Unaudited sites full of shit? And so say all of us

Dr Mumbo happened to be glancing at the Pedestrian.TV media kit. He rather likes the site’s uncompromising stance on audit:

audit pedestrian shit

On unrelated matters, Dr Mumbo would very much encourage those who place online advertising with Mumbrella’s rivals to ask why (with the exception of Campaign Brief) they haven’t chosen to undertake the cheap and easy digital audit process.


  1. Shamma
    20 Aug 12
    8:32 am

  2. cool story but does this mean they were full of shit for the 4 years they weren’t audited?

  3. Rod
    20 Aug 12
    9:46 am

  4. Why on earth do you need 3rd party auditing anyway? Google Analytics provide independent, impartial and comprehensive website statistics for zero cost – and I trust them more than I’d trust the CAB or ABC

  5. Tom Kelshaw
    20 Aug 12
    11:24 am

  6. @Rod: Bravo if you’re being facetious; Bloody terrifying statement if you’re responsible for investing a client’s media dollars.

  7. Davy Adams
    20 Aug 12
    12:23 pm

  8. Google Analytics numbers include bot traffic which can substantially inflate numbers. They also leave a lot open to interpretation are publishers reporting local traffic or international for example. Nielsen is good at stripping out bot traffic, and MI provides a domestic audience number but doesn’t police some of the other nasties in there like auto-refresh.

    The Audit Bureau is a NFP with the specific mission of providing accurate numbers for its members which include publishers, agencies and advertisers. Auditing provides a very necessary check that numbers reported are accurate.

  9. John Grono
    20 Aug 12
    12:38 pm

  10. Hear hear Tom.

  11. Masthead
    20 Aug 12
    12:44 pm

  12. Although it should be noted that Pedestrian quote Google Analytics in that media kit: a bit contradictory?

    Also, since that media kit was produced there have been some significant changes in their traffic so it should be updated.

    Session duration is down from 3.08 to 2.52 and uniques down from 205,876 to 168,353.

  13. Masthead
    20 Aug 12
    12:46 pm

  14. @Tom and Davy

    Well put.

    Could you answer this:

    If bot traffic is not excluded from Google Analytics, is there any reason to suppose that it would be excluded from clicks on Good Adwords?

    (ie do many ‘clicks’ on Adwords come from bots?)

  15. Kevin
    20 Aug 12
    1:28 pm

  16. There is only one Audit company for print circ that I trust – ABC.

    I had a word to another company that based their figures on apparent readership, after they claimed a particular magazine was around 13,000 circ, yet found to have over 100,000 readers.

    I was in that industry sector for years and never heard of a single male sharing their hobby magazine.

    Other magazines avoid audits completely and claim readership based on the print-run, not sales. My magazines went through ABC audits and there was no way they accepted less than correct figures.

  17. @Masthead
    20 Aug 12
    2:08 pm

  18. @Masthead,

    Pedestrian quotes both Google Analytics and ABA audited statistics within our media-kit.

    Within the online youth media space most of our competitors are not audited by the ABA. As a result we’re continually having our audited figures compared against ‘publisher’s claims’ that are at best based on Google Analytics data.

    The ABA’s audited figures are 15% lower than the visitors reported within Google Analytics so comparing ABA figures vs non-audited figures places you at a disadvantage.

    Pedestrian’s most recent audited ABA July figures reports 199,000 Australian UBs while our Google Analytics data over the same period reports 225,000 Australian UBs

  19. Full disclosure
    21 Aug 12
    12:23 am

  20. @ Davy Adams – “The Google Analytics JavaScript tracking code (ga.js) only sends data to Google Analytics from browsers and user agents when JavaScript is enabled and cookies can be set. For that reason, most search engine robot traffic is not tracked in Google Analytics because these agents do not activate JavaScript in the pages that they crawl, nor do they typically set cookies.”


    Re: International users – GA can segment that out as well.

    GA also has an enterprise version (paid). Is anyone suggesting that this data too lacks credibility?

  21. mumbrella
    21 Aug 12
    8:34 am

  22. Hi Full disclosure,

    Yes, all of that can be segmented. But if somebody is using their Google Analytics to pull the wool over advertisers’ eyes, why would they segment?

    By the way, we use Google Analytics all the time – it’s an excellent tool. We use it minute by minute to understand how people are reacting to individual stories, and it’s a great indicator of direction of travel.

    A couple of weeks back, I was delighted when we hit a million page views in a month according to Google Analytics. It was a genuine milestone for us. But not as big a one as when – if – we hit that same number in our CAB audit.

    CAB excludes browsers coming from outside Australia. Most advertisers don’t want to pay for those.

    Audit is relatively cheap. If a site isn’t full of shit why wouldn’t they use it?


    Tim – Mumbrella

  23. Simon
    23 Aug 12
    7:12 pm

  24. Hi Tim,

    We’re not pushing our website inventory to any meaningful extent so I can’t comment on the Audit process in that context, but having undertaken our first CAB audit recently (print circulation audit for mags delivered via the post as opposed to news agents etc which come under ABA arrangements) I’ll have a go at answering your question.

    A) Purchasers don’t care.

    In the first 5 years of our magazine I was asked just once by a media agency if we were audited. Now it’s fair to say most of our bookings are from clients that manage their own campaigns but out of hundreds of thousands of dollars that have come to us over the years via media agencies I’d have thought the question would have been higher up the list.

    For some time we’ve had a good circulation story to tell so I recently bought into the myth? that being audited will help to drive sales. However since being CAB audited perhaps 6 months ago I haven’t received any purchase enquiries that I could attribute to the fact that our circulation figures now sit — quite favourably positioned in our sector — in the CAB database.

    I’m fully supportive of third party audit in principle but its importance to publishers needs to be driven and reinforced by media buyers — so far a pointless exercise for us and I think I’ll save my time and audit money for direct legal action against anyone that tells fibs.