We are quickly reaching an inflection point for online traffic data and the way web media is valued. The volume of information on web traffic has created massive pools of data with surprisingly limited analysis or insights that support media buyers or sellers. In some cases the numbers are hard to fathom. 130 million unique visitors?. Really? The challenge is that the web exposes the inherent flaw in Nielsen Research. Small sample sizes that strain credulity when they are lifted to project a total audience. The cozy relationship that created a standard currency based on Nielsen data for the buying and selling of television time,simply won't work for the web. Frankly its under attack for television, as Nielsen attempts to make the final shifts from paper journals to automated people meter systems.
As the web matures into a mainstream media ad agencies are struggling to make money. While the web offers extraordinary capabilities for targeting, contextual and conversational marketing most agencies talk quality and buy quantity. Without a standard currency most broad based agencies struggle to find real scale and in turn profits in online ad buying. So reach=revenue? Or will we see the web fulfill the promise of one to one and conversational marketing?
There are several web research and analytic efforts that are starting to spot patterns in audience behavior, interests and traffic trends that hold promise in providing marketers actionable insights. They are also starting to leverage the web to tap the wisdom of crowds and develop predictive analysis. Umbria as well as Buzz Metrics are harnessing web analytics to provide insights into brands, consumer behavior and buying interests that may well lead to new methods for valuing web media.,