I was thrilled to see an industry visionary like Ev Williams tackle the measurement discussion with his post “A mile wide, an inch deep” and advocate the use of a dimension beyond simply unique visitors.
We agree that time is a critical dimension and arguably the most important one as noted in our recent report “How Time-based Measurement is Grabbing Publishers’ Attention.”
In terms of measuring the quality of an audience, Ev’s “rectangle analogy” nails it.
Ask any junior high student which rectangle is bigger, one that is three inches wide or one that is two-and-a-half inches wide, and they’ll tell you it’s a nonsensical question unless they have more information — specifically, the height.
And yet, we literally say one company or service is “bigger” based on a single number — specifically, number of people who have “used” it in the last 30 days.
A site that attracts one million visitors for 30 seconds per month is an entirely different business than one that attracts one million visitors for 3 hours per month. The same holds true for brand advertising. We will continue to urge the industry to debate and discuss a time-based measurement world, what it means to brand advertisers and how it more correctly aligns the incentives for creating great media. As Ev so eloquently puts it: “Most Internet companies would build better things and create more value if they paid more attention to depth than breadth.”
It’s an Attention Economy. Content is everywhere and so are the consumers. We need to be in the business of making the most of their precious and valuable time. We’ll be exploring this topic in depth at the 13rd Annual Digital Content Next Summit later this month. It is members-only but we’ll be reporting on the insights and major themes on InContext after the event.