ABA uncovers the cheats of online audience measurement
Advertise on our website, you will get one billion impressions! Extravagant exaggerations like this are becoming all too common in the online game, as websites try to increase their advertising rates. The Audit Bureaux of Australia (ABA) has released a new report that shows that many sites are learning a few sneaky tricks to make themselves look more popular than they are.
The ABA says website publishers are inflating their audience figures and misleading media buyers by double counting page views by using a second tracking tag, counting pages before they load and counting pop-ups, according to a new report released today by the Audit Bureaux of Australia (ABA).
“The most common method to measure website traffic in Australia is through tracking tags installed on each web page,” explains ABA CEO Paul Dovas. “By simply placing an extra tag on each page, publishers can count their page views twice and claim an unfair advantage over their competitors.”
The report also reveals some website publishers are over-representing their traffic by counting pop-ups for their website and counting pages before they finish loading by placing the tracking tag at the top of the page instead of the bottom.
Dovas says these sneaky techniques breach industry measurement rules as the page was being counted even though users may choose to shutdown the browser before it finishes loading. Dovas also took a shot at websites that auto-refresh, even when pages aren’t being actively viewed.
“This practice has been found to significantly inflate key audience metrics, including page views and session times,” he says. “As a result, media buyers are spending money on display ads that are going unseen on background browser tabs and even unattended computers.”