This is going to be one of those posts that might make you yawn or scratch your head or both. However, if you’ll try and stick with me for a bit, maybe it will make you think a bit as well.Today’s topic is web analytics (I hear pages being closed all over the web). I know – not exactly dynamic stuff for most of you (I happen to like it) but it’s the currency that makes the commercial part of the web go so it’s kind of a big deal. comScore announced today that they are changing their methodology to try and integrate server side data (stuff your site measures as it operates) with panel data (stuff comScore measures through its own panel of surfers). The details are here. Why should you care?
- It has an impact of which sites get bought by advertisers, thereby keeping web content free and available;
- It has an impact on buzz – highly trafficked sites often show up in rankings and that creates more traffic;
- It has an impact of which sites get funded – good traffic drives revenue which drives investors’ interest;
- It drives bragging rights – everyone wants to be able to say they’re in the top whatever of something (this is true of ALL media). This last fact is so important that I’ve heard (ahem) of people making up numbers or slicing their demo and/or business category so thin you could read the rating book through it.
The issue is that despite the web being way more measurable than TV or radio, nothing out there today is totally accurate. I’m not going to bore you with a discussion of why not, but suffice it to say that what comScore is doing is a step in the right direction. Web logs will give you different data than browser-based data which is different from panel data yet we tend to treat each as if they’re gospel. Multiple methods provide better accuracy in my mind. More importantly, I applaud them for not “sitting pat” and explaining how the numbers they issue each month are infallible (hear that, Nielsen?). Braggin’ rights may not be a big deal per se but accurate business reporting is.
What method of reporting do you use? Have you had any issues? Do you think this is a step forward?
One response to “Braggin’ Rights”
I think it’s about time they started changing their methodology. This is a step in the right direction. The others need to follow and work toward a more accurate solution.