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Measuring Visitor Attention

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Last month, comScore changed from measuring page views to their new “visits” metric, designed to better measure visitor engagement. Or, as they put it, “visits” measures “the number of times a unique person accesses content within a Web entity with breaks between access of at least 30 minutes, is a way of measuring the frequency with which a person views content, thereby illustrating a key component of user engagement.”

Nielsen//NetRatings is not one to be left behind. The The Wall Street Journal (sub req) reports on NTRT’s new metric: “Nielsen/NetRatings, in June will release what it calls ‘time-spent’ data and stop issuing its rankings by page views.”

Bryan Eisenberg asks the obvious questions:

  • Do you ever open up a browser and get distracted by a phone call, a meeting, your kids, or an instant message? Will the time the “page” is open be counted there as well?
  • Have these folks never heard of tabbed browsing? Stop reading for a moment. How many tabs or browsers do you have open at the moment. More than one, most likely. People keep 6 or 7 tabs opened and would all of them count as time spent from the moment that tab was opened? That’s a clear indication that someone is engaged, huh?

And here’s one more obvious question: what do they mean by “time-spent” data? I mean, seriously, they can’t really just be measuring the amount of time a page is open on a browser window… right?

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About Jordan McCollum
Jordan McCollum is a staff writer for the popular marketing blog Marketing Pilgrim. She has worked in search engine optimization with clients including 3M, Little Giant Ladders and ADP. After graduating from Brigham Young University, Jordan joined the SEO copywriting team at the Internet marketing firm 10x Marketing. After 10x closed its doors in December 2006, Jordan became a freelance writer and Internet marketing consultant specializing in SEO. She also has extensive experience with web analytics, conversion rate enhancement and e-mail marketing. WebProNews Writer
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