There’s been some talk recently about what engagement means, if it can stand on its own as a metric, etc. The Advertising Research Foundation defines engagement as “turning on a prospect to a brand idea enhanced by the surrounding context.” Ruebel says that’s hogwash. However, the real story here might be that most metrics rely on sleight of hand and fuzzy logic. For example, the Interweb is supposed to be the most accountable advertising platform ever created. But as anyone who works in interactive knows, that’s bullshit. I work on a huge website that claims to be the 5th most visited corporate site in the world. And that could be true, but who knows for sure? As BusinessWeek explains, we’re all kind of flying by the seats of our pants:
The dirty little secret of Silicon Valley is that no one knows exactly who is going where on the Web. That flies in the face of the impression that online advertising is the most dependably trackable ad medium of all time, a big reason spending on Web ads is expected to grow 33% this year, to $16 billion. But confusion over traffic measurement could cast a chill over the Web 2.0 craze. Valuations for startups such as Facebook Inc. and YouTube Inc. appear to be doubling every few months, but those numbers are based on traffic figures that could be misleading.