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If Rediff Is Number 5 on Komli’s Vizisense, Will They Validate It?

Komli Media has launched Vizisense, an online audience measurement system. Comscore, despite its reported inaccuracy and lack trasparency of its methodology, is an accepted audience measurement system in India, and IMRB International is also planning to launch their own audience measurement system in the next few months. Both of these systems are likely to be paid, so what’s really interesting is the fact that Komli has decided to make Vizisense available for free.

We spoke to Amar Goel, CEO of Komli, who told us that Vizisense is using three levels of data sources:
— Panel: they’re tracking the Internet usage of over 10,000 users
— Analytics: statistics from the websites which install the analytics
— Census Data: from the Indian census, in order to help triangulate findings

Now this data can be mutually exclusive, since not all publishers may be using Komli’s data tracker – but Goel said that they can still make valuable conclusions about websites based on consumer behaviour – for example, “Lets’s say you go to a site that is 90% male, and another site which is 90% male…we can conclude with some probability that you’re male.”

The data is available publically as well…search for a site here for its audience data.

The Differentiator: Demographic Data

Komli is thus providing publishers with key demographic data like Gender, Age, Income, Education level and Marital Status, apart from the usual stats which something like a Google Analytics or Piwik may offer. Mind you, no two statistics packages give the exact same information either. Satish Kadu, VP (Product Development) told MediaNama that Komli is planning to expand the sample base to 100,000 within a few weeks.

According to Goel, users have agreed to download a software on their desktop, and anonymously share their surfing habits. Komli will verify their demographic data using contest forms, or asking them to share inputs on a regular basis. The users were recruited using online marketing. Komli expects publishers to adopt Vizisense because it gives them additional information from this panel.

Accurate Data?

It’s important here to keep in mind that the demographic mix of the panel will have a significant impact on the data available to publishers. More than horizontals, demographic mix has a significant impact on niche portals. I spoke at length with Kadu, to get a better understanding of how this demographic mix is defined. He said that this is an iterative process, and the data will improve with time. They’re doing the maximum to ensure more accuracy:

1. Bigger sample – Planning to expand the panel size from between 10-15,000 to between 100,000 50,000-100,000 in a few weeks
2. Targeting varied audiences for the panel signups for a well diversified sample
3. Removing the self selection bias, by triangulation of information from the panel data, actual publisher data
4. Using advanced techiques like Monte Carlo simulation, for multiple randomly picked up test samples.

Some Hurdles
1. Acceptance from larger publishers: Rediff claims to be number one in India, according to Comscore. At the same time, many other publishers have told us that their own Comscore information does not tally with their internal statistics. Yet, listed entities like Info Edge (disclosure: I own shares of Info Edge) and Rediff continue to cite Comscore in their earnings reports because it is an accepted and independent third party measurement system…The problem that Komli will face is – larger publishers will accept the information if they rank high, else they’ll reject it. So will Rediff accept being ranked Number 5 in India, when Comscore ranks them as Number 1? Not likely. Kadu responded, saying that Vizisense is not positioned to be a ratings system. (I wonder why they’ve got rankings then…)
In that context, the key to the acceptance of Vizisense then lies with smaller publishers who haven’t bought Comscores paid services, and the media planners who will probably use Vizisense for demographic inputs on sites – at present they use everything from Alexa, Google Ad Planner, Compete, and inputs from publishers.
2. Publishers Want Ambiguity: Not all publishers will want to share exact statistics with advertisers and media planners. While traffic data is key to monetization, it is competitive information, and they would prefer some ambiguity to remain. According to Kadu, “we believe that this information is of clear benefit to publishers, since it will be used to reach out to media planners and advertisers, and it acts as a part of their media kit. At the same time, we’re considering mechanisms to incorporate privacy.”*

Apart from the demographic information that we’ve mentioned above, Vizisense has two other differentiators – that they could soon be measuring information from 100,000 50,000-100,000 users, and the fact that it is free.
IMRB International will most certainly have to rethink their strategy, but at the end of the day, it boils down to what the media buyers accept as the norm.

Update: Kadu had told MediaNama 4-5 times that Komli is targeting a panel of 100,000 users. Komli Media has since written in asking for that number to be changed to 50,000-100,000 users, with the following explanation: “Komli would like to have as many panelists as possible, but is targeting a minimum range of 50,000 to 100,000, which is deemed sufficient for its statistical uses.” We’ve updated the post accordingly.

Update 2: Alok Kejriwal, CEO of Games2Win points out in the comments to this post – there is a fundamental defect in the Vizisense business model in the sense that the want websites to place ad codes on their sites to track the same!

how can anyone believe reports when web site owners have the ability to manipulate the same?

globally, the best practice is to maintain external panels like comScore who measure traffic and demographics and sychographice by inference of the panel baheviour – NOT INFLUENCED by what the website wants!

i had asked the very same question to the 3 folks of Vizisense almost 3 weeks back and i am still awaiting their reply!

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