Earlier, I talked about the importance of measurement and of understanding your audience. This is perhaps even more important if you're looking to build a large online presence for the purpose of selling advertising. For that, Google Analytics won't cut it. To have a shot at securing higher-paying deals directly with brands, there's only one measurement that will matter: how you rank with a company called comScore.
comScore is an analytics and measurement company that is considered to be the gold standard of understanding your traffic and where your site fits into the vast online universe, both in general and with specific audiences. Chances are you've heard of a company called Nielsen, which measures the ratings for TV shows. Well, comScore is the equivalent on the Web. When you begin to talk to larger advertisers for higher-paying deals, virtually no conversation will be complete until someone asks you what your comScore ranking is. Yes, you'll need it to promote your site, get marketers excited about working with you, and land profitable deals. But unless you have a lot of cash at your disposal, getting your comScore ranking where it needs to be might be something you have to work toward. The rankings aren't public, and opening an account with them can cost tens of thousands of dollars for them to even think about you, with larger, more information-packed accounts running well into the six figures per year. As you grow, though, you'll likely see the value in the relationship, even with the high price. The information they provide can be an exceptionally useful sales tool.