Hoard’s Dairyman is an early adopter of AAM’s new Site Certifier website verification software. Learn how validated web traffic gives them a competitive edge.
Since 1885 Hoard’s Dairyman’s mission has been to supply dairy farmers and their advisors with practical, factual information about all aspects of the dairy business. While its roots are in print—it was originally an offshoot of the Jefferson County Daily Union newspaper—the Hoard’s Dairyman brand has expanded into digital media with a robust website, newsletters, social media channels and webinars.
As a charter member of the Audit Bureau of Circulations (now AAM), Hoard’s Dairyman has always had confidence in its audited print circulation numbers. It wanted the same confidence in the validity of its website data. John Mansavage, audience marketing manager, explained, “A significant volume of website traffic is driven by our subscribers and through webinar and blog activity. Month-over-month, our website numbers looked good but we needed to know it was legitimate traffic in today’s rapidly changing digital environment.”
Because Hoard’s Dairyman is committed to validated subscriber data, it was a natural fit to add audited web metrics to demonstrate their commitment to transparency and credibility. When AAM introduced Site Certifier, a new way to conduct website audits to help detect invalid traffic, Hoard’s Dairyman was one of the first to get on board.
“We didn’t become the leader in the industry by standing still,” said Mansavage.
Gary Vorpahl, vice president of marketing at Hoard’s Dairyman, agreed, “For Hoard’s Dairyman, the combination of print and digital products has been very effectively illustrated in the Consolidated Media Report and now Brand View. Our print, web and email products have each established a very important place in our media offering and, when combined, advertisers cannot find a more powerful media package. Supported with the AAM audit, there are no questions about the strength and quality of the data.
“The marketing side has benefitted the most from AAM audits. We are the first in our industry to have our numbers audited. It makes our clients sit up in their chairs.”
AAM Site Certifier is a real-time independent verification of a publisher’s key website metrics as reported by Google Analytics or Adobe Omniture. As part of the verification process, AAM uses a new anomalous detection tool built on machine-learning algorithms and predictive analytics to separate human and nonhuman activity. With Site Certifier, the AAM audit team can see anomalous traffic as it happens and work with clients to remove it before it creates a negative impact on their business.
“Overall, the excellent results we experienced with Site Certifier were what we expected,” said Patti Hurtgen, online media manager for Hoard’s Dairyman. “There were a couple of small, unexpected discoveries of questionable web activity that Site Certifier allowed us to identify and mitigate, specifically an offending robot that we didn’t know was there. It was a good experience for us to check our data and we’re happy that the robot didn’t generate a significant number of hits. It was easily filtered out.
Hoard’s Dairyman reports that the time to tag their website for the Site Certifier audit was less than an hour.
“The preparation is seamless and clear,” Hurtgen explained. “There shouldn’t be any anxiety over the process.”
Mansavage identified three main benefits of Site Certifier: the reporting of real-time data instead of six-month publisher’s statements, ease of downloading information to quickly respond to RFPs and the online access that allows sales staff to access the information anytime, anywhere.
And he only expects those benefits to increase as Digital Media Planner gains more visibility in the buying community.
“We anticipate use of the Digital Media Planner will become standard procedure for media buyers,” he said. “Ease of access to validated data that is continuously updated with historical and comparative analysis is the ideal tool for media buyers.”
For publishers who don’t have their websites audited with Site Certifier, Vorpahl poses a question.
“What are your other options for validating site traffic? This is a natural extension of the validity you provide print advertisers. We are constantly providing transparency and proving ourselves to the marketplace. We have some competitors that may not be completely accurate. Our numbers are always there for advertisers and agencies to see with full authenticity and transparency.
“We’re just being honest and above the board with our experience. Even our sales staff has seen how the credibility factor reinforces and supports the Hoard’s brand. We have to provide a higher level of validation to set us apart from the competitive forces in our market.”