Friday, 20 June 2014

Why We Don't Measure Unique Visitors To our Digital Magazines

We often get asked by clients (and potential clients) who use our real-time Reporting system - where are our Unique Visitor Reports?  At Advanced Publishing, we do continually try to improve our analytics by measuring and reporting key metrics that help drive our publishers businesses -- and give a true picture of reader engagement with their digital magazines. 

But...we don't measure Unique Visitors.   We feel this data point is inaccurate and misleading -- and getting more so each day with multiple device use.  Each reader often starts the magazine on their desktop browser, switches to Safari on their iPad, and then completed the issue on Chrome on their Android phone.  The only way currently to capture a visitor is via a browser session.  So in this case, this would be counted as 3 unique visitors.

In addition as we often point out, many people regularly delete cookies. A cookie is dropped the first time a user hits a site (ie an issue in our case).  If they return on the same browser, a check would be made for the cookie - if it exists, that user would not be counted as a new "unique".  If a reader clears their cookies weekly, for example, and then return to the issue -- they would be counted as a new unique visitor.

The exception to this does exist -- where we can measure unique readers is via a user login process.  For those publications that require a sign in each time for viewing - we ARE able to capture an accurate measurement of unique accesses and we do report that metric in our Subscriber Accesses reports. This measures only the first access of a reader for that period.  In that case that metric would be a true representation of unique visitors.

I found a great post on this very topic - that goes beyond unique visits and discusses other digital measurement metrics.  One thing for sure is that digital advertising measurement is in its infancy and evolving rapidly.  We continue to strive to measure what makes the most sense and gives a true picture (as best we can) of reader engagement.

Here is a link to that article http://newsosaur.blogspot.ca  called --Digital publishing metrics: What’s real?