Page Views — Losing Its Front-Runner Status

When discussing site traffic, you always hear about Unique Visitors or Page Views. Although actual numbers are endlessly debated, these metrics are treated as the lingua franca among publishers and advertisers. Yet even these stalwarts change, and page views will lose its front-runner status during 2007. It’s about time.

Even comScore says page views are not enough. They are planning to incorporate the missing consumption of dynamic content. In last week’s press release, CEO Magid Abraham announced “enhanced metrics of user engagement and advertising exposure” next year. He explained the need to reflect “new technologies such as AJAX – which enable real-time site updates without needing to refresh a page.”

What will replace or enhance page views? No word yet. There’s an opportunity to get this right, not only calculations but also industry-wide acceptance. Micro Persuasion believes that suppliers should start thinking small, as marketers focus on the “influence circles within the niches that matter to them.” Yet the big ad buyers will not evaporate, and also require ongoing support.

Some “pages-plus” metric is overdue, one that captures unique content and ad views. It needs to be something that’s projected and tracked by everyone. Its biases must be explained and at least partially understood. Finally, it should become the new denominator for calculating effective RPMs, which means it will have to be lingua franca again.

A lot is riding on this metric, and I look forward to the debate.

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