As 2007 ends, I thought it worth looking back, from the practitioner perspective, at just a few of the issues that have shaped Internet measurement and thus online metrics over the last year.
A measurement system needs a purpose. All the different tools at our disposal, which allow us to measure where consumers clicked on a page, at what point they stopped watching a video, or how they otherwise engaged with the content -- might make for great techniques if you are a seller of an analytics package competing on features. But as an industry, we need to stop being distracted by what we can do, and focus more on what we need to do.
Global warming and consumers warming up to a brand or product: While it might not be obvious at first glance, there are certainly parallels between the two. First, both climate changes and consumers' responses to advertising are significantly more measurable today than in the past. And, second, in both areas new patterns, emerging from newly acquired data, routinely challenge our convenient ways of thinking and render our customary methods of going about our business inadequate.
Several weeks ago in this space, David Smith urged Randy Rothenberg (IAB) and Jim Sterne (WAA) to get together over the reach standards and definitions their two organizations are putting out. Following that column, Judah Phillips then wrote about the yin and yang of online metrics -- audience measurement and Web analytics -- from his perspective as a Web analytics guru. Consider this a companion piece to Judah's column, covering similar ground but from the audience measurement perspective.
A few weeks ago the topic of this newsletter was "You Guys Should Talk." The theme of this week's column is "Us Girls AreTalking." David Smith made a public call for the Web Analytics Association and the Internet Advertising Bureau to get together and discuss and collaborate on metric standards. There is no action item here -- but merely a need for a little PR to let the online measurement community know that the groups are indeed communicating with each other.