Web Traffic Stats: Still A Mess. Does It Matter?

Q: How much traffic does your website get? A: Depends on who you ask — even now.

The NYT examines the age-old Web measurement conundrum and concludes that it’s still a mess: Nielsen provides one number, ComScore provides another, and websites invariably argue that their own internal counts are much higher (Alexa, the bane of many blogs and small sites, isn’t even addressed here). In short — nothing’s changed.

The more relevant question: How much does this really matter to Web advertisers? The Times argues that the confusion is slowing the growth of the Web ad market, but given that marketers continue to pour money into the Internet, it’s hard to make that case. One reason why that’s so: Web advertisers are most often buying a certain number of impressions, and those impressions are usually purchased and audited by a third-party insertion company. So it’s not terribly relevant if a Web site claims they have have 15.3 million uniques, and comScore says they have 13.2 million: Advertiser X just needs to know that their ad was served up Y times in Z time-frame. NYT