Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Facebook vs Myspace Round 95

Really good article going through the various methodologies used to compare traffic across lots of different sites.

Summary is that there's been a little controversy in the States where the standard measurement (Comscore) decided that Facebook had actually lost users and market share in the previous month. Obviosuly this didn't quite chime with the current levels of hype and hysteria around the product.

Something's going on!

It highlights the difficutly of getting good numbers from the larger websites. In the UK we have settled on measurement from ABCe, these numbers are slightly better than the majority of other numbers shown. However, there is still scope to game these numbers and the publishers have a huge incentive to do so. ABC numbers in the press world are often artificially boosted using a range of different methods.

Facebook is definitely not alone in finding huge discrepancies between the (genuine) numbers that they see and the (estimated) numbers that the panels produce. The problem is finding the genuine number. We as advertisers and agencies do not wish to make decisions based on numbers provided by salespeople. Publishers are rightly aggreived when decisions are based on numbers which do not represent their situation.

It's difficult to find a solution and it would be a mistake to think any other media has comprehensively solved this. The ABCe is a welcome development which will hopefully grow larger in time. I'm sure someone somewhere is working on something even better, but we'll have to settle for some kind of slow industry standard in the meantime.

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