- March 14, 2011

Comscore Introduces Digital Analytix: Overcoming Pain Points with Digital Data

Today, Comscore introduced a next generation web analytics product to the market called Digital Analytix. We’re excited about it for a lot of reasons, but mostly because it solves a number of ongoing challenges that we believe have caused pain for the digital community for far too long. Early marketplace feedback confirms our thinking: the platform delivers new value and insight in the increasingly complex digital environment, and in the process, finally addresses the chronic and acute pain points that existing solutions create for web analytics professionals today. Digital Analytix provides the flexible, robust, insightful and convenient solution that analysts have sorely needed.

Highly Flexible and Efficient Reporting Architecture
Many of the complaints voiced by analysts are addressed with Digital Analytix. The most commonly articulated complaint is that existing solutions often lack the flexibility to run reports specific to the needs of an organization. Either the platform architecture relies on pre-aggregated reports that may not deliver the needed insights, or the system provides access to raw data but charges dearly for the privilege of running such reports. Often, a whole different system is required to access the raw data. With the pace of change in digital, it’s impossible to anticipate dimensionality that might be important six months from now. Heck, it might not even be invented yet. And who wants to have to call support every time a new cut of data is required to answer a question?

Powered by the proprietary Comscore Atomix technology, Digital Analytix offers access to data in its unaggregated form, enabling the flexibility demanded by web analytics professionals and digital business stakeholders. It enables not only ad hoc analysis and creation of new segments on the fly, but also the ability to create new dimensionality on the fly.

Another important difference in the Atomix approach is the efficiency of the data collection process. Unlike other solutions we efficiently minimize the number of server calls needed, which in turn minimizes the burden on the page performance. For example, instead of collecting each ‘heartbeat’ of a video, Atomix collects all the necessary data with a minimal amount of transmission. The result is a more efficient data collection process without diminishing the quality of the measurement or user experience.

Understand Your Audience
Existing platforms also fail to deliver the mission critical insights into the audience dynamics of a site’s visitor base. The proliferation of mobile devices, the consumption of content and advertising by the same user across disparate media platforms and the simultaneous localization and globalization of content all create a large and growing need to understand and plan against audience segments that are continually becoming more granular and dispersed. Today with Digital Analytix, you can answer questions like: Does conversion decrease with visitor age? Do older people—the ones with the money, in my target—find it more difficult to transact on my site? Did the demographic composition of my site change when I added a new shopping feature? Did it appeal to more women? On a sports site, how does content consumption for registered users compare to non-registered users? Digital Analytix shifts the focus from what ‘cookies’ are doing to the behavior of the people those cookies represent. It’s time to stop thinking just about clicks and start thinking about the person behind those clicks.

There are Demographics… and there are Demographics
Even as other web analytics solutions begin to ostensibly incorporate ‘demographic’ data, a legitimate question arises as to the quality and accuracy of such data. Comscore’s demographic reporting is rooted in more than a decade of delivering quality audience-level reporting based on the most advanced and accurate technology in our industry today. If there is one thing we’ve come to know from our years in the internet audience measurement business, it’s this: cookies are not people. Factors such as cookie deletion, usage by the same person from different browsers and devices, and usage of the same machine by multiple people within a household are just some of the complicating factors. As a result, gaining insight into a site’s audience is not as simple as appending cookie-based demographic data to its web analytics data.

Digital Analytix, in contrast, takes a completely different approach to audience-level reporting. The solution builds upon Comscore’s Unified Digital Measurement (UDM) methodology, where we’ve taken our 2 million person panel and combined it with billions of server calls from census measurement to produce a ‘best of breed’ audience measurement approach. Since being introduced to the market two years ago, UDM has been adopted by more than 90% of the top 100 U.S. media properties, providing us with coverage on 95% of all machines in the U.S. (international markets are following this trend as we roll out UDM across the world.) The combination of this comprehensive cookie data along with our 2 million person panel has given Comscore extensive experience with the complex relationship between cookies and people, and has been the basis for many of the algorithms we now use to make both forms of measurement (audience and web analytics) better. We have found that with the UDM methodology, one form of measurement is essential in informing the other.

Our panel is at the core of our demographic measurement. We go to great lengths to ensure its representativeness, and we weight and project it to accurately represent the online population. We also employ a patented technology that enables us to differentiate between multiple users within a household, ensuring a higher degree of accuracy in assigning the correct audience demographics to each Internet session.

We use cookie-level demographic data to fill in the demographic gaps in Digital Analytix, but first we apply additional methodological rigor. Because our research has shown that cookie level demographic data can be prone to errors, we validate it against multiple sources before applying that information. We have seen, for example, that cookie-based gender data to be incorrect between 20% and 30% of the time, with greater error levels in larger households. Validation against additional sources ensures we’re including only data that has passed the test of convergent validity. In order to account for any bias that results from the limited number of sites from which any one vendor collects data, we also use the panel for calibration and weighting.

While some other web analytics systems are just beginning to tinker in audience data by simply appending data at the cookie or the household level, Comscore Digital Analytix has already leapfrogged well beyond these approaches to provide validated, representative, and high-quality demographics.

Integration with Other Platforms
Current solutions also frequently lack the ability to fluidly integrate with other systems. Digital Analytix is an open solution that offers integration with other systems, such as Microsoft Office, so that data can flow elsewhere for additional reporting analysis and functionality. Want to integrate with your chosen email or SEM system? No problem. Want to have data flow through automatically to PowerPoint or Excel so that your CMO can get updates without logging in? Digital Analytix can handle that.

Easy Implementation
But even if an organization feels the chronic, day-to-day pain of their existing platform, the perceived cost of switching to a new platform can seem even higher. After what was undoubtedly a painful implementation that took many weeks or months, the thought of switching web analytics providers can send even the most tech-savvy analyst into a cold sweat. Digital Analytix also alleviates this crucial pain point by allowing publishers to leverage their existing UDM census tags in order to deploy the new system. If you’re tagged for Media Metrix, you’re already tagged for Digital Analytix. Clients can now have one tag that powers both their Audience Measurement and Web Analytics solutions. One tag that is optimized for performance, yet infinitely customizable without ever having to retag or change your implementation. Even without UDM tags, implementation on an average site can be done more quickly and with fewer errors in Digital Analytix due to its efficient tag design and data structure.Digital Analytix: The Future of Digital Measurement
Are you breathing easier yet? Good. That was our intention. We designed Digital Analytix to be the web analytics solution the industry needs to effectively navigate the digital future.

The rapidly fragmenting digital media environment will only get more complex over time. Organizations need greater simplicity to manage this complexity. The promise of Digital Analytix is that it will enable you to unlock your data, understand your audience, and deliver new insights faster and easier than ever before.

Another innovation, brought to you by Comscore.

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