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Real Opinions interviewed by mediaME about Effective Measure


1st May 2009, Dubai

1. Kindly introduce yourself and your company.
Full service market research and leading digital research company Real Opinions. We have offices in Dubai and London. We comprise of former Nielsen Online (nee Nielsen//NetRatings), TNS and GfK (nee NOP) senior executives who have an intimate knowledge of not only the Middle East but also the global digital research industry accumulated over more than 10 years. Real Opinions was established after viewing the growing impersonalised approach and inability of global organisations to keep pace with new technologies and approaches to benefit clients. What appears to be happening in the website measurement industry (and in the Middle East in particular) is that global companies are trying to squeeze as much revenue from their products which were developed years ago. With the passing of years, flaws in some of these approaches have opened up like a gaping wound and this has presented opportunity for us to take the lead not only in the Middle East but globally. We see innovation as being integral for our organisation and the industry. The Internet favours those who are quick and innovative, not big brands who aren't performing.
2. Tell us about Real Opinions latest initiative, Effective Measure. Kindly describe how it works.
Real Opinions latest initiative is called Effective Measure. It offers unprecedented accuracy in the measurement and understanding of website visitors to give Internet advertisers the confidence to advertise on websites and also help websites to understand who their visitors are to improve the user experience and loyalty. To do this, websites simply register for the free 2 month trial at and install our tag code on their website pages. We then automatically collect the actual behaviour of website visitors such as pages visited, length of time on each one and when they return to the website. We then fuse this data with an in depth survey which discretely appears at the bottom right corner of their browser as a random visitor interception of 1 in 10 visitors every day tracking throughout the year for those who have not filled in the survey before. This survey allows us to profile visitors in terms of their demographics, personality, values, attitudes, interests, lifestyle and purchase intent. Websites can also add some of their own unique questions, such as opinions on their website. All this information can be accessed and analysed in our interactive online reporting interface which allows websites to view all the data and survey results in full, while Internet media buyers and advertisers can identify their target market and see how to efficiently reach them across all the websites involved and maximise the impact of their Internet advertising budgets.

We believe Effective Measure's single most important feature is what we're calling 'Digital Helix'. This solves the issue of over calculation of unique website visitors (often called unique browsers for those in the industry) caused by visitors deleting their cookies which are small pieces of text stored on a user's computer by a web browser which contain the user's settings or other data used by websites to identify them. For example, if someone visited a website in the morning they would be recorded as 1 visitor. If their cookie was deleted at lunch time (either by themselves, anti-virus software or automatically by their browser) and visited the same website again in the afternoon, then a competing audience measurement system would calculate this person as 2 unique visitors. Our 'Digital Helix' has a global patent pending on a solution which acts as a bridge to identify this person as a returning visitor. To better understand the magnitude of this, Nielsen Online (nee Nielsen//NetRatings) reported back in 2005 about the impact this is having upon accurate calculations. We believe this issue has escalated greatly since then and to back this up a recent survey we conducted and presented at the AME Info Digital Marketing Conference 2009 with business people in the Middle East showed that over 60% delete their cookies on at least a monthly basis. This means, some websites reporting visitors on a monthly basis could be overestimating their figures by over 60% for this target group. On the plus side, these websites have a higher level of returning visitors, but for Internet advertisers this has a huge impact on the number of people seeing their Internet campaign and the impact it is having.

3. In your opinion, how critical is such information to digital media buyers in the Middle East? How have agencies responded?
Support has been tremendous. We have involved the leading Internet media buyers right from the start by hosting round table discussions and forums to help evolve Effective Measure to meet their precise requirements and to ensure it becomes an integral part of their website advertising selection process. One of the issues agencies had was the inability to consider hundreds of websites and compare them against each other accurately. Effective Measure solves this and also allows them to identify what combination of websites to select in order to increase the number of people campaigns reach and reduce the overlap of audiences across them (i.e. reaching the same people on different websites). They see Effective Measure as validating their Internet media buying plans for their advertising clients which is paramount in these economic times. At the end of the day, agencies are dedicated to helping their clients reach their objectives and rightly so. We believe the accuracy and transparency provided by Effective Measure will actually help grow the popularity of Internet advertising with advertisers and we will also be approaching advertisers to help educate them about the benefits of Internet advertising and Effective Measure. We will also be conducting training sessions with Internet media buyers to ensure they make the most of Effective Measure's features. With our innovation hats on, we are already developing a post campaign evaluation tool and we will be making further announcements in the coming months. We are encouraging all Internet media buyers to use Effective Measure by giving them access to it for free.

4. How appealing is this service to online publishers? Tell us about the levels of response and cooperation you have had so far, and the levels of awareness.

If online publishers have ever experienced the feeling of being invisible in terms of attracting Internet advertising, then Effective Measure will ensure they will be seen by automatically including them in the list of websites media buyers are evaluating for advertising. Instead of spending valuable time showing how unique and valuable their website visitors are in credentials, media buyers will be able to see this for themselves tracked every minute of the day throughout the year rather than view the traditional stagnant presentation of an audit conducted months ago. We are also working with ABC Electronic (ABCe) and have been made an associate to ensure users have complete confidence in Effective Measure from this third party.

In addition websites are able to monitor how their visitors change over time in not only actual behaviour but also who they are and their experience to help evaluate what they should continue doing more of or change. As an example, if a website is changing content, design or their marketing, then this can be tracked and correlated with results in Effective Measure for their website. Effective Measure also allows them to compare their website to others and we believe this transparency will help websites to diversify themselves and become more user centric. Overall, participating websites and the industry should benefit enormously.

5. Do you foresee any issues with online publishers who may resist this measurement initiative? Have you received any comments or concerns in this regard?
Take the scenario that a website had previously been audited for a month in a time period they know their website visitors would be high and they also focused their marketing effort to drive visitors during this time period which wasn't sustainable for the other 11 months of the year. If they then marketed these results in the marketplace then I could see there would certainly be resistance on their part to be involved with Effective Measure. Like others we have talked to in the industry, the uniqueness of the Internet isn't about how many, but who in particular is visiting your website to enable advertisers to develop target campaigns to increase their effectiveness. Effective Measure allows all websites to be involved and show how unique each one is. Advertisers and media buyers will have the final assessment on which websites to advertise on and Effective Measure is there to help with this process.

6. This is the first year you offer the Effective Measure service. What would be a reasonable target, or market coverage percentage, that you would like to achieve to become the industry standard?

To help Effective Measure to be an industry standard, we will be educating the marketplace on its unique benefits by conducting regular training and insight forums for all those involved to make the most of it. We have over 100 websites participating in the trial in the Middle East alone and we will be making some announcements in the coming weeks of the websites involved with their feedback on the trial.

7. Anything else you would like to add?
We would like to invite all interested parties to visit our website for news on our upcoming forum in Dubai where we will be releasing the results of our trial and encourage online publishers, Internet media buyers and advertisers to interact with each other to help further the industry. For websites who would like to participate in the 2 month free trial, then they can register at

About Real Opinions
Real Opinions is a full-service market research company, specialising in online media, with global and Middle East research expertise and best practice. Based in Dubai and London, Real Opinions has proven ability to help strategically guide communication, insight and assess the effectiveness of campaigns.

Real Opinions is an accredited member of ESOMAR, an international organisation for market research. For more information about us and Effective Measure, please visit

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