There is an interesting piece in the NY Times today on the problem of web analytics. Briefly, the web might allow for radical transparency of authorial intention, statistical reports and click counting… but when you try to hammer down the attention value of individuals using or viewing web pages, it gets very murky.
This won’t get better until advertisers realize that performance is a much more accurate thing to measure than interaction or eyeball interaction.
But far from solving the squishy-numbers problem, the Internet seems to have added more confusion. Many advertisers pay Web publishers each time their ad gets an impression, meaning that it is viewed by a reader, but each company uses its own methodology to count impressions.
“One of them can be right, or the other one is right, but they can’t all be right,” said Jack Wakshlag, chief research officer at Turner Broadcasting System. “It’s interesting that people keep talking about it as much more accountable than other media, but we’re not finding that to be the case yet because there’s no agreement on metrics or accounting methods.”