How do I accurately measure my online traffic?

Dear Aunty B,

I am the editor of a media site and I follow your website daily; it’s an incredibly valuable resource.

We are going through some dramas right now and I am wondering if you can help?

Our traffic in Analytics has been sitting at 130,000 UBs/month and Nielsen is showing 50% of this.

What’s the difference? How do I accurately measure our online traffic?

Kind regards,

Dear MF,

Thanks for that. I actually had to consult our strategy guru on this and I’m glad I did!

We assume you are referring to Nielsen Online Ratings (formally called Nielsen NetView).

Audience measurement in Online Ratings is based on a random sample of the Australian population. Nielsen bases its total internet universe for Australia on around 7,000 people who have agreed to install software on their computers that sends internet browsing behaviour back to Nielsen.

This means, to accurately match 130,000 monthly UBs to your internal data reports, Nielsen would need around 50 people in their sample browsing your site. If that number drops by only 25 in a month it would say there were around 65,000. This fluctuation due to the tiny sample size is very common.

This measurement methodology is designed for very large portals and websites that have several million browsers each month. Not for a smaller niche like yours.

When talking to advertisers we use a different Nielsen product called Market Intelligence, which is pure audited log data. As in, it measures every single person who goes to your website based on a special code Nielsen give you to put on your website (similar to how Google Analytics works). This is a paid-for-service, so you would need to talk to Nielsen in Sydney about this. For a website with under one million monthly page-views the annual cost should be around $1,000-2,000.

If the variation in UBs and traffic are a barrier to your business model, I would recommend you signing up for Market Intelligence. It does remove a lot of doubt from potential advertisers’ minds.

Be smart,
Your Aunty B

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