Online measurement debate produces more questions than answers

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New York—Despite online’s reputation as the most measurable of all media, marketers continue to grapple with how much to invest in the medium because of the sheer abundance of data generated and the myriad ways to measure them.

“There are too many ways to look at it,” said Steve Wadsworth, president of Walt Disney Internet Group, who delivered the state of the industry address at the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s first Audience Measurement Leadership Forum on Thursday. “It’s too confusing. We’re awash in data. It’s not simple, and it’s not clear.”

Manish Bhatia, president-global services and U.S. sales at Nielsen Online, called it “a problem of plenty.”

Panelists from the major online measurement firms, including comScore Networks, Hitwise, Nielsen Online and Quantcast Corp., a new entrant, discussed the differences and merits of both panel-based and server-based, or site-centric, data, in a day filled with more questions than answers. Some measurement companies are working toward a hybrid model that incorporates both types of data.

“We combine panels and pixels,” said Konrad Feldman, CEO of Quantcast. “I think the future is one in which the industry collaborates to get data that everyone can agree on. People want simplicity in the way they buy media.”

—Carol Krol

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