October 25th, 2006

New Media Frets Over “Engagement” and Audience Measurement, Sounds A Lot Like Old Media


What’s more amusing? Scoble and New Media folks discover “engagement,” a term that the old advertising establishment has been “engaged” with for quite some time. Or, that hot and utterly hip video blogging has been caught up in a he said, he said spat over audience measurement. Welcome to media! These guys sound like a bunch of stuffy old TV networks.

It’s so entertaining to watch technology-driven New Media stumble over the same problems that have long been a struggle for Old Media. Technology has empowered people to create media, but it hasn’t really made them all that innovative on the business side. Ze Frank and Rocketboom are like the Mini Mes of Television, squabbling over ratings.

And let’s not forget poor Digg, who probably would have been acquired by now if any of the old media companies (like News Corp) believed their traffic stats.

Scoble is right that we DESPERATELY need some new media metrics. New Media folks may be ahead of the curve on formats and hip notions like “conversation,” but they’re actually playing catch-up on the deep, intractable problems of media — like how to prove the value.

  • I'd like to announce one tool combination that can help in the matter of analyzing audience engagement (no, I didn't make it).


  • My $0.02: I disagree that we desperately need an easy-to-use metric that can get generally agreed upon as meaningful and passed around at meetings. Why? So that news magazines do stories about how the web is the best way to deal with customers - attraction, engagement, transaction, service - we've ever come up with? So that we feel validated? So that we can expand the marketplace?

    Smart people who can think creatively already get it. Anyone who has been paying the least bit of attention over the last decade either gets it by now or is afraid of getting it.

    I don't mind at all that less creative people are having trouble understanding the value of online media. The fewer people competiting for online media placement and attention, the better. I'm no b-school grad but I believe that's called a 'competitive advantage.'

  • Engagement is for people afraid of real numbers. Decisions based on traffic and eyeballs alone are just plain dumb.

    Why not use simple things like the Net Promoter Score and plain 'ol revenue?

    ANyway, here are 8 things I know about measurement. Anyone wanna help make a Top 10 list? Then, I'm sure it will make it onto Techmeme and Digg. ;)


  • somaking, if new media is so good at tracking media is used, then why is there a dispute over Rocketboom's "use"? Or Digg? What is the right defininition of "use." I think the technology side is just as befuddled as the business side.

  • somaking


    What distinguishes new media from the value standpoint is the inherent ability to track how the media is used. What old media and business people don't realize is how this is done.

    Welcome to the business-technology gap.

    It will take some business savvy mixed with creative technical skills to solve this problem, or even take a stab at it. Some companies (who shall remain nameless) are well-aware of this problem, and are taking steps to bridge the gap.

    It's actually a chasm, so it will take some time before the business folks realize what's happening.


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