DoubleClick Dives Into Metrics

In a move that puts it closer to repositioning itself as an online advertising infrastructure company, New York-based DoubleClick today introduced a new independent research division called Diameter, designed to serve Internet advertisers, publishers and e-tailers and to compete with such research heavyweights as Jupiter Media Metrix and Nielsen NetRatings.

Diameter will offer three areas of research: media intelligence, audience measurement and advertising effectiveness. Lead by Doug Knopper, vp and general manager, the division has 55 employees in two offices–New York and San Francisco–and includes a separate sales force and client services department from DoubleClick. Analysts have previously predicted that DoubleClick will likely sell off its media business to avoid any conflict of interest with its research one.

“Research is one more service that we can offer to clients across the board,” said Knopper. He noted, too, that “research underlies every part of our business. We’ve made a very strong commitment to it. “

That commitment stems, in part, from DoubleClick’s recent acquisition of @plan, an online market research company making up the foundation of Diameter’s media intelligence unit. Formerly known as Gutenberg, @plan Advertising will offer consumer behavior data, updated quarterly, from a random sample of 40,000 current U.S. adult Web users. Similarly, @plan E-Commerce, formerly known as Kepler, will provide retail sites with information on consumer shopping and purchase experiences.

Diameter’s audience-measurement capabilities will come from DoubleClick’s recent deal with comScore Networks to create a suite of Web measurement tools. The first of these products, launched in late January and called netScore, claims a sample size of 1.5 million opt-in users and tracks site traffic from home, work, school and international users. Additionally, netScore applies a “Buying Power Index” to its traffic figures to help Web publishers better understand the value of visitors, based on their actual online purchases across all sites on the Net.

“Media planners can get the in-depth intelligence needed to make decisions,” said Knopper.

Finally, Diameter will offer ad-effectiveness tools based on DoubleClick’s existing DART technology and using what Knopper calls a “traditional branding metric” to measure the impact of ad campaigns.

To do that, Diameter will offer three effectiveness products: creative testing, involving a single impression test; brand measurement, testing frequency levels to determine how many exposures are needed to optimize an ad’s impact; and campaign evaluation, using data mining to track campaigns from beginning to end.