Thursday, January 14, 2010

Online Metrics: Trends For 2010

When I look back at my 2009 predictions, I feel pretty good about my hit rate; you can judge for yourself. Of course predictions are always a tricky business, especially ones about the future. So herewith, three trends I think will shape the online metrics business over the next 12 months. Let's call them trends, not predictions.

Web analytics and audience measurement will continue to enrich and embrace one another. When I first joined comScore and began contributing to this space in 2007, I talked about the Internet as the most measurable medium-- meaning, for better or worse, that we would be the medium with the most measures. In particular, when it came to counting up the audience, we had two very different techniques: person-centric panel measurement, and site-centric server data. At the time, many suggested that server-based numbers had to be correct - after all, wasn't the Web site's servers the true census of how many people were visiting a particular Web site? As it turned out, there were many issues -- cookie deletion being the most prominent -- that caused unique visitor counts from server data to grossly overstate the true number.

We've travelled a long way in the almost-three years since then. Panel/server hybrid measurement exists in the market, and it is helping to resolve what once seemed to be irreconcilable differences between two ways of counting. Removal of uncertainty in measurement can only be good for business.

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