The Most Measurable Medium Needs An XML Standard

Sep 21, 2007 by Judah Phillips, Online Metrics Insider

OVER THE LAST TWO WEEKS, my fellow Metrics Insider columnists have correctly pointed out that online metrics are neither standardized nor easily integrated across systems. Vocabulary is muddled. Numbers do not match. Data exists in silos and is isolated from related data. Systems do not adequately or easily talk to each other. Research services, ad servers, and Web analytics tools report similarly named, overlapping and often conflicting metrics. Unfortunately, these problems will not disappear anytime soon, even with emerging "standards" and continued attention paid by the industry to these important issues.

Current industry standards for Web metrics are limited, basic, and come from independent entities. Most recently, the Web Analytics Association released a set of "standards." The WAA’s standards are elementary definitions of concepts from various periods of Internet measurement. Web 2.0 concepts like "events" are mingled with dated measurements like "hits." Regardless, these definitions provide a very useful starting point for framing a discussion about metrics. Recently, I’ve learned that the IAB and MRC are developing a set of IAB Reach Measurement Guidelines. Let’s hope the IAB and WAA align their work efforts.