comScore and Nielsen Online Use Different Methodologies to Measure Internet Traffic

comScore and Nielsen Online are the two major internet information sources who monitor the activities and trends online. They release reports and statistics on Internet and search engines trends such as search engines market shares on monthly basis. Though they release statistics on the same topic for the same time period, the numbers vary in most of the cases. The reason for this is comScore and Nielsen use different measurement techniques and consider different aspects, while gauging the web traffic.

The following differences are sited in the recent reports on search engines market share released by both comScore and Nielsen at the same period of time-

  • The growth rate of the market share of Google is 3% from March, 08 according to comScore, but according to Nielsen, it is 5.6%.
  • According to Nielsen Yahoo! search engine market share is 17.5%, but according to comScore it is 20.30%.
  • According to comScore, an estimated 10.6 billion searches are conducted at the core search engines, but Nielsen said that it is 8.2 billion.
  • Different methodologies adopted by these Internet research companies to gauge the internet traffic is the main reason for the above inconsistency. These methodologies are explained below.

comScore uses three types of measurement techniques, they are –

  • Serverlogs, which register users based on webpage requests and over count users who return to the website from different PC or delete their cookies.
  • Survey based commerce measurement. This captures the user attitude, interests and other important variables.
  • Clickstream data technique, which passes the page view activity to control server.

Nielsen uses the following techniques to measure Internet traffic-

  • Panel-based measurement, which estimates the site audiences based on tracking the activities of a sample of users.
  • Proprietary tracking and granular measurement processes.
  • Excludes spiders, bots and other Web crawling technologies, which might otherwise be counted as page views or visitors on a company server log.

Apart from the above methodology differences, we can observe two more fundamental differences between comScore and Nielsen-

  • comScore considers only top 5 search engines, where as Nielsen considers all the search engines for the measurement of web traffic.
  • comScore also counts repeated visitors to the web pages, where as Nielsen doesn’t considers.

comScore and Nielsen Online provide information to cater the needs of various businesses. Though the information provided is different, it is the businesses to choose, which is most relevant, suitable and helpful in the decision making process.

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