The death of the page view July 14, 2007Posted by Arun Rajagopal in Conversations, Digital.
Guess who died last week. The venerable page view. Last Tuesday, Nielsen/NetRatings, the world’s leading Internet stats measurement behemoth “scrapped rankings” based on the industry yardstick of page views and replaced it with how long visitors stay at websites. This move comes as online video and new technologies such as Ajax increasingly make page views less meaningful.
However, the new metric adopted by Nielsen/NetRatings to rank top websites is equally problematic. Time spent on each website is not an effective yardstick to measure online popularity. Take the example of Google Search vs. YouTube. The reason d’etre of the former is to serve users with the best search results at the MINIMUM possible time while the latter wants users to stick around for ever checking out user-generated content. Which is a qualitatively effective & popular online property?
Even measuring unique visitors is not considered an effective metric to measure online popularity because smart-ass users are doing all sorts of things (clearing cookies, using different computers) to defeat the technology.
The new ranking has hit a body blow to websites such as Google & Yahoo who rely on Web 2.0 technologies. AOL benefits immensely on account of its IM software. Viral media benefits, while search websites will feel the pinch.
However, web stats providers are missing out on the most impactful website statistic ever: Action. With the impending oblivion of the page view metric, digital brands and web solutions providers need to think of creating online properties and define their success in terms of smarter measurable actions (clicks, conversion or customer leads).
This news has interesting implications for my blog & my career. I’m gonna stop bothering about page loads on this blog & focus more on blogging relationships & the content that has made it possible.
And at work, I’ll do more to help clients see that there’s more to online effectiveness than page views & hits. That quality matters more than quantity.
As for now, it looks like web properties with the most engaging user experience are going to rule the roost with the Nielsen move!