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ComScore Beefs Up Media Metrix With Mobile Ad Net Rankings

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ComScore has added mobile ad network rankings to Media Metrix.

The new reporting will be called Mobile Metrix and become part of the overall Media Metrix product suite.

Until now, Media Metrix was focused on the desktop side of things, providing info on website audiences, including consumption habits, demographics and cross-site visitation for more than 250,000 properties in 44 countries.

“If we look back in history to when we started working with ad networks on the web about a decade ago, it was a big innovation in the market because it helped create a way to reach scalable audiences that didn’t force buyers to rely exclusively on the biggest publishers,” said Andrew Lipsman, VP of marketing and insights at comScore.

Fast forward to today and the same situation is playing itself out on mobile, where the industry lacks measurement tools to level the oft-cited differential between mobile time spent and mobile ad spend.

Despite knowing that app usage alone accounts for more than 50% of total digital media engagement, it’s hard for buyers to up their spend if they can’t measure audience reach. As Scott Marsden, VP of media at DigitasLBi, noted at the Mobile Media Summit on Monday, “Measurability has been a challenge for us since day one.”

“You only see four media properties on mobile that get 100 million visitors a month,” Lipsman said.

Those four media properties? The usual suspects: Google, Facebook, Yahoo and Amazon.

And that can often lead to a less-than-inspiring media mix, said Eric Simon, EVP of operations and general manager at Yieldmo, the first mobile ad network to go live with comScore’s new ranking in Media Metrix.

“[Media buyers] don’t have a good way of really planning audience and content targeting on mobile like they do on desktop, so the easy thing to do is to buy from Facebook or buy mobile banners through the more traditional places, like Google, because those are known entities,” Simon said. “There’s definitely a little spray and pray going on.”

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ComScore’s inaugural Mobile Metrix Mobile Ad Network report for April found that Yieldmo, whose publisher clients include CNN, Time Inc., Trulia, Univision, BabyCenter, Meredith, Vox, Orbitz and DailyMotion, had delivered ad impressions to 105 million smartphones, representing a 68% reach among its audience.

Several other ad networks are either in discussions with comScore or at various stages of implementation, Lipsman said. It’s a process that can take two months or more. ComScore tags every single piece of inventory to pull page and placement-level data and measure the delivery of ads through the network directly. From there, comScore determines the ad network’s audience reach across publisher sites and apps.

While Media Metrix is arguably old-school – relying as it does on a contextual rather than impression-based mindset – the continued lack of reliable cross-device measurement may lend it continued relevance. Big brands – ”which is where the big budgets reside,” Lipsman said – and agencies need validation that mobile buys can achieve reach against the target audience.

“The ultimate benefit … will be an accelerated shift of dollars,” Simon said. “Because today, dollars are still being planned for desktop when the audience has clearly already moved to mobile.”

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