This week’s Media Guardian had a very informative article on the changing ways of measuring the effectiveness of web advertising. The article is by Jeff Jarvis and its also available from his blog.

Its a very helpful summary of where the industry is at. Namely, in a bit of quandary when it comes to providing good metrics for advertisers. Jarvis doesnt explicitly draw this conclusion, but it follows from his analysis, that the responsibility for providing trustworthy data and ROI information to publishers is increasingly likely to fall to the publishers directly. In the traditional print world the publisher could rely on the information provided by the Audit Bureau (ABC or BPA etc). The publisher might limit himself to emailing the advertiser a copy of the ABC certificate as a PDF file and to making darned sure that the records kept on the distribution side meet the audit requirements of the Audit Bureau. But in a world of effective web sites and digital editions the advertisers will increasingly look to the publisher to have a system from which the success and the audience of each advertisement can be measured. This will mean providing vastly more data to the advertisers if they want it. It will mean having systems which allow for this data to be easily/automtically polled by the advertiser.

We are now providing such a comprehensive service for our publishers. The publisher of the Ecologist can now find out exactly how many times this page has been looked at, month by month, and exactly how many people have clicked through from the link to Riverford Organics. We do not have permission to tell you what those numbers are, but it is fair to say that a live link buried in straight prose, such as in that context on our system, has a click through rate of roughly 4% (4 click throughs for every 100 page views). A prominent url in a display ad will do better. Those click-throughs are gold dust, and a decent stats service should tell the publisher and the advertiser where the gold dust is.