Evaluating Ad Impression Metrics

    February 22, 2007

Click fraud, along with other methods of generated false or inflating statistics concerning ad impressions, has been the subject of much debate throughout the industry. Some reports indicate that fraud is rampant throughout the online advertising realm, while other statistics suggest that click fraud and other shady practices aren’t as prevalent.

Recently, the Audit Bureau of Circulations conducted a study entitled "Online Accountability: Gauging the Growing Demand for Audited Web Metrics" to observe the attitudes surrounding fraud and trends in online advertising as a whole.

Some of the key findings from the study include:

· 83 percent of respondents plan to increase online ad spending in 2007, with more than half expecting double-digit budget increases

· 91 percent of respondents said Web metrics are important to audit ad impressions and delivery

· 89 percent felt it’s important to verify Web site traffic

· More than half of the survey respondents said they would be more likely to advertise on blogs, podcasts, streaming video, and mobile media if audited by an independent firm

· Advertising buyers said the primary benefits of audited digital media include more reliable data, better post-buy analysis and evaluation, more confidence in media buys, more effective media plans, and more trust in Web site properties

· 75 percent of ad professional respondents under age 25 said they trust the metrics provided by online publishers, compared to 22 percent of those in the 55-64 age category.

Another notable trend is that fewer than half of ad-agency respondents and only one-third of advertiser respondents expressed confidence that their companies’ ability to correctly measure and report their online ad impressions.

Also, the study found that 84 percent of participants believe that within the near future, more significance will be placed on verification of online advertising activity by independent third-party auditing firms.

With all that said, it looks like the prevalence of third party auditing firms will be on the rise in the next few years, especially as the way in which these statistics are measured begins to fundamentally change.

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