Washington's NFL team claim 58.1 million people read an article about Jon Gruden on their website. This number was impossible, and we explained why. Now we have insight from the PR firm that tried to explain those numbers to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, and it turns out the team actually thinks that 7.8 billion people read about their training camp. That's more than the population of Earth.
I asked the company that explained the team's numbers how they reached a figure of 58.1 million unique visitors, which they later clarified as impressions. Riana Dadlani, Corporate Communications Expert at Meltwater explained:
I am the spokeswoman Michael Phillips was referring to in his article. He sent me the Washington Redskins 2014 Training Camp Recap and asked me to confirm the following: "7,845,460,401 unique visitors of print/online coverage of the 2014 Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Camp from July 24-Aug. 12."
I explained over the phone that 7.8B unique visitors was impossible and that number must have been incorrectly labeled.
Here's where things get a little confusing.
This seems to be a mix of two metrics we use: unique visitors and impressions. The correct description and definition of the number in question should have been:
7,845,460,401 impressions of print/online coverage of the 2014 Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Camp from July 24-Aug. 12.
However, this definition of "impressions" is fundamentally wrong to comical levels.
Impressions/Potential viewership/Reach: Impressions/potential viewership/reach is calculated by taking the reach figure of the media outlet from comScore multiplied by the number of articles matched from that media outlet for a search query/agent. For example, Yahoo Finance has a reach of 100M viewers. If five articles were collected from Yahoo Finance then the impressions/potential viewership is 500M (i.e. 5 x 100M).
Director of Audience Development at Vox Media (and Founder of SB Nation Chiefs blog Arrowhead Pride) Chris Thorman explained this phenomenon:
They are talking about not how many people their content ACTUALLY reached, but how many they COULD have reached. Like if the team has an article up on Yahoo.com for 5 seconds, they would count that as 120 million unique impressions (Yahoo.com comScore).
The explanation from Meltwater means that if ANY LARGE SITE talked about the team five times in a month then it is assumed EVERY SINGLE PERSON who visited the site read that. This would be like if you had a blog about cats. Yahoo Finance talked about cats 30 times in a month, which now means 3 billion people know about your blog.
It's impossible to know what the real numbers are. We know 58.1 million people didn't read about Jon Gruden on the team's website, but we're told 58.1 million people were aware of it. However, those 58.1 million people really could have been 100 people, or even a thousand -- because every single person using a search engine, Yahoo News or any other source is being counted as someone who saw something about Washington's NFL team.
The whole situation is utterly confusing. Right now the team believes that if a specific person is selling "I LOVE NY" shirts in Times Square that the ENTIRE CITY OF NEW YORK knows about them.
SB Nation presents: Washington is in one of the most awful games this season