The Most Measurable Medium? Yeah, Keep Telling Yourself That

The foundation of Web advertising — measurability — is showing cracks, and not the plumber’s kind. Marketers, agencies and site owners have lashed out at panel-based audience measurement, third-party trafficking platforms, and cookies. Also, AJAX-y sites have caused page views to be under-reported. Indeed, the page view metric is thought by many to be seriously ailing.

A new survey from the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) is the first research I’m aware of that directly asks advertisers how much faith they have in the accuracy of their online ad reports. The answer? Not very much.

According to ABC, under half of agency respondents and only a third of advertiser respondents said they were “confident” or “very confident” in their current metrics. When asked if they trust metrics provided by publishers, only 48 percent of advertisers and 43 percent of agencies said they either “trust” or “strongly trust” the reported data. And when asked if they suspect they’re paying for undelivered ad impressions, 56 percent of advertisers and 58 percent of agencies said, yes, they either “suspect” or “strongly suspect” that they do.

The young are less questioning than the old. Fifty-eight percent of marketers under 25 expressed confidence in their metrics, compared with 22 percent of those aged 55 to 64. Seventy-five percent of young’uns trust sites’ self-reported stats, compared with that same 22 percent of fogies.

The ABC, a non-profit association of publishers and advertisers, is pushing for independent auditing of sites in conjunction with the IAB.

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