Nielsen, ComScore Bolster Measurement Services in October

Both Aim to Improve Reporting for Internet, Mobile

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NEW YORK ( -- As online measurement becomes an increasingly important tool for marketers looking to boost their interactive media spending, the two major firms in the area are bolstering their capabilities.

Combining units
Nielsen today announced it will rebrand its online- and mobile-measurement services, combining BuzzMetrics and Nielsen/NetRatings into a single unit that will measure online audiences, advertising, video, blogs, consumer-generated media, word-of-mouth, commerce and consumer behavior. Nielsen named former exec chairman of BuzzMetrics, Itzhak Fisher, to lead it. Manish Bhatia will also have a leadership role as president-global services and U.S. sales; BuzzMetrics co-founder Jonathan Carson was named president of Nielsen Online's internal organization.

Nielsen also has combined Telephia, which handles syndicated consumer research to the telecom and mobile media markets, with several other existing unspecified mobile measurement initiatives, rebranding that division Nielsen Mobile. Nielsen acquired Telephia in June.

ComScore, meanwhile, has rolled out several new ad-related measurement initiatives in the past month, including yet-another way to look at web properties -- measuring them by display ad impressions vs. unique visitors or page views.

Contrasting rankings
Contrasting the ranking of top web properties in terms of ad impressions with the top web properties in terms of unique visitors is an interesting exercise in what sites are most aggressive in display-ad monetization or, alternatively, what sites tend to have the most clutter. For example, in June Google ranked second in terms of unique visitors but eighth in terms of total display ad views. By contrast, Fox Interactive Media ranked fifth for visitors but second for total display-ad views. At the time of its late September rollout, ComScore said it is not yet sure exactly how agencies will choose to use insights from the new service.

ComScore also announced a search product that slices and dices not only keyword and search-traffic share but also total clicks, paid clicks and organic clicks, which would allow users to back into how much competitors are spending on particular keywords by doing some math based on current keyword rates.

The announcements come at a time when ComScore and Nielsen/NetRatings are undergoing an auditing process by the Media Rating Council. Nielsen/NetRatings announced it had begun its MRC audit, with the first phase taking a look at the company's desktop meter and data transmittal processes. On Sept. 28, ComScore announced it had begun an audit; the audit covers its U.S. Media Metrix online audience measurement service and the first phase will cover the company's technology for capturing its panel's internet behavior.

Interactive Advertising Bureau CEO Randall Rothenberg had implored both companies to undergo MRC accreditation last spring, in a letter he issued to them simultaneously. The IAB is also convening a forum focused on audience measurement, scheduled for Nov. 29.
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