Wednesday, August 30th, 2006

Pageviews are Obsolete

Category: Ajax, Articles

<>p> In a new posting on Evhead.com, they talk about the slow demise of something both advertisers and those monitoring a site’s stats will just have to come to grips with – pageviews are obsolete.

Remember when web site traffic was talked about in terms of “hits”? You’d read about how many millions of hits Netscape got per month and other sites bragged about getting 30,000 hits a day. Eventually, we moved away from the term hit because everyone realized it was pretty meaningless.

Pageviews replaced hits as the primary traffic metric not just because they’re more meaningful, but because it also determined how many ads could be served. Reach (number of unique visitors) is also important, of course. comScore/Media Metrix uses uniques as its primary metric, because mainstream advertisers want to reach a lot of people, not just the same people over and over.

But it’s this pageviews part that I think needs to be more seriously questioned.

They note that their reasoning includes the design of the site, including, but not limited to, the introduction of Ajax page loads inside. Even the lightest Ajax usage can have an effect on the overall stats of your site. Most Ajax functionality is made to replace going off to another page to perform a task, so each load of that is lost – along with any ad dollars that might have come from it.

So, the real question he poses is – “what’s a better measurement?” Is there a good way to integrate this new kind of interfacing with our more traditional stats. How do you explain to advertisers that just becaue your page views dropped when putting in this new feature, it’s actually a good thing?

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A more meaningful measure in my opinion would be “ad views”. With Ajax you can serve up ads in response to events. For example, if I’m looking at a tv listing and I hover over “Lost” then the ad at the top of the page could rotate to “Lost: Season 2 on DVD”. Some may say that this is bad because even with millions of visitors users may not trigger the events that serve up your ads. While this is true, the HUGE benefit is that your ads are now being presented to a more target audience (farther down the funnel as Seth Goding might say).

Comment by Steve Akers — August 30, 2006

Sales. Whoops, web2.0 doesnt do sales. Thats too enterprisey!

Our calculations for stealth startup, taken from our web2.0 business model presentation:

number of peeps = huge * diggs
cost per peep = nothing / ( huge * diggs )
venture capital per peep = cost per peep * idiot peep investors
income per peep = the long tail

Comment by benji — August 30, 2006

I think advertisers have to start looking at the fact that, in the end, web ads are similar to print ads in that they promote brand recognition. If you’re on a page that is an application, you’ll have that ad on the page the whole time you’re there. That’s a hell of a lot better than having someone hit a page via Google, then leave just as quickly.

In the print world, advertisers pay big bucks to have their ad in a major publication, and there is no way to tell if that ad has had an effect on the viewer. Why should it matter so much in the online world? Advertisers are fooling themselves if they can get *any* proper measurement of individual viewer behaviour based on an ad impression.

Comment by CM Harrington — August 30, 2006

[...] So, the real question he poses is – “what’s a better measurement?” Is there a good way to integrate this new kind of interfacing with our more traditional stats. How do you explain to advertisers that just becaue your page views dropped when putting in this new feature, it’s actually a good thing?[via] [...]

Pingback by BlogForward : Money » Pageviews are Obsolete — August 30, 2006

The real challenge is to build custom stats that is relevant to the application: number of product views, number of ad views. This is a bigger task than just counting pageviews – but it can also give us an opportunity to have a much more fine-grained view of what the users actually are interested in, and what parts of our application that works.

Comment by kristian.j — September 1, 2006

Simple, as has been said, just count the ad views. I personally hate ads and i dont even try to get money off that, but.. if there is a need for a measurement or – more exactly – a new way to display them to wipe out the pageview-argument, then just put some self-updating adspace on your project and count those to your partners. It’s really nothing i would waste too much time thinking upon. The question siteowners have to ask while negotiating with possible clients will always be “how often shall we show the advertisement?”, nothing else. It should be clear that if you got to that point they already found the site valuable enough so it is no big deal.

Comment by K. Bublitz — September 3, 2006

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