Tyranny of the Page View Nearly Over?

first_img8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Tags:#Analysis#Statistics#web A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting richard macmanuscenter_img An AP reporttoday states that Nielsen/NetRatings, one of the leading Internet stats services, will“scrap rankings” based on page views and replace it with how long visitors spend atwebsites. The reason is that online video and technologies such as Ajax “increasinglymake page views less meaningful.” We’ve known for some time, but it’s big news if a majorstats service like Nielsen/NetRatings officially degrades the importance of page views.Note that later in the AP article, it states that Nielsen won’t be fully scrapping pageviews – they “will still provide page view figures but won’t formally rank them”.The AP article details two cases where this change in focus will provide a noticeablechange in bigco rankings:“Ranking top sites by total minutes instead of page views gives Time Warner Inc.’s AOLa boost, largely because time spent on its popular instant-messaging software now getscounted. AOL ranks first in the United States with 25 billion minutes based on May data,ahead of Yahoo’s 20 billion. By page views, AOL would have been sixth.Google, meanwhile, drops to fifth in time spent, primarily because its search engineis focused on giving visitors quick answers and links for going elsewhere. By page views,Google ranks third.”You could argue that IM should be counted, as it’s a place where advertisers can puttheir messages. So the ‘AOL over Yahoo’ case is justified in that respect. However, theGoogle case is less compelling. Its search engine is primarily built for efficiency andspeed, so it seems unfair to judge them based on ‘time spent on site’. Advertisers inthat case are more interested in page views (or more precisely, relevancy).How does this affect blogs?Blogs are a good case where ‘time spent’ is more meaningful than pageviews. Especially since the blogosphere is particularly prone to the ‘quantity overquality’ problem. It’s easy to pump out 20+ posts a day – and that tactic garners a lotof page views. But are those blogs actually writing for their readers, or writing to getpage views? In other words, check the ‘time spent on site’ figures for those blogs and Ithink you’d find it is very low – because users click through, find nothing of value, andquickly leave. Is that good for advertisers on those sites? No it isn’t. So in the caseof blogs, I’d argue that ‘time spent on site’ is a better measure than the easily gamed(or at least cynically exploited) page view model.What Nielsen’s Competitors Are DoingThe AP report states that Nielsen’s rival, comScore Media Metrix, “addressed the riseof Ajax with the development of site “visits” — defined as the number of times aperson returns to a site with a break of at least a half-hour.” But that doesn’ttake into account the effectiveness of a site, because again people could be visiting asite due to it being highly ranked in Google – yet when they click through they findrubbish content and so very quickly leave.Compete (a R/WW sponsor) has a good measurecalled ‘engagement’, which measures things like Daily Attention and Average Stay. Alexa measures ‘Page Views per user’. So things arebeginning to change in the web stats industry.Conclusion: One Small Step…On balance I think it will be a stepforward if Nielsen does indeed drop page views for ‘time spent on site’ in itsrankings.It’s not yet a totally satisfying change, because with the likes of Google you want tosomehow measure relevancy and with blogs you want to measure engagement. But it’s atleast a step away from page views, which have become too easily exploited – not just bysome blogs, but also by the likes of Facebook and MySpace (which both make the user gothrough extra clicks to get to what they want). What do you think of this change byNielsen? Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Related Posts last_img

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