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Site Metrics, Statistics and Analytics
by Enrique De
For 55 years Nielsen Media Research
has been meticulously measuring the habits of TV viewers in many
countries of the world, for the benefit of advertisers that want
to place ads on TV. But now that entertainment in the form of TV,
music, and videos are appearing online in our computers, Nielsen
doesn't dominate the business of counting website viewers. There
are close to 100 companies battling it out online to become the
Nielsen of the Web. The competition is intense in Internet.
In the TV Ratings field, in which networks battle for the most
viewers, Nielsen holds a monopoly as the official scorekeeper.
But on the Internet, Nielsen is right there in competition with
names like comScore, Hitwise, and others which measure the number
of "unique visitors," or "UVs," to a given Web site, the browsers
used for viewing it, and other relevant metrics.
But why the fuss over collecting data on which web sites you visit,
how long you stay and what you do during your visits? The answer
is simply that "data equal dollars". As in television, where Nielsen
ratings are a key measure for setting the price and placement of
commercials, UV numbers are used to help determine Web advertising
rates and positioning. But the importance of the data goes beyond
that. It is very important to calibrate the value of the audience:
what do they do online, what purchases do they make, what bills do
they pay, what are their viewing hours and their habits online.
Such information is used by many people, from Web site publishers,
to online retailers like Amazon.com, to media companies that provide
Web "content," to venture capitalists looking for the next MySpace.
Using Internet statistics and metrics as R&D data, you will be
in a better position to determine what part of the web content is
appealing to audiences, and what is not of interest to the UV.
There is much data to be extracted from Internet use. One of the
attractive features of the Web is that you can track everything.
There are specialized companies that provide the tracking services
to web site operators with real-time data(for a fee) supplying
the number of UVs who visit a site, the pages they view, and the
ads they click on, among other things.
Each of the major measuring firms has its own technology and strategy.
For example, Omniture's measures are based on technology that counts
computers, not people, an approach that can lead to double-counting
of UVs (such is the case when the same user contacts a Web site from
work and then from his home). On the other hand, since panel data by
definition are extrapolations, the counts produced by Net-Ratings
and comScore can be substantially off, some website publishers say.
Everybody is looking for is consistency within each vendor.
Still it is hard to capture demographic details on visitors, or
to provide clients with comparable information from competitors'
Web sites. That's the domain of Nielsen's NetRatings and comScore,
among others, which collect data from diverse panels of Web surfers
who have installed software on their computers that tracks their Internet
use. The makeup of the panels, in theory, mirrors the universe of Internet
users, which allows the firms to extrapolate from the data they capture.
In short, this is the Internet equivalent of the Nielsen ratings, with
NetRatings and comScore putting out monthly rankings of the most-visited
Web sites, most-streamed videos and such.
Industry groups like the Interactive Advertising Bureau and the
Online Publishers Association have also been trying to establish
measurement guidelines. As in counting TV viewers, totaling up UVs
will require to keep an eye peeled for the statistics.
The following are links to the websites of several companies and associations
engaged in the Internet metrics field, some of them provide free reports
I hope you have found this article useful and of interest.
Maintains massive proprietary databases that
provide a continuous, real-time measurement of the myriad ways in which the
Internet is used and the wide variety of activities that are occurring online.
The Omniture Online Business Optimization Platform provides customers
with the ability to collect, integrate, analyze, and automate the reporting
and distribution of multi-channel business information and processes. Placing
the data and tools in the hands of business users across all levels empowers
organizations to make more informed, real-time, data-driven decisions to
increase revenue and lower costs.
- Nielsen Net
Nielsen//NetRatings services define the global standard in online audience
measurement. You can rely on the syndicated, customized media and market research
There are three principle ways to measure Internet usage. A panel of users can
be measured at their computers with installed software (user-centric), marketers
can monitor how visitors interact with a specific website (site-centric), or data
can be collected directly from ISP networks (network-centric). The network-centric
methodology employed by Hitwise enables the most efficient way of monitoring how
more people visit more websites than any other way of measuring Internet usage.
- IWS - Internet World
Global Internet usage data from over 233 countries and territories, arranged
in useful statistical tables. The IWS web site features many Internet metrics
for free online viewing.
A different style of search engine that helps you find sites and also shows
you how safe, popular and valuable each site is. Compete.com extends the search
algorithms, creating useful new information that can help answer questions like:
Is this website safe from spyware and other threats like phishing? How many
people visit this site and how does it compare to other sites? Are there
promotion codes for this site that can save me money? An interesting
concept based on click sharing. The Compete search is powered by Yahoo!
- IAB - Interactive Advertising
Global nonprofit group open to companies actively engaged in the sale of
interactive advertising and marketing. The IAB is an association dedicated to
helping online, Interactive broadcasting, email, wireless and Interactive
television media companies increase their revenues.
- OPA - Online Publishers
The OPA publishes the Internet Activity Index (IAI) which provides a new way
of looking at consumer engagement online, dividing Internet usage into four
distinct activities: content, communications, commerce and search.
About the Author:
Enrique De Argaez is the webmaster of the "Internet World Stats" website. Since
2000 he has been collecting Internet Usage Statistics for over
233 countries and regions of the world, and publishing the
data for free use by the academia, the global business community
and the general public. For more information on Internet World
Usage, visit his site at: http://www.InternetWorldStats.com