ComScore Rolls Out Cross-Platform Audience Measurement

Combined mobile and desktop metrics provide big boosts for Pandora, ESPN

As the Web's complexity and modes of access continue to evolve, it appears so are standards of digital media metrics. On Thursday (Nov. 29) comScore released a new online audience measurement system in an attempt to adapt online metrics for a cross-platform world.

Just as comScore's Media Metrix has served as one of the Web standards for measuring and ranking viewer size and strength, the next evolution of the product, Media Metrix Multi-Platform, will look to quantify website, video and app content views across a variety of platforms, including mobile.

The change is a long time coming in an online world that has watched mobile and tablet use skyrocket in recent years—and not surprisingly, the impact of the new numbers is eye-opening. With the addition of platforms like mobile, comScore now shows 10 Web properities exceeding the 100 million unique visitor mark. The company's traditional metrix had only six properties hit the mark.

More importantly, the multi-platform results reveal some staggering figures with regard to the sheer size of the mobile Web audience. Google, for instance, logged over 109 million unique viewers on mobile alone last September, the only Web property to do so. The new figures also provide some insight into which properties are most successful driving traffic through mobile.


Winners: Last September, Pandora had an incremental audience of 164 percent on mobile compared to its desktop-only audience, causing the property to skyrocket 38 spots in comScore's new metrix, becoming the 23rd ranked Web platform. ESPN also saw a boost in the comScore rankings as a result of a robust mobile audience, as the sports giant's 31.8 million unique mobile visitors helped boost the property four spots to 19th on the list. In addition, retailers like Amazon, Walmart and eBay all saw increases of 20 percent or more in uniques as a result of the new data.

Losers: While every site on the new ranking could be considered a dominant Web property, the addition of mulitplatform metrics hurt some sites like Linkedin, which lost four spots and just made it in to the top 30 at No. 30. YouTube giant Vevo moved from 19 to 24 and showed the lowest number of mobile viewers by far with only 4.9 million, making a case that traditional computer viewing is still king when it comes to online music videos.

Going forward, comScore notes that the unique visitor metric will remain a crucial component of how the company evaluates Web rankings. However, comScore also cites duration (time on site) and engagement as major measurement tools. It's a good bet that the greater emphasis on mobile, which includes smartphone and tablet, as well as audience engagement instead of raw clicks, will likely lead publishers to focus more on developing user-centric Web experience and better adaptive and responsive mobile designs and site integrations, as has been the trend of late.