Types of Metrics

Content publisher site metrics

Given these various vested interests, some common Web metrics have been developed. We have divided these metrics into two groups: (1) those that monitor advertising at a publisher’s site, and (2) those that monitor the advertiser's own home site. Content publisher metrics serve to show the relative attractiveness of a site. These metrics include:

Metric Dimension Measured

Site Visits Total potential audience
Impressions Total number of (unique) viewings of each ad
Click-through rate Rate at which viewers respond to links to advertiser’s home page
Site demographics Expected target audience for ad

Site visits are the total number of times any user has visited a site. This metric demonstrates at a gross level the popularity of a site and the total potential volume of traffic available to advertisers. However, it does not distinguish unique users from non-unique users, or the time spent on the site from the depth of the visit. "Site visits" does not, therefore, truly convey the total reach (unique people reached) of the site.

Impressions (also called exposures) measures the number of unique users who have viewed a particular ad. This is important to advertisers and publishers partly because of the dominant pricing models which may charge a flat fee per thousand exposures, or per month, with a guaranteed minimum number of exposures. Technology providers have a stake in impressions because of the technology involved in automatic ad rotation and placement on a publisher's site. In addition to unique exposures, some advertisers and publishers want to control the number of exposures a user sees in a given period of time. This can be controlled by existing software, or the advertiser can take frequency into consideration when buying time on a advertiser's site.

The click-through rate is the percentage of impressions that generate a response in the form of a click on the banner or icon the advertiser has paid to place on a site that brings the user to the advertiser's own site. Studies have shown a rapid decrease in the click-through rate upon repeated exposures of the same ad to a viewer, which has implications for the optimal frequency of ad exposures to the targeted Web users. Click-through rates are estimated to be between 4 and 12% for the first exposure of an ad, decreasing to less than 1% by the fourth exposure. The click-through rate is an important measure of the advertising efficacy. It is also a complex measure which may depend on factors such as the number of unique users and frequency with which the ad is displayed, the degree of success at targeting the proper audience through site/user profile selection, and the degree of success of the ad design itself, both in terms of artwork and placement on a page.

Site demographics are an important aspect of determining the target audience. One popular model of Web advertising is 'narrowcasting': using the Web to reach as specific an audience as possible This is in contrast to the mass media broadcasting approach. Site demographics are used by advertisers in site selection, and by technology providers to develop ad rotation software. In addition, they are a crucial aspect of selling targeted advertising and fueling Web growth.


Advertiser site metrics

Because a company's home page is often promotional in nature, the content of the home page is considered "target advertising." In contrast to the publisher metrics listed above, which measure the aspects of other companies' sites, advertiser-site metrics are used within the advertiser's target advertising site to measure the effectiveness of their campaign once the user has been drawn to their site. Metrics used here include:

Metric Dimension Measured

Referring site Where they came from via click-through or other site
Responder demographics Domain, operating system, browser type, recent visit, location, userÕs log
Outcomes Actual actions taken by respondents at page (i.e. request literature or purchase)
Interactivity Number of pages seen; depth of respondent interest in site
Time spent at site Level of involvement for respondent
Abandonment rate Rate at which respondents opts out of a site
Exit Where the users leave site (i.e. link) and where s/he goes

The referring site indicates how a particular user was drawn to a site. In particular, it can be used to track and verify the efficacy of banner ads placed on various publisher sites.

Responder demographics validate the match between the audience reached and the audience the company expected to draw. Although the demographic information available through technology is limited, understanding the demographics of the respondents is valuable for shaping products and services the advertiser offers, and the way they design, manage and promote their site.

Outcomes are at the core of another pricing model which is growing in popularity. Outcomes define specific user actions that are expected Š typically an on-line purchase, but can include other actions such as registering for a service or giving personal information. Outcome-based pricing stipulates payment per desired outcome. This model is used successfully by firms such as amazon.com and Internet Shopping Network (ISN). Outcomes are very attractive to advertisers, because it is easy to determine how your advertisement impacted the bottom-line. However, the technology for outcome-based measurement is largely proprietary.

Interactivity includes both the depth with which a user explores a site and the amount of time the user spends at a site. These two measures are considered to demonstrate the user interest, yet they may hinge more on the success of a site's design.

Finally, advertisers are interested in the mode of exit taken by site visitors. 'Bailouts' or 'abandonments' typically occur when a user chooses to switch completely away from the advertiser site. This may connote a lack of interest in the content or the company or that the users has gotten the information they were seeking. This measure is valuable when trying to profile the user, especially when combined with any demographics available and the point of entry.