ComScore Strengthens Demographics With Yahoo, Google Integrations, As Q2 Revenues Pop

SergeMattaMedia and audience measurement company comScore reported on Tuesday a 14.5% YoY revenue increase for Q2 2014 to $80 million, up from $69.9 million last year.

Although comScore renewed its preferred strategic partner deals with agency GroupM and consumer packaged goods company P&G for audience delivery measurement, the company recognizes there is room for improvement in brand marketer adoption.

“Today, we feel like we’ve penetrated less than 20% of advertisers [with vCE] so there is a lot more to do,” said Serge Matta, president and CEO of comScore, during the earnings call. He anticipates the company’s recent integrations of audience delivery validation tool Validated Campaign Essentials (vCE) with Yahoo’s and Google’s respective ad buying and reporting platforms will help in this regard.

“With Google and Yahoo coming onboard, that will increase significantly,” Matta said, adding that mobile is also an area of concentration, though comScore is still zeroing in on display and video measurements. “Our focus 100% is display and video, video being equally important to display. Since we just released mobile vCE, it’s a key priority for us but mobile is still way behind in penetration compared to display and video.”

Because ComScore’s vCE integration with Yahoo began as a soft launch on June 30 and only formally “went live” on Tuesday, there was no material impact in Q2 as a result of the partnership. However, Matta expects “incremental” uplift, particularly when the wider Google DoubleClick/vCE roll-out occurs late in Q3.

In some ways, it would seem like large brand advertisers could obtain measurement insights going publisher-direct with companies like Yahoo and Google proverbially baking those metrics right into the ad serve. As Yahoo puts it, marketers can “set up measurement for their campaigns in one simple step and skip the labor-intensive tagging process.”

Initially, there was some uncertainty around how many brands would renew their existing commitments to prior ComScore Validated Campaign Essentials relationships or what effect the Yahoo and Google deals would have on future revenue potential, all points that arose on the Q2 earnings call.

However, Matta said “clients (like P&G) have renewed their initial business with us [and we expect to] then get additional revenue from Yahoo and Google. …  [Customers] want to work directly with comScore in a relationship, but they will also benefit from working directly with both Google or Yahoo and in some cases they’ll work with both.”

So what does the marketer get as a result of the comScore-Yahoo-Google (and soon to be more, as 100-plus publishers are in the process of mobile vCE certification) trifecta? In short, more and better audience. ComScore claims it leverages 1.6 billion demographic profiles globally.

“Those are demographics (on age and gender) we get from users of both Yahoo and Google properties (Tumblr and Gmail among them) that’s 100% privacy-compliant with no personally identifiable information on them,” Matta said. “[With] vCE, we’re not reliant on one source of demographic. Some come from Google, Yahoo or other data partners we have relationships with.”

ComScore then “blends” that demo data together and decides, as an independent third-party, what is the best demographic source to rely on for any individual viewing that campaign? Some of those segments consist of offline behaviors such as “this many people have the tendency to buy ‘x’ product in-store” via comScore’s existing offline data partners Acxiom, Epsilon and Batanga Media. With Yahoo and Google demo data, “we want to add to this at scale.”


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