Blog Measurement Needs Standards

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New data from Gallup notes that one in five Americans say they consult blogs “frequently” or at least “occasionally.”

Earlier Gallup figures found that 21 percent of 18-29 year olds read blogs, while Pew pegged the blog consumption audience at 58 percent last year.

Here in lies the problem. It’s impossible to say if blog readership is trending up or down because everyone measures it differently. The research community needs to set some standards for measuring in aggregate how many people read blogs, listen to podcasts and subscribe to RSS feeds.

More importantly, it would be helpful if an organization or group of organizations got together to set standards for how a blog will be measured against others in its category, much as the ABC does for magazines and newspapers. Perhaps Nielsen BuzzMetrics will play a role in leading such an initiative.

Finally, I remain unconvinced that traffic data or unique users is the benchmark we will use to size up blogs. This is short thinking in a Long Tail world of content. Some standardized metrics (TBD) are going to become essential as the battle between the various blog advertising/publishing networks heats up and, with it, investments in blog advertising. Who’s going to set some standards?

Steve Rubel is a PR strategist with nearly 16 years of public relations, marketing, journalism and communications experience. He currently serves as a Senior Vice President with Edelman, the largest independent global PR firm.

He authors the Micro Persuasion weblog, which tracks how blogs and participatory journalism are changing the public relations practice.

Blog Measurement Needs Standards
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