GroundTruth Emerges to Challenge comScore

The mobile analytics segment is starting to mature and rapidly becoming more competitive. M:Metrics has been arguably the strongest player in the segment for the past few years. The company was acquired by comScore in May, 2008. Since that time new players such as Pinch Media and Flurry have arisen, among others, to measure the smartphone apps marketplaces. These two firms merged in December.

But there are a slew of others out there trying to help marketers gauge where to place their mobile ad dollars. Today a company called "GroundTruth," based in Seattle and founded by one of the co-founders of Medio Systems, Michael Libes, emerged from "stealth mode."

According to the release out today:

To date, estimates of Mobile Internet traffic have varied markedly, making decisions difficult for publishers and advertisers.  Publishers have been unable to validate their audiences or use the information to understand their competitors.  Advertisers have struggled to justify media buys or effectively evaluate mobile marketing campaigns.

Ground Truth data comes directly from mobile operators and other data providers to report aggregate mobile data usage, on any visited mobile site.  What the company has found using this superior methodology dispels many commonly held beliefs about how consumers interact with the Mobile Internet. 

The company argues by implication that its analytics are much more accurate than competitors (read: comScore). GroundTruth is getting its data mostly from mobile carriers (probably by paying for it or cutting some sort of barter deal). The company received $2.6 million in venture capital funding to date. And GroundTruth's data set consists of 2.5 million mobile users.

As a teaser GroundTruth put out "Top 10 Mobile Web Sites"* for the first week of 2010 (January 4-10, 2010)
(Ranked by total Page Views)

  1. MySpace
  2. Facebook
  3. Google
  4. Mocospace
  5. FunForMobile
  6. AirG
  7. Yahoo!
  8. Cellufun
  9. Mbuzzy
  10. Myxer

*Not including pages served by operator portals

This is very different, for example, than Nielsen's Top Mobile Sites list for most of 2009:

  1. Google Search
  2. Yahoo! Mail
  3. Gmail
  4. Weather Channel
  5. Facebook
  6. MSN Hotmail
  7. Google Maps
  8. ESPN
  9. AOL Email
  10. CNN News 

Libes told Moconews some other observations about the market, based on its data:

  • Ad mob is/was the largest mobile ad network "by far." Quattro was/is number two
  • Most of the top-10 mobile sites (see list above) are mobile only sites
  • 64% of all mobile page views are for social networks
  • Carrier decks have about 10% of all internet page views

I'm actually skeptical of the top 10 list provided by GroundTruth. I assume this list is "everyone" and not simply smartphones or feature phones. I'm eager to talk to the firm about its methodology.

As popular as MySpace remains, I'm doubtful that it's truly the most visited mobile website. And while Mocospace has been around for some time, I'm also skeptical that it actually ranks as well as the GroundTruth list argues.

Consider the following list from Opera for November, 2009, which is based on actual usage rather than survey data: 

 Picture 131

Regardless, GroundTruth is a potentially strong and direct challenger to comScore (and Nielsen) because of its claims of greater accuracy and methodology based on actual usage and behavior rather than sampling or surveys.