One of the popular stories going around today is that of Nielsen/NetRatings (an online measurement service) scrapping the basing of their ratings being based upon page views and moving to tracking how long people spend on a site. This is as a result of the increased use of video and tools like Ajax which mean people are not refreshing pages all the time.
There’s been some interesting observations being made around the blogosphere and Richard MacManus gives a few observations as it relates to blogging:
“Blogs are a good case where ‘time spent’ is more meaningful than page views. Especially since the blogosphere is particularly prone to the ‘quantity over quality’ problem. It’s easy to pump out 20+ posts a day – and that tactic garners a lot of page views. But are those blogs actually writing for their readers, or writing to get page views? In other words, check the ‘time spent on site’ figures for those blogs and I think you’d find it is very low – because users click through, find nothing of value, and quickly leave. Is that good for advertisers on those sites? No it isn’t. So in the case of 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.”
It’s interesting that he says this because I’ve noticed in tracking my own blog’s statistics over the last six months that I’ve been looking less at the page views count and more at stats like bounce rate (how many people leave the site without surfing deeper into it) and time spent on blog.
Page views still are something I do like to build in that they are still related to income (many of the income streams still have an impression based focus) – but I think we’ll see more changes in what the ad networks are doing also. Google’s been moving more focus to ‘Cost per Action’ and I still think we’ll see some attempts at some sort of an ‘Cost per Time’ ad network – or at least an ad network that refreshes ads over time.
So page views are not completely dead for me – but they’re definitely less important than they once were.
What metrics do you look at? Are page views still important to you?