We’ve covered the research of comScore regularly, particularly when it provides traffic and usage figures for digital music services and apps.
But its Achilles Heel has increasingly been the difficulty of tracking services across web, smartphone and tablet. Witness Vevo, which looked like it was getting less popular according to comScore’s stats, but which instead was seeing users shift to its mobile apps.
Now comScore has tried to tackle the problem with something called MMX Multi-Platform, which has been launched in beta to measure “multi-platform audience overlap”. In other words, it’s trying to provide “total digital population” figures for the US’ biggest websites and services, rather than just web or mobile. And yes, note that these stats are US-only.
Still, it’s interesting: as several music services are included in the new rankings. Pandora, for example, is listed as having 22.7m desktop users and 48.6m mobile/tablet users, for a total digital population of 57.7m.
That’s just ahead of Vevo, although comScore claims the music videos service only has 5m mobile/tablet users in the US, compared to its 55m desktop users and overall base of 57.7m people. Google tops the list with a digital population of 214.8m, out of a total US internet audience of 235m people.
Why is this important? Because gauging the popularity and growth of digital services in 2012 can only be done by measuring them across all these different platforms.
There are still holes in the methodology – for example something like Spotify with a desktop client (for now) falls through the cracks – and then there are devices like consoles, connected hi-fis, set-top boxes and smart TVs to contend with. But this is at least a step along the multi-platform measurement road.