I'm really happy today to be able to announce the Eurogamer Network's latest audit results for the period 1st - 30th November 2008.
During that time, our network of sites - including Eurogamer.net and Eurogamer's sites in Germany, Portugal, France, Spain, Italy and Benelux - recorded 3,706,889 unique users and 22,962,028 page impressions. That's compared to 1,835,202 unique users and 14,763,018 page impressions in November 2007 - an improvement of over 100 per cent in unique users!
Those figures were put together by ABC Electronic - the online branch of the Audit Bureau of Certification, which measures the popularity of newspapers, magazines and websites in the UK.
So what does that actually mean?
First of all, let's deal with what ABCE actually counts. "Unique user/browser" is described as "a unique and valid identifier", but "does NOT measure a person" (their emphasis). "Instead, it is a measure of a device through which a person interacts with a web property or network, in common with all measurement software."
As ABCE points out, the number may overstate or understate the real number of people reading a website due either to dynamic IP addresses (i.e. lots of people accessing the site through one IP address, perhaps in an office or flat-share) or "to significant levels of uniformity in IP and browser configurations operating through a proxy". However, the benefits are still numerous: they are measured the same way each year, so are directly comparable to past performance, and of course to other sites using them.
Page impressions, meanwhile, is "a file, or combination of files, sent to a valid user as a result of that user's request being received by the server", so basically it's the amount of pages on the site that have been opened, in total, by all the people reading it. This also appeals to advertisers, although it's not as sexy as the other number.
It's also worth saying that ABCE's methods rule out any traffic "generated by site development activity, whether by the site or by third parties, and by automated search engines, indexers, robots, spiders etc."
In this country, it all adds up to a good enough measure of how many people read a website that all the national newspapers and most of the mainstream media industry uses it, and the people who buy advertising space pay attention to it because it's an independent measure of how many people are looking at their flashy marketing, and one which has been created in accordance with industry-agreed metrics. (For more on Editorial vs. Advertising, check out the last Editor's blog.)
Now that's settled, let's deal with what we've asked ABCE to count: as you will note above, the figures include Eurogamer.net and our six localised network sites. But surely that's cheating! To some extent it's boosted by us all clubbing together, definitely, but we're upfront about that, and the main reason we do it is that advertisers (man, them again) often book campaigns across all the sites, and we sometimes coordinate editorial across all the sites too.
However, for the benefit of anyone exclusively interested in the UK, I don't think our colleagues on the younger Eurogamer network sites will mind my pointing out that Eurogamer.net is the biggest contributor to the figures by a margin, accounting for over 2.3 million unique users alone.
So are our numbers any good? We're certainly very proud of them! It can't really go without saying that the likes of Ellie, Oli, Bertie and Dan - and our wonderful contributors - deserve lots of hugs and praise from the boss, although obviously I have to be careful because when Rupert does it it's flirting but for me it's sexual harassment. (Seriously though - thanks guys!)
Most importantly for you though, assuming you're here through choice and haven't lost a bet or anything, the fact that our traffic is higher than ever means that the people who make the games you care about will be more inclined to let us have our wicked way with them, more often and more deeply.
Plus, we'll be able to invest more in Eurogamers, Eurogamer TV and other areas of the site that help you enjoy yourself a bit more. We're also going to be bringing Eurogamer to yet more new territories in 2009, meaning that if you're reading this in your second language, we might be heading your way, so stay tuned.
Finally, I should add that we really, really appreciate the role you played in helping us to get our sexy PDF with its numbers and that. Eurogamer is nothing without you lot, and while we're obviously not doing this for nothing, we do care that you enjoy the site, and we're glad that more of you do than ever. Thanks guys!