TNS purchases Compete Inc.

Yesterday, TNS announced that they are to purchase Compete Inc, the digital intelligence company, for $75m. I think this is a great purchase, and potentially at a great price for TNS.

Being as Compete only operate in the US, I have no real knowledge on their competitiveness in relation to Nielsen Net Ratings, Comscore and the like. Given their single-country operations, I am guessing that they wouldn’t be near the forefront in the race towards a unified online measurement system, but that is just a guess.

This acquisition changes their scope. Not only can they continue to provide clickstream data and web traffic, but the data can be combined with other TNS sources for a fuller media picture – the holy grail, as the Compete blog calls it. Imagine the possibilities if Compete is rolled out internationally:

  • Ad hoc surveys when users leave a certain site (within a certain timeframe??)
  • Combining with Worldpanel data, so you can see if someone visits a website one day and purchases a product the following
  • Passive exposure of different forms of online advertising linked into purchase
  • Relationships between online and offline purchases
  • Combination of online viewing behaviour with traditional TV viewing figures (TNS have won the UK contract)
  • Measuring whether TV ad exposure leads to an online call to action (and if so, how quickly)
  • Integration of Compete into a  personal people meter for complete measurement (there is space in the market now the Arbitron Apollo is on hold)
  • Pre and post wave awareness and attitude studies linked together with clickstream data, to measure claimed versus actual behaviour

And those are just off the top of my head. Though if the same respondents were having their clickstream data analysed, logging into their remote before watching TV carrying personal people meters and scanning their shopping, you would have to question both their representativeness and their sanity. 

As a final note, Compete are renowned for providing a lot of data for free. From my experience with TNS, they operate at the pricier end of the scale. Here’s hoping that the Compete pricing structure will win out.

sk

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