The Page View on Life Support

Max Kalehoff reports in the MediaPost blog on the slow demise of the page view as a solid value metric.

“A debate in the blogosphere and trade press over the relevance of the Web page-view metric picked up steam in the latter half of 2006. While many argued the metric has never been more than a rough proxy of impressions, it is the universal currency of online media buyers and sellers, and it’s making publishers increasingly, if secretly, anxious. ”

“The underlying issue is the adoption of new Web technologies, like Ajax and Flash, which increasingly eliminate the need to reload a Web page. (Think of more dynamic services like Google Maps, Yahoo Mail, Flickr and YouTube videos embedded in blogs.) These technologies, while enhancing usability and increasing functionality, usually result in fewer page views for the publisher, and, ahem, fewer CPMs to sell. This more complicated Web means clickstream, consumption and interaction is now far less represented by the page view. ”

“Not surprisingly, the death of the page view has been predicted and touted recently by some of the Web’s more forward-looking champions of such aforementioned technologies–people like Fred Wilson, Steve Rubel, Steve Gillmor, Niall Kennedy and Fredric Paul. And with MySpace overtaking Yahoo in the page-view chest-beating race, Peter Daboll, Yahoo’s chief of insights (…) also came out last month to boldly argue for a page-view death sentence.” (…)

What it means: I stopped being a fan of page views in 2001 when I discovered that unique visits and unique visitors were a much better value indicator for a local search site. When the search engine economy picked up steam in 2004, I switched my interest to searches. I’m now a proponent of converted searches (i.e. searches that convert into desired action) as a better ROI measure. As I like to say: “Not all searches are born equal”. But there’s no good third-party reporting tool that will allow you to measure this.


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