More Calls For Web Traffic Audits

from the follow-the-money dept

There have been some questions raised in the past about just how reliable the traffic and user stats thrown around by plenty of web sites are, and as ad dollars have flowed online, there’s a growing interest among marketers in verifying those stats. Besides sites having good reasons to inflate their figures, there are other issues: for instance, there are plenty of different ways to count traffic (such as unique visitors vs. page views), and different stats packages often report very different numbers. Even the third-party measurement services that many companies use can’t agree on traffic levels, so the Interactive Advertising Bureau is asking comScore and Nielsen/NetRatings to submit to outside audits of their services and methods, so publishers have a more transparent view of how the companies count their audience. The IAB’s president notes that the companies have resisted calls for such an audit since 1999, so he understands he’s facing an uphill battle. But with publishers wanting more transparency so they can be assured their audience isn’t being undercounted, and advertisers demanding more transparency to be sure that audience isn’t overcounted, it’s likely that something will have to give. The amount of money flowing into online advertising makes it a certainty that better and more accurate traffic stats will emerge, whether from comScore and Nielsen/NetRatings, or other, more willing providers — particularly since a number of large advertisers have set a deadline of 2008 for sites on which they buy ads to have their ad impressions audited by a third party.


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Comments on “More Calls For Web Traffic Audits”

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7 Comments
moe says:

Fark/Drudge is a good example

A year or so ago Drew Curtis, found of Fark.com, was interested in how The Drudge Report generated so much web traffic compared to Fark.com. Both were counting page views, but he noticed that the Drudge Report website auto-refreshed the page every “x” seconds, whereas Fark.com did not.

So, Drew added an auto-refresh to the Fark.com site and lo and behold, the traffic skyrocketed.

RandomThoughts (user link) says:

Numbers by themselves don’t really matter. If I have a highly targeted audience, my market will be smaller. If I am a CPG advertiser with broad appeal, I will have a larger market.

Big numbers by themselves don’t really matter, its how many in the target audience that really matter.

I would rather have 1,000 targeted visitors that I am really trying to reach than 1 million visitors outside my target audience.

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