Panels and tagging – the hybrid measurement approach

The UKOM-endorsed Comscore approach to online audience measurement uses data from a metered panel combined with data from website, app and video tags. This is commonly known as a ‘hybrid’ approach.

Panellists are recruited online, incentivised by either free software or cash payments. People who join the panel provide demographic information (their own and their household’s), before downloading a piece of software (the meter) which tracks visits on their device(s) to websites and apps. In the case of smart phones and tablets, the meter varies slightly by operating system but essentially the same principles are applied to measure browser and app usage across all devices.

With tagging, the onus lies with the media owner to implement the appropriate tags across all their digital properties. Different tags are required for websites, videos and apps.

Comscore methodology

This hybrid approach ensures that the limitations of any single approach are minimised. For example, all media measurement panels struggle to capture out-of-home usage and, in the case of the internet, tend to under-report the use of smaller or niche sites (the ‘long tail’) – but they do provide demographics. Tagging, on the other hand, ensures that all-location use is represented but it cannot yet deliver audience demographic data.

Crucially, this combination of metered panels and tagging also allows the de-duplication of visits by the same person from different browsers, devices and locations. Web analytics systems do not generally de-duplicate many of these single user, multiple visits. This is a key step in the production of audience-level data.

A more detailed summary of UKOM-Comscore product methodologies can be downloaded here: 
cS_UKOM methodology summary Apr_2018.ppt