Web 2.0: Problems of Measurement

During a shared keynote at WebSideStory’s ActiveInsights event this week, Organic CEO Mark Kingdon and Director of Experience Design John Manoogian discussed the problems of measuring consumer activity and engagement in a decentralized Internet. Organic has developed several client projects that either pull content from user-generated sources, be they blogs, fan sites or Flickr pages, or push content out to those same sources. Both approaches offer measurement challenges.

In one client deployment, the agency offered Web users RSS feeds consisting of hand-picked links to user content and Flickr photo pages. The feeds could be viewed either on a Web page or an RSS aggregator, which raises the issue of how to know where a person is consuming brand content. “Using AJAX, we were able to overlay measurement over top of these links. RSS feeds don’t necessarily get read in a browser. A page view is just a metaphor. There are no pages. There are just files,” said Manoogian.

Organic has also experimented with “content that calls home” in the form of widgets or other decentralized brand experiences that send usage and engagement metrics back to the marketer.

“You still will have a site, no matter who you are, because you want to have engagement,” said Kingdon. “Increasingly we’re seeing a lot of the functionality that used to reside on the Web site appearing in an ad or another place,” like watching a movie trailer in a banner unit or downloading a branded widget. However, Kingdon said, this new reality poses many tracking and reporting problems that have yet to be resolved.

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