It is not surprising that over those 14 years, with changes in the internet, the research methodologies have changed too and so we have selected the 10 most frequently asked questions about our services to reply to – TOP10 FAQ:
1. What cookies are included in data calculation?
Since the arrival of Gemius in Lithuania, the data statistics includes all cookies* from Lithuania that have passed cookie filtering (not Bot, iFrame or etc.) and that were active (made at least one page on the surveyed website) during the research period.
*Since 2016, the so called “next-generation” cookies have been used (Browser ID cookie [BID]).
2. Do several Gemius codes embedded in the website affect the real user count?
According to the rules for the gemiusAudience research, the tracking code must be embedded in a website only once. Where due to certain reasons the tracking code is embedded several times our system accepts only the first hit and ignores all the rest. As a result, additionally embedded tracking codes do not generate new cookies and the page views generated by such tracking codes are not included in the research.
3. Why the Gemius methodology tends to change from time to time?
In order to keep the quality of internet traffic measurement, changes in methodology are an integral part of the research.
“In this era of the Internet of Things (IoT) where the internet continues to develop rapidly, the emergence of each new platform in many cases cannot be counted using the existing data collection methods. So mobile applications, reader-friendly environments, advertising bypass tools and other technologies usually require a new measurement concept or a supplement to the current methodology," Lukas Vinkler, Gemius Business Development Manager (Audience Solutions), said.
4. Why do numbers change after the methodology update?
Methodology updates are developed on a regular basis, but not all of them have a significant impact on the research figures. We are presently using the most recent methodological solutions and these allow us to measure website traffic as accurately as possible. However, with changes in consumer habits and technology, there is need for greater methodological developments that may comprise several significant changes at the same time.
“Such cases are however infrequent. I recall two such situations – one of them 5 years ago where due to the increased traffic from mobile devices we divided the traffic into three separate platforms – computers, phones and tablets (multiplatform); second, early last year we introduced the gemiusOvernight solution that combines several methodological updates in response to the increase of mobile applications, Facebook domination, difference in internet browsing of users at home and at work and several other factors. Such complex methodological changes will affect the research data, but this is the only way we can ensure the accuracy of the gemiusAudience results," Gryta Balserytė, Gemius Business Development Director (Audience/JIC), said.
5. What has changed since the introduction of gemiusOvernight?
The main and the most important change of the gemiusOvernight methodology was the possibility to monitor and analyze daily data. With the introduction of the methodology, the updates implemented allow us to calculate the traffic of mobile devices, applications and computers more precisely; the division of the traffic into sections was updated, and we started to treat the Facebook as a browser. Following the introduction of gemiusOvernight, the total socio-demographic profile of internet users became available (previously it was only available for each individual platform). In addition, improvements were made to research data access and analysis tools, and at the same time the new publicly accessible platform rating.gemius.com was launched.
6. What is Facebook Instant Articles (FB IA), how is this traffic counted in the gemiusAudience research and why are FB IA cookies duplicated?
Instant Articles (IA) is the function for faster upload of the media content on the Facebook application. As in the case of each new traffic channel, Gemius has developed and introduced to the market a solution for measuring traffic based on official FB documentation. The documents state that a cookie within the FB IA environment coincides with the cookie of the FB in-app browser, but, it later transpired that individual cookies are created separately for each of these environments. This means that there is a duplication of cookies in the websites that use the FB IA function for placing content and this affects the number of Real Users of such websites. Once this had been confirmed, in order to avoid a negative impact on the research data, it was decided to treat the IA FB traffic as a non-cookie and to include only those metrics in the research which were not affected by the cookie duplication (presently it is page views and time share).
“So far I don’t know a single research company that could offer a technological solution that would both measure the FB IA traffic and count the duplication between FB IA and FB in-app users accurately. This is because Facebook is a closed ecosystem (walled garden), which is not open to cooperation with the third parties, including companies that wish to carry out measurements. Therefore, this becomes a big challenge to companies conducting research/surveys, because they have to act singlehandedly. Despite this, we continue to work on a solution development,” Ms Balserytė said.
7. How is the Time Share-Internet metric calculated?
Time Share-Internet is calculated by comparing the time spent in a specific website with the total time spent of all internet users in the surveyed websites.
8. How do the actions of third parties affect the research results and what does Gemius do to reduce this influence on the data?
All internet players directly depend on the operation of third parties irrespective of whether it is a news portal, a technology supplier, a browser developer, a global internet platform or a research/survey company. Our measurement technology and research methodology must adapt to new platforms and technology and to changes in consumer behavior. In some cases, changes can be anticipated and it is not difficult to prepare for them, but sometimes third parties perform updates in a day without warning. In such cases, it may be difficult or even impossible to adapt quickly or to remedy the damage. In fact if we look at the Facebook Instant Articles situation, there are also cases where the information provided by third parties does not match reality.
“Research companies often come across situations where the upgrades or changes by third parties are not communicated publicly, as a result, you can only act retrospectively. Despite this, Gemius continues to monitor potential threats and to develop new methodologies to counteract this as soon as possible,” Vinkler said.
9. Is Gemius getting ready for the potential death of cookies of third parties?
According to Ms Balserytė, “We know that the day will come when third party cookies and other third-party web browser identifiers will become extinct. This will essentially change the internet measurement world. In fact, this is already happening: the Firefox browser version updated at the beginning of September started blocking third party cookies. With changes by Firefox, our Real User algorithm adjusted itself because it had already been upgraded a few years ago in order to adapt to the “non-cookie” traffic, so there was no major impact on the data. Will other browsers (e.g. Chrome) continue this trend – I believe so and for this reason Gemius has been working on a solution for some time which has shown positive results. This confirms that we are moving in the right direction and after the disappearance of third party cookies, the gemiusAudience research will not disappear,” Gryta said.
10. What are Gemius’ future plans in Lithuania?
In the nearest future it is planned to supplement the gemiusAudience research in Lithuania with Fusion data for which the NetPanel plug-in is used. This plug-in records the behavior of the panelist (the person who has installed the plug-in in his computer browser) on the internet. Fusion will allow us to provide data about all websites, including such giants as Google, Facebook or Youtube, visited by Lithuanian internet users. This tool will show duplication between Lithuanian internet websites and other websites (e.g. social network, banks or leisure websites) and will allow their socio-demographic profiles to be analyzed.
“We hope that Lithuania will be the tenth country where it will be possible to analyze the behavior of internet users and the time spent on all websites. We plan to supplement the gemiusAudience research with Fusion data before the end of the year. In the Baltics, such data on internet users has been available in Latvia since the summer. Fusion is a very important step in the further development of internet research in Lithuania, for example, for the introduction of a product such as gemiusAdReal to the market, which will make it possible to analyze advertising activities of all brands, accessibility of campaigns and duplication between different platforms," Inga Cimolonskaitė, Country Manager of Lithuania at Gemius, said.
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