual targeting solution in market and the industry’s leading contextual targeting solution for podcasts. We also launched major industry brand safety advancements with our brand suitability segments bringing high/medium/low risk thresholds and COVID and misinformation brand safety segments. In addition, with so much CTV streaming activity, Comscore launched new streaming behavior audience segments that advertisers can use as reach extensions for their digital, mobile and CTV campaigns.
International Connected TV Measurement
Comscore remains dedicated to European video measurement with extended partnerships in Italy and Sweden that focus on TV and video. A new partnership with Samba TV expands the connected TV measurement footprint that Comscore’s global clients will have access to using consistent measurement. And in October 2020, we introduced Global Verified Contextual Private Marketplaces (PMPs) for connected TV and video advertising across Europe, Latin America and Asia-Pacific.
In 2020, games expanded to become media platforms, in-game advertising has become mainstream, and esports reached ever wider audiences. Advertisers now enjoy deeper console, PC, and mobile measurement as we met milestones in innovation. For example, clients gained access to gaming and esports insights from Comscore digital audience solutions thanks to tagless audience reporting of Twitch livestreaming resulting from our new partnership. To help identify opportunities in the space, we published a new State of Gaming webinar and report, which examined emerging trends in esports, livestreaming, cloud gaming.
We spent the second half of 2020 working on bringing national programmer’s minutes together with the largest MVPDs and connected TV (CTV) providers to measure national addressable inventory. This MVPD/CTV-centric approach enables measurement for more than 50 million households, which is the largest footprint of addressable households. In 2021, Comscore clients will benefit from a fully enabled, independently measured national addressable advertising service for the first time. Both buyers and sellers can use television at the impression-level for national addressable inventory and to reconcile with the non-addressed minutes.
Comscore’s Quick Score solution, which was launched this year, delivers preliminary ratings within 48 hours of a telecast to empower local TV to plan and evaluate with more immediacy.
A few months after launching Quick Score, we partnered with Consumer Orbit, a consumer science company and a leading aggregator of privacy compliant, consumer behavior-based information, to launch Comscore Consumer Intelligence, which delivers immediate insights into what consumers are shopping for by harnessing same-week insights from millions of internet searches and transactions, down to the ZIP code and town level.
This year, we celebrated the landmark milestone of reaching 1000 local TV station clients, and television currency continued to expand in 2020 with agency clients, adding or expanding relationships with clients like Pinnacle Advertising. More than 300 independent agencies trust Comscore’s local television measurement, with more than 70% using Comscore measurement as currency.
In the midst of many cinema closures, Comscore took the opportunity to support the global film industry by developing innovative, faster, more powerful, and easier to use movie measurement offerings. We introduced our new theatre management system software, Cinema Auditorium Control Engine (ACE), this year and are gearing up for the unveiling of our next generation of box office measurement in 2021.
Looking Ahead to 2021
2021 will be a momentous year for the media ecosystem at large. At Comscore, we are working hard to innovate and bring products and solutions to market that will empower our clients to do their best work.
In the words of Bill Livek, Comscore CEO and Executive Vice Chair, “This might be the most promising moment in Comscore’s 20-year history of media measurement innovation, and we’re just getting started.”
Here’s to the continued success and growth of Comscore clients and partners in 2021 and beyond!