AGOF coverage currency

The focus of the online coverage currency used in the AGOF internet facts study lies in the definition for coverage of an advertising medium as applicable in media and advertising research. It is defined as a proportion (percentage) of the population or another target group – be it individuals or households – who are or have been exposed to an advertising medium at a certain time or during a certain period of time.

The internet facts study has established the performance value Unique User. In order for the internet facts study to establish itself as a currency in the market and to be widely accepted today, it has to meet a number of requirements. From a media planning perspective, it must provide structure and reach data for a large part of relevant websites and their booking units. In addition, it must be “countable” within media planning tools so as to provide appropriate support in the creation of media plans.

The Unique User is the single online currency of AGOF

From a methodological point of view, certain quality criteria of empirical social research such as validity, reliability and representativeness of the results must be met. And for electronic media such as the Internet, adequate technical metrics were introduced as another important part of the method to meet the requirements of a fragmented use. Thus, the methodological basis of the internet facts is a three-pillar model to measure the usage (baseline survey), complemented by on-site surveys and population-representative telephone surveys.

Method: The Three-Pillar Model

The three basic modules have the following functions:

A purely technical measuring system enabling a comprehensive survey of all contacts with online advertising media offers in Germany taking part in the study also includes the collection of learned values such as visits or page impressions based on each individual browser and its Internet usage. Such browsers are referred to as Unique Clients.

While in technical measuring systems the basic population is referred to as Unique Clients, an on-site survey helps to generate information on the users behind the browsers. The basic population includes Internet users from the age of 10 years. In an on-site survey, the focus is on information on descriptive socio-demographic values as well as information on the end device and various browsers. The Unique User currency is based on the basic population in Germany from the age of 10 years.

With the aid of representative telephone surveys, the relationship between Internet users and the population as a whole is established: here, basic data on Internet use are collected to establish the relationship between Internet users and the population as a whole.

The combination of all three pillars allows for a reliable and detailed analysis of reach and structure data of online media offerings. For this purpose, the three pillars come together in an innovative procedure. The most important innovation in the market that was introduced with the internet facts is the conversion of Unique Clients into Unique Users, i.e. the users behind the computer screens. Unique Clients are not transferable to individuals one to one, although single users (the individual uses only one end device and one browser all by him- or herself, thus making a Unique Client a Unique User) make up for a large part of Internet users. However, there are also computers or browsers that are operated by various users, so-called Multi Users. And then there are clients that only make up part of the total Internet use of one individual, since he or she uses different computers – at home or at work, for instance – and/or different browsers to go online, so-called Multi Client Users. The definition of Multi Client Users was adapted in 2010 according to the changed reality of use: since the publication of the internet facts 2010-I, a Multi Client User is someone who uses the Internet from more than one location and/or uses more than one browser per computer to go online (creation of a Multi Client User by combining up to four clients, i.e. computers or browsers). The proportion of Multi Client Users in the internet facts study has thus increased from previously 37 per cent to approx. 75 per cent. In order to convert Unique Clients to Unique Users you have to first determine Multi User, Multi Client and Single User profiles using the data from the first and second pillar.

In a second step, the data from the technical analyses (traffic statistics using the scalable central measuring method; SCM) need to be combined with additional data from the on-site survey. For that purpose, a combined dynamic profiling and modelling procedure for so-called dynamic micro-clusters is used for profiling to create ideal-typical user profiles from technical metrics and data collected in the online survey. According to the identity or similarity principle, the socio-demographic data of each ideal-typical user are then projected or forecasted to those users only providing their actual online behaviour based on technical metrics corresponding to one of the ideal-typical users.

By this means, missing socio-demographic data can be completed to generate a full user profile (modelling). The conversion from Unique Clients to Unique Users is now complete. To apply the existing information to German-speaking Internet users from the age of 10 years in Germany or to the total population, a representative telephone survey with a large sample size is carried out. The telephone survey serves to accomplish the followings tasks: first, to define and describe the total of German-speaking Internet users; second, to collect data of the non-Internet audience; and third, to collect descriptive information, which is required to create target groups. Apart from extensive socio-demographic data this also includes data on markets and the industry as well as information about the respondents’ opinions. The countable data of the internet facts, i.e. the media planning file, is created by merging the technical data with the representative survey followed by further processing to use the data within the framework of the evaluation and planning tool TOP.


To this end, the following metrics are taken:

  • Aggregation of codes and contacts per day to exactly match the months and weeks
  • Adjustment of all contacts from data set II to the target of the IVW-certified technical metrics
  • Storing of usage probabilities per user and booking unit

For the first time in the history of online and advertising media research, the innovative multi-method approach of the internet facts allows for user descriptive data for booking units. The booking unit is defined as a unit connected to certain advertising formats for one or more advertising media. Booking units can be complete online offers, parts of online offers or a combination of several online offers or parts thereof. Furthermore, by combining technical metrics and survey data and enabling flexible adjustments to dynamic changes in the online market, the three-pillar model of the internet facts meets all requirements of a market standard, which did not exist until the introduction of the internet facts.

With the publication of the AGOF internet facts 2005-II in autumn 2005, media data in the form of structure and reach data as well as market data of websites and booking units were made available for the first time. Together, they make up for a market media study representative of the online advertising market offering a hitherto unique differentiation. AGOF continues on this path of success: today, the internet facts are published on a monthly basis, including structure and reach data of more than 700 advertising media. All information on the latest study is available here.

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