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Media Intelligence : July 2007
from the activity captured by the log le records of the site s host server(s). Log-based measurement is rarely used by website publishers when speaking to advertisers because it is not collected or audited by an independent third party. An alternative, more accurate and popular method of site-centric measurement is browser-based measurement. This approach involves the tagging of web pages for the purpose of capturing website tra c once the web page begins to download into a browser. The information is captured via a cookie. A cookie is a very small text le inserted on a user s computer by a web server and is unique to that computer s browser. The cookie allows in-depth, but anonymous, tracking of audience usage patterns, including paths followed, con- tent viewed and location of access. This information is collected real-time and can be reported back down the hour. There are some challenges in predicting the number of "unique users" from a tagging approach because a person may use more than one browser or computer to access a website, and/or they may delete cookies. However, this approach is the most accurate way of getting a true indication of the activity within a site because all user activity is captured and, unlike other forms of measurement, all data access points are captured. "Most of the big publishers in Australia are using a tagging approach to measure their website s usage and we are seeing more and more small publishers tagging their sites in order to provide granular information to their advertisers and to show in our industry performance rankings," Dib explains. User-centric measurement User-centric measurements are derived by recording the activity of a subset of recruited internet users who are representative of the internet universe. There are two main ways user-centric data is collected -- one is through survey response and the other is a metered approach. The survey-based approach requires consumers to actively self-report details of their online activity, often based on recall. The challenge with this approach is that consumers cannot always accurately remember their online activity. Consumer response can be impacted by advertising, word of mouth or data-collection method (not many people will admit to visiting adult sites when being interviewed by another person). And the cost and time required to conduct such surveys limit sample sizes and reduce accuracy and granularity of results. Results are often released months after the data was captured, making the information less up-to-date than the other methods of measurement. The bene t of this approach is that you can gain insight into how online usage interacts with other media, attitudes or buying behaviour. The data-collection method used by a metered panel di ers to survey-based methodology because it does not rely on recall; rather it captures the actual behavior of the panelist. This approach is similar to the way television viewing is measured in Australia. The panel s online behaviour is then projected to approximate the behaviour of the wider universe via statistical projections. Correct recruitment is critical for the validity of these projections. While this approach is more accurate than a survey-based approach it still has its own challenges. Most approaches only capture home tra c and some, like Nielsen/ NetRatings NetView, attempt to capture work activity. But this approach does not capture other access points like school, internet cafés and mobile phones. Like a survey-based approach, metered panels do provide advertisers with demographic information about the person visiting the sites. This information is critical for advertisers when planning media in order to determine where to nd their target audience and to de ne cross-site visitation. ISP-centric measurement ISP-centric measurement monitors the ow of tra c at various points on the internet network and extrapolates the ndings across a de ned universe of activity. Measurement is derived by analysing a number of activity logs from a range of ISPs to ascertain comparable tra c levels of di erent websites and the movement of tra c between those sites. The information collected is by websites and includes page requests, visits and average visit length. Since the data is being collected at an aggregated level from ISPs, it is hard to relate usage behaviour back to a person. The other signi cant challenge with this approach is that either all ISP participation is needed or the sampled ISPs must be weighted or calibrated to account for di erences in their customer base. So which is the right approach? "The internet is proving to be the most measurable media. I don t think there is a right or wrong approach because each of the approaches gives you part of the information. But it is important to use the information in the correct way," explains Dib. "We believe browser-based methodologies provide the most accurate measurement of page impressions but this information needs to be combined with a metered-panel- based measurement to gain a richer view of the user." MT MediaTitles 51 ABOUT NIELSEN//NETRATINGS: Nielsen//NetRatings is a global leader in Internet media and market research and is the industry s premier source for online advertising intelligence with its NetView, SiteCensus, Market Intelligence, AdRelevance, Analytics and Consulting services. Covering 70 per cent of the world s internet usage, the Nielsen//NetRatings services o er syndicated Internet and digital media research reports and custom-tailored data to help companies gain valuable insight into their business. Nielsen//NetRatings is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Nielsen Company (www.nielsen.com) For more information, please visit www.nielsen- netratings.com. Contact details for Australia can be found on www.netratings.com.au Source: Nielsen//NetRatings AdRelevance Chart 3:
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