- 3. November 2014

Progressing Toward a Human GRP in Digital

Early into my tenure as Comscore’s Chief Research Officer back in 2008, I argued in favor of the use of GRPs in digital measurement. It’s hard to believe now, but back then this was a controversial viewpoint among the digiterati who believed that reach and frequency-based metrics were relics of old media and had little use in the world of impressions and clicks.

Six years later we are living and breathing the realities of a multi-platform universe, where the need for metrics that are comparable across media has become essential for effective, holistic media planning and evaluation. This argues for the continued use of reach, frequency, and GRP metrics in digital campaign evaluation, but it also means that buyers and sellers require consistency in how these metrics are derived across media platforms.

By now we’re all familiar with the implications of incorporating viewability into the currency definition when buying and selling digital impressions; the move to a viewable impression currency was the first of the five guiding principles of 3MS. We’re also all aware of the scourge of fraud and Non-Human Traffic (NHT), which is almost certainly THE hot-button ecosystem issue of 2014. In the digital space, we are now able to produce a ‘Human GRP,’ a validated metric based on advertising with the opportunity to be seen by an actual human. The concept sounds simple enough, but the world of digital measurement can be messy and requires advanced technology to ensure that ads are both viewable and delivered to people, rather than bots and other forms of NHT.

We at Comscore strive to make the lives our clients easier by allowing them to buy and sell advertising according to “clean” metrics like the Human GRP, and we have made significant strides in doing so over the past several months.

Earlier today we announced the recertification by the Media Rating Council (MRC) for the validation (i.e. viewability) module of validated Campaign Essentials (vCE).With this announcement, the vCE validation accreditation is now inclusive of Comscore’s advanced NHT detection practices.

MRC Executive Director and CEO George Ivie said: “MRC congratulates Comscore for achieving continued accreditation for the Validation component of its validated Campaign Essentials product. We reviewed vCE-Validation in the context of MRC’s plans to strengthen and modernize industry requirements around non-human traffic detection processes in digital advertising measurement, and came away highly impressed with Comscore’s advanced approach in this key area.”

In other words, Comscore has received third-party accreditation indicating that our methods conform to their guidelines in ensuring that ads are viewable and are reaching actual people – both essential ingredients in delivering a Human GRP metric.

Our commitment to MRC auditing of the vCE suite remains strong. This fall we have commenced the formal audit of the Audience (target GRP) component of vCE (a previous audit of vCE Audience 1.0 was put to bed once we decided to migrate to the current vCE Audience 2.0 platform) that includes both display and video. Additionally, an audit of vCE video viewability measurement is underway as well. And as soon as mobile vCE is officially launched, that audit will begin.

Third-party accreditation is great, but it is essential that we deploy these methods in a way that delivers maximum utility and value for our clients. One significant development for our publisher clients is the recent inclusion of our advanced NHT detection technology in our validated Media Essentials (vME) product suite. vME is the publisher’s answer to vCE, helping them evaluate the quality of their inventory and optimize their sites to improve content monetization. With the integration of this NHT technology, publishers now have a way to demonstrate the quality of their inventory and prove that impressions are not being inflated due to NHT. This engenders trust from advertisers and helps publishers get paid for the value they are delivering.

This is one application of our NHT technology that’s already driving value for clients, and we have more on the way. Earlier in the year, we announced the acquisition of MdotLabs and its team of data scientists and engineers to help Comscore up the ante on NHT detection and filtration. Over the past several months we have been working diligently to integrate their complementary NHT detection technology with our existing systems, in order to build a proprietary approach that we believe is second to none. We are now in the latter stages of this integration and look forward to fully implementing this augmented approach by the end of this year across our MMX and vCE product suites.

This means an even higher level of confidence in planning and evaluating digital ad campaigns based on accurate metrics of reach and frequency -- ones not polluted by the effects of ads that aren’t viewable, or that are served to bots. Progress toward a Human GRP for digital opens the door for true cross-platform measurement and allows digital to fulfill its true potential.

Learn more about Comscore NHT triple detection.