Panel-based vs. cookie-based user data

Interesting news yesterday in the WSJ and the Silicon Alley Insider about Google moving in on ComScore’s and Nielsen’s terf. With Google having their hands in Google Analytics and all of its user data from search, it’s no wonder that they are offering a new product – Ad Planner – which is currently open to beta users by invite only.

The need for tools measuring online audiences is very clear. Server side data often reports that sites get double the traffic that ComScore and Nielsen//NetRatings report, both of which use panel-based data and then extrapolate the data and percentages onto the overall population. But does that work for the web as it did with offline (non-measurable) media? The only reason why the media industry keeps using ComScore and Nielsen’s NetRatings was because there weren’t other good options….until Quantcast came along (also in beta) and now Google’s Ad Planner. Let’s see what unfolds and which tool – Quantcast or Ad Planner – will become more popular. And will agencies want to or trust a research tool from one of their largest media providers?

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