MediaPost editor’s lament on the metrics wars

tn_mandese.jpg Joe Mandese is editor-in-chief of MediaPost, a New York-based trade news outfit that covers the online content industry. The big argument in that field is how to measure the hits, unique visitors, click-through rates, time-spent per site — are you getting the idea that the dispute involves advertisers and publishers who are changing the formulas for who gets what share of the billions of dollars that are moving between media types.

Naturally this has roused media’s movers and shakers (aka “Madison Avenue“) whose ox could get gored depending upon who counts what which way. In a humble yet humorous e-mail, Mandese explained how Madison Avenue, as the ad industry is often called, has grown annoyed with MediaPost articles that fail to grasp the enormity and complexity of the issues involved in audience measurement. (The e-mail was titled “Confessions of a Research Industry Journalist” and I’ll link to it if/when I can).

In that e-mail Mandese noted that his most articulate (or was that frequent?) critics included “Tony Jarvis, the global head of research for Clear Channel Outdoor; and Gabe Samuels, the former research chief at the Advertising Research Foundation.” Mandese wrote:

“. . .  nary a research report goes by that I don’t receive some irate missive from Tony or Gabe about the shoddy nature of the industry press coverage – usually MediaPost’s . . .

Mandese also noted that:

“. . . online audience measurement, which theoretically should not be the subject of questionable practices, has become so. The Interactive Advertising Bureau has organized an industry task force to address that issue. The Advertising Research Foundation has formed one to take on the whole subject of online research methods. (engagement?)”

To find out more about Mandese, check out this brief video interview conducted by Max Kalehoff, who works for Nielsen BuzzMetrics by day and blogs at AttentionMax. The image above is taken from that video, which deals with the subject of engagement, which Mandese defines as teasing action out of a consumer as opposed to bombarding them with messages.