Monday, 20 October 2008

I want new metrics!

Some time ago I read an article about a study performed by comScore with Tagoda and Starcom which documented that within the U.S market, 6% of the online population account for 50% of the clicks on display ads. Not a surprise that clicks are not balanced across all online users, really, since we all behave and respond differently to advertising in general.

However, problems for those of us who are not dedicated number crunchers do not stop there. I was looking at the weekly traffic statistics for the major Norwegian websites the other day, and noticed that the most visited site (www.vg.no) boasts a whopping three million "unique visitors" in one week. Given that we are a modest 4.8 million inhabitants in this country, and 84% uf us are online (SSB Statistics, Q2 2008), this means that VG.no should have an impressive 75% of us visiting their website if "unique visitor" was corresponding to an actual person. It may be because I'm not a keen reader of VG.no, but that does sound a bit inflated.

With a recession looming ahead of us it's fairly obvoius that marketers are going to be giving us a clear message about kindly giving them the utterly best return on their investments. For those of us who work with interactive media, we need to get some new tools to be able to compare not only how different online media perform (how much is a 'click' on a banner worth compared to a 'unique visitor' on a website? What is 12 pageviews compared to 12 minutes in an engaging Flash game?), but also how they compare to offline media.

Microsofts analytics department, The Atlas Institute, takes a plunge into the deep end and makes an attempt with "Engagement Mapping", which may indeed be taking us a few steps further.

Now that Joost is back in the game with their new in-browser player to compete with Hulu, I'm very interested to see if traditional TV metrics will be moving towards a new standard as well as internet metrics finding new ways to prove efficiency and effect. Not to mention Google TV Ads and the new overlay ads that are popping up on nearly every web TV player I've seen the last few months - what will they add to this conundrum?

Exciting times are ahead in this sea of numbers, but give me something more than clicks and unique visitors - I want effectiveness!

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