Comscore buys M:Metrics

An web strategy/analyst friend asked on Twitter what I thought of this afternoon’s news that Comscore had purchased M:Metrics.

In more than three years I’ve been doing mobile, M:Metrics has been invaluable for industry usage statistics to give me information in the US and worldwide for facts and figures like what percentage of US subscribers have sent a text message in the last month, or how many have a full keyboard. Their ~120 customers have been large players in the mobile space including mostly carriers and handset manufactures, perhaps some entertainment heavyweights selling ringtones and games in mobile.

According to M:Metrics, of 226 million US subscribers, only 13.5% Accessed news/info via browser in February 2008. They’ve stopped publicly releasing the percentage who text each month, but it’s likely more than 50% at this point. For comparison, they indicate that over 20% play a downloaded game or send/receive a photo.

Thus, smart mobile marketing has included the more common modes to be able to reach as many handsets as possible: voice, text, ringtones, etc., and the best often give users options with one or more.

Mobile web still has limited reach.

Still, M:Metrics recognized the growing buzz around mobile advertising, and thus mobile web, adding products in this market outside what was previously its core anticipating the market.

It seems like more buzz, more startups and more investment has been shifting this way. learly the move paid off for M:Metrics in terms of an acquisition. Comscore is likely in a much better position to sell those services than M:Metrics was.

So is this smart buzz and a smart move for Comscore?

Comscore focuses on web metrics. They want M:Metrics for mobile web metrics.

Honestly, I’m not sure what it would have cost Comscore to build out the mobile web piece it’s buying in M:Metrics. I suspect it might be cheaper to build much of that technology than to integrate it, but I’m just not familiar with the details.

As well, I believe the majority of M:Metrics revenues have come from the rest of its business. I wonder what will come of that part of the business with the Comscore acquisition.

Anyway, back to the mobile web, and mobile advertising.

M:Metrics reports that “smartphone users to spend an average of four hours and thirty-eight minutes per month browsing the mobile Web in the United States.” It seems inevitable that devices and networks will add more capabilities and speed so that the mobile web becomes usable for most mobile subscribers, so that 13.5% number should go through the roof, right? And mobile advertising should go through the roof with it just like the buzz says?

My thoughts on this will have to wait for a later post…

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