Google’s Predicted Measurement Tool May Need Work

Google is expected to detail a new audience planning and measurement initiative today at an Advertising Research Foundation event in New York. The new platform’s capabilities are likely to include Web site audience measurement, as well as demographic tools that can compare audiences and make media planning recommendations based on an advertiser’s goals.

The anticipated news comes just three days after Google unveiled a new audience measurement service that leverages a range of data feeds, including Google Toolbar information and participating Google Analytics sites. That new offering, called Google Trends for Websites, may be part of the company’s announcement today.

However, if the robustness of that product is any indication, Google has some catching up to do before it can contend with the likes of comScore, Nielsen, Quantcast and Compete.

“There’s no direct comparison [to competing services],” said David Smith, CEO and president of media agency Mediasmith. “They’re doing daily unique visitors whereas most other resources look at monthly unique visitors.”

While he noted the traffic counts reported on Google Trends for Websites do match up to other services, Smith added, “They’ve got a long way to go versus a Quantcast, which gives demographic information.”

A larger question is whether marketers will want to source their audience data with the company that operates a major ad platform where that data will inform their ad purchasing decisions.

Quantcast CEO Konrad Feldman said the company’s independent measurement system should have important differences from Google’s platform. “Google controls an extensive data platform, and the market must ask the question if this new product is simply intended to help Google sell inventory and a broader set of controlled services.”

The new product may carry the name AdPlanner, according to a New York Times report late yesterday citing an unnamed source. That article said the offering would combine Web site audience data with searches and third-party data to pinpoint a Web site’s audience demographics.

Google declined to speak to ClickZ News about the impending announcement.

Google’s plans were trumpeted against the company’s wishes last week. In an e-mail and Web update to attendees and would-be attendees of ARF’s Measurement 3.0 conference, the group wrote, “Wayne Lin, Google Business Product Manager, will introduce Google’s latest initiative in Internet audience measurement.”

The posting was later removed.

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