Kicking the legs out from Media Metrix

The lead news story in this issue addresses a controversy in the Internet media community over the validity of Web site audience measurement data being provided by Media Metrix Canada - which issued its first audience report last month after opening...

The lead news story in this issue addresses a controversy in the Internet media community over the validity of Web site audience measurement data being provided by Media Metrix Canada – which issued its first audience report last month after opening shop here in Canada last fall. It seems there are a few major Web sites around that aren’t happy with the fact that Media Metrix isn’t yet measuring Web usage in Canadian workplaces or in French Canada.

Canoe, which has been the most vocal critic of Media Metrix thus far, claims that its own audience tracking systems show it’s getting nearly three times the number of unique visitors to its site than was reported last month by Media Metrix. Adding fuel to Canoe’s public indignation is the fact that its numbers have been audited and verified by the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC).

For its part, Media Metrix makes no attempt to hide the fact that its measurement data is currently limited to an analysis of the Web-surfing habits of a panel of 2,000 English-speaking consumers who surf the Net in their homes. It is, however, in the process of expanding the size of its panel to 5,000 consumers and adding a workplace component to its reporting process by next summer. In the meantime, Media Metrix is confident that it’s gathering enough relevant data from its existing panel to deliver a partial, but still meaningful, glimpse of Canadian consumer Web usage habits.

In other words, even in its current unfinished state, Media Metrix provides Web advertisers with an independent, across-the-board analysis of the Canadian Internet media industry – which is more than the industry’s had before. Certainly, the ABC methodology is a more comprehensive, and presumably more accurate, way of measuring the visitor activity on a single site. But, because of its highly focused nature, the ABC audit is not suitable for presenting an aggregate view of the Canadian Web scene.

The Media Metrix audience measurement process isn’t perfect now, and probably never will be. But until Nielsen Media Research rolls out its Net/Ratings system later this year, Media Metrix is all the industry’s got. Why not give it a chance to smooth out the bumps in its process?

After all, no one Web site is being singled out for unfair treatment – the same measurement model is being applied to all. If it’s ultimately proven that Nielsen or ABC or some other party has a better system, let that one become the standard. Just don’t kick the legs out from under them before giving them a chance to fully demonstrate their worth.

David Bosworth

Google launches a campaign about news connections

The search engine is using archival footage to convey what Canadians are interested in.

Google Canada and agency Church + State have produced a new spot informed by research from the search giant that suggests it is a primary connector for Canadians to the news that matters to them – a direct shot across the bow of the legislators presently considering Bill C-18.

In a spot titled “Connecting you to all that’s news,” the search giant harnesses archival footage reflective of many of the issues Canadians care about deeply, including the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, truth and reconciliation and the war in Ukraine, to demonstrate the point that many Canadians turn to Google as a gateway to the information and news they’re seeking.

“From St. John’s to Victoria and everywhere in between, when Canadians want to understand or get updated on the most pressing topics, Google connects them to the news sources that provide it,” says Laura Pearce, head of marketing for Google Canada. “All of us at Google are proud to be that consistent and reliable connection for Canadians to the news they’re searching for.”

In some ways, the goal of the campaign was to tap into the varied emotional responses that single news stories can have with different audiences across the country.

“News may be factual, but how people respond to it can be very emotional,” explains Ron Tite, founder and CCO at Church + State. “Importantly, those emotions aren’t universal. One news story can create completely different reactions from different people in different places. Because of that, we simply wanted to let connecting to news be the focus of this campaign. We worked diligently to license a wide variety of actual news footage that we felt would resonate with Canadians.”

The campaign can be seen as a statement by the search provider on Bill C-18 – the Online News Act – that is currently being deliberated by a parliamentary committee. That legislation seeks to force online platforms such as Meta’s Facebook and Alphabet’s Google to pay news publishers for their content, echoing a similar law passed in Australia in 2021. The Act has drawn sharp rebukes from both companies, with Facebook threatening to ban news sharing on its platform.

Google Canada is not commenting on whether this new campaign is a response to C-18, but it has been public in its criticism of the legislation. In testimony delivered to parliament and shared on its blog, Colin McKay, the company’s head of public policy and government relations, said, “This is a history-making opportunity for Canada to craft world-class legislation that is clear and principled on who it benefits.” However, he noted that C-18 is “not that legislation.”

The campaign launched on Oct. 24 and is running through December across cinema, OLV, OOH, podcast, digital and social. Airfoil handled the broadcast production.