The mystery of the parenting site that has lots of males, and the youth hangout for over 35’s …

On Wednesday I wrote a post around the mysterious stats coming out of Nielsen regarding 2 Fairfax properties … the VIne and Essential Baby.

Link here –

“How come 60% of Essential Baby’s users are male, when if you look at gender splits across sites like Baby Centre and Bub Hub they’re generally 65%+ female?

“And how come 67% of The Vine – ie, the 18-29 targeting youth website – are over 35 years of age.”

I wasn’t making these numbers up – they’re part of the August Netview data.

Fairfax Trade Marketing Director, Melanie Dudgeon, came on and made the following statement …

“At this particular point in time, the Netview numbers for many smaller sites across the industry, including The Vine and Essential Baby, are not robust enough yet at a demographic level to give a good indication of actual audience breakdowns. This issue is something that Nielsen are working hard to rectify.”

Ok great … so what do Nielsen say about their demographic info not being “robust enough”. I emailed Megan Clarken who heads up Nielsen Online who had Stuart Pike get in contact with me.

And Nielsen back their data.

Pike: “Nielsen back’s the reliability of our demographics. As both John and yourself have alluded to previously in this thread there are many reasons why member data will differ from the overall data when it comes to demographics. Our overall data obviously includes all the visitors who drop by and read a single article as well as the core readership that no doubt represent the most active users of a site (this is presumably what any publisher would capture in their membership). When there is a particularly popular article that draws visitors from a demographic that is different to the core readership then it follows that the overall demographics that we report in NetView will skew away from the core readership.”

I’m happy as this has started some real debate. And its heading to being the most read post on this blog in almost 12 months. Thursday was a record day with over 1,000 visits.

The issue of measurement is an important one. I’m sure I’m not the only person wondering why Fairfax would question how robust the Netview data is when, as part of the IAB, it publicly backed the data.

Just adds more confusion to something that should be simple and transparent.


4 responses to “The mystery of the parenting site that has lots of males, and the youth hangout for over 35’s …

  1. This is a very interesting debate! In this current environment, we need consistency and confidence in the data, to demonstrate a deeper understanding of who your site users really are.

  2. I reckon Nielsen are right …put an article on Fairfax other sites about Yummy Mummys or losing the bulge after a baby … And watch the teenage males come flooding in….

  3. Pingback: Five to follow – Ben Shepherd; Margaret Simon; Amnesia; David Knox; Stilgherrian - mUmBRELLA

  4. Both Nielsen and Fairfax are right.

    The fault does not derive from methodology but from an intangible set of circumstances that cannot be factored.

    The truth is as has been pointed out, Fairfax like all portals interlink their sites with effective traffic drivers that are used to funnel people to interesting articles. personally, i have found myself on the essential baby site via an article i did not know had anything to do with EB.

    From that perspective it is undoubtedly the case where there are more panel members on FFX sites that get driven to the EB site than there are panel members (mothers) that regularly go to the EB site.

    Nielsen provides robust data but it is not infallible, i would argue that no system online or offline is and therefore we need to make assumptions just like how other channels or marketing in general does.

    Digital might be the most measurable media but measurable is different to accurate.

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