Establishment survey

The purpose of the Establishment Survey is to create a representative profile of the digital universe to which online audiences need to be projected and to provide panel recruitment targets covering demographics and device ownership.

Our Establishment Survey uses gold standard data collection methodologies to produce accurate internet audience profiles.

In Great Britain we use PAMCo which involves 35,000 face-to-face interviews with adults 15+, in 2019, using a random probability sample methodology.

In Northern Ireland we use RAJAR to produce equivalent digital estimates. In 2019, we interviewed 3,000 adults 15+ using a random quota approach

The data collected includes age, gender, region, social grade, working status, presence of children, device used, internet usage frequency, household size and ethnicity.

Ipsos iris panel

The 10,000-respondent Ipsos iris panel consists of adults aged 15+ and has been recruited to be representative of the UK population (as measured by the ES) in terms of age, gender, social grade and other demographics. It is also structured to accurately represent BARB TV and Government Office Regions across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Ipsos iris panel respondents fall into one of two categories:

Around 25,000 devices are measured on the panel, with quotas applied to ensure accurate incidence representation. These devices are: PCs and Macs (Chrome, Firefox, IE/Edge and Safari browsers) and tablets and smartphones (except Windows-based models and Blackberry) with iOS and Android operating systems, for both web browsing and app use.

The Ipsos iris panel is a single-source panel, meaning that it captures behaviour across all these devices from the same group of people. Ipsos iris can directly observe and calculate device overlap behaviour and does not rely on models to estimate it.

Demographics available for analysis include: gender, age, social grade, working status, household composition and geographical area. Demographic details are collected via a recruitment questionnaire administered by Ipsos and completed by all panellists when they join.


Site-centric measurement in Ipsos iris involves placing on participating websites a short, device-agnostic JavaScript tag which identifies and logs all visiting devices. Consumption of all content including page (text, picture), video and audio is measured via this tag script. Active time spent by the user on each content element is also recorded.

Similarly, app-centric measurement for mobile apps involves incorporating an SDK into the source code of participating applications. This logs the time of each app start event and the amount of time the app remains open, alongside details of event triggers which allow Ipsos iris to measure different behaviours within the app.

UKOM and Ipsos strongly advise all online content owners tag their websites and apps to ensure the most accurate possible measurement of all their digital assets. Owners can sign up for Ipsos iris tagging here and more information on tagging may be found in our FAQ here.

Web intercept

For smaller websites falling below the minimum reporting threshold of 20 panellists in a calendar month, Ipsos can conduct web intercept surveys to collect demographic profiles and measure key audience behaviours. To enable these surveys, the site owner must add the Ipsos iris tag to their site – email us here for further information.

Web intercept surveys may contain only 5-6 questions to collect the demographic profile information needed or they may extend to up to 5 minutes’ duration without a substantial loss in response rate. If used regularly they also allow the building of a quasi-panel of devices which can then be tracked over long periods of time.

According to publisher preference, they can be delivered continuously or over specific collection periods to a random sample of users of tagged websites. The use of the Ipsos tag also ensures visitors are only asked to take part in each survey wave once.

Web intercept data is integrated with panel, census and server-to-server data.  

Server-to-server (S2S)

If the publisher platform or content volume/turnover do not permit tagging, UKOM and Ipsos will consider accepting site and app server log records. Usually delivered directly to Ipsos servers, log data are only accepted after rigorous testing, device-tracking calibration and non-human traffic removal. Each integration is bespoke to make the best use of the available data.

S2S data is integrated with panel, census and web intercept data.


In order to combine panel, census, web intercept and S2S inputs into respondent-level data, Ipsos develop synthetic audience populations as 'containers' for data. This involves a series of steps (‘Integration’) including ascription, fusion, modelling, calibration and weighting of user and device activity to produce this synthetic data set.

Where sites or apps are tagged, activity from the panel is matched to census data. If tags have not been used, web intercept or server to server may be incorporated instead.

Key audience profile targets and behavioural benchmarks are also integrated here, so that reports run using the synthetic data set always reflect actual audience behaviour in the period reported.

Furthermore, due to the limited benefits of introducing all devices measured into this data set, the process involves sampling c. 2.5 million devices connect their visitation patterns to the c. 1m synthetic respondents. This sampling combines both random and quota elements to ensure representativeness, even of smaller entities and audiences.

Synthetic data set

The resulting synthetic data set represents around c. 2.5m devices and c. 1m synthetic respondents. The audience profile targets match the population estimates coming from the Establishment Survey while the aggregate behaviours are corresponding to a series of benchmarks. This large data set is designed to sit behind the various Ipsos iris reporting mechanisms and informs all reports run using these tools. 

Reporting interface

The main Ipsos iris Reporting Interface is a cloud-based portal delivered via a secure internet connection. Powered by the Ipsos iris synthetic data set, it allows users to run bespoke reports drawing on the entire range of demographic and behavioural profiles and of devices represented by the study. It is available to all Ipsos iris subscribers.




When running a report, the data query process happens in real-time; when a request is made for a particular report, the system runs the device-to-people conversion and creates audience estimates taking into account any demographic, device or taxonomy filters selected.



In terms of speed and frequency of delivery, granularity of data and analytical capabilities, the system is designed to:

The most significant step-change in how Ipsos iris’ online audience data is analysed is its ability to report daily “overnight” core audience metrics at aggregate level, in addition to more conventional averaged monthly measures. Monthly data will continue to form UKOM’s official Data of Record.


Data set

Using the full synthetic data set as a basis, more specific respondent-level data can be produced, for example:

To achieve this, the system randomly samples an appropriate number of respondents and behaviours from the synthetic data set and repeats certain calibration steps to ensure consistency with it.


An API feed to power proprietary systems is also available as an extra subscription module. For more information please contact: or or  or email