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Steve Rubel wrote:

"The page view is on life support. It fails to capture all of the myriad of ways consumers engage in online activities without ever leaving a web page. To get a feel for this, spend some time playing with Yourminis. So what will replace it and when will that happen? Let’s handicap the field." On his blog What Will Replace the Almighty Page View and he thinks it will be events or time spent.

Eric Peterson voiced his opinions on this subject on his blog
Worried about page views dying? Don’t be.

I however, have a different opinion than Steve and Eric. I think Unique Users make the most sense of all the different metrics that are discussed in these two articles. I also think that maybe we should not just rely on a single metrics such as page views, unique users, no. of events, sessions etc? Maybe it is time to find a new metrics combining some (or all) of these above metrics to compare web sites?

I am going to list my reasons why I think, time spent, event, pages views and session by themselves don’t make sense as measure to rank one site against another.

Time Spent on Site: I am not going to go into detail on this one, you can read my blog article that explains why I am not a big fan of "Time Spent on Site".

Page Views:

Page views were not the right metrics to compare web properties to begin with. Why? Because they can be manipulated very easily. Say it t takes 2+ pages on site A to do anything compared to 1 page on site B, is site A really doing better than site B? Additionally you can split your content in as many pages as you want, there is no min standard page size, thus inflating page views.

Events: I think events will have the same issues as page views, plus everything in flash or AJAX interaction could be an event, where do you draw the line? What count’s as a valid event?

Session: I agree with Eric that this is a relatively stable metrics and agree with all the things he listed out for session. However, I don’t think sessions (alone) make sense as measure of measuring relative value of web properties.
I agree that Unique users have issues but those issues affect every web property, most likely in similar fashion. For example, if I delete my cookies, most likely I will delete for both myspace and yahoo.

Here is an example to make my point:
I go to myspace and read 2 pages in 1 min, wait 31 mins and then go back and read 2 more pages in 1 min. So here is what the web analytics reports will look like

2 sessions (visits)
1 unique users
4 page views
2 mins.

Now I go to yahoo spend 2 mins reading 4 pages in 1 session. Here is what the web analytics report will look like

1 session
1 unique users
4 page views
2 mins

What about the following scenario

Which property is number 1? Aren’t they both the same? If you use Session myspace appear to be number 1. But if you look at Unique Users and rest everything too, they both are equal.

What about the following scenario

I go to myspace site and read 2 pages in 1 min, wait 31 mins and then go back and read 2 more pages in 1 min then come back after 2 hours and read 2 more pages for 1 min. So here is what the web analytics report will look like

3 sessions
1 unique users
6 page views
3 mins.

Now I go to Yahoo spend 2 mins reading 4 pages in 1 session. My friend goes and reads 2 pages in 1 mins in one session. Here is what report will look like

2 sessions
2 unique users
6 page views
3 mins

Which property is number 1? Session will say myspace, even tough yahoo is getting more users?.

Will an advertiser be happy by showing same ad 10 times to one user in (more session but only 1 user) or they will be happier by showing the 5 times to 2 users (fewer sessions but more users)? So shouldn’t yahoo be number one in this scenario?

Let’s face it, it is about unique users. But other metrics do play a role in determining the value of a website

So do you agree that it is time to find a new metrics combining some (or all) of these above metrics? Comments/Thoughts?

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About the Author

http://webanalysis.blogspot.com

Anil has over 10 years of experience in Consulting, Business Intelligence, Web Analytics, Online Advertising and Behavioral Targeting. Anil helps companies use Web channel data to improve online business results (lead generation, conversion, retention and self-help metrics). Anil has helped several fortune 500 customers effectively use web analytics and increase their ROI on the web. Anil has worked with customers such as Microsoft, SmartMoney.com, ESPN, T-Mobile, Hoovers, Realnetworks, Starbucks, and TheStreet.com.

Anil holds a B. Tech in Electronics and Communication Engineering from India and an MBA from University of Washington, Seattle.

Search for Metrics to Compare Sites
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About Anil Batra
http://webanalysis.blogspot.com

Anil has over 10 years of experience in Consulting, Business Intelligence, Web Analytics, Online Advertising and Behavioral Targeting. Anil helps companies use Web channel data to improve online business results (lead generation, conversion, retention and self-help metrics). Anil has helped several fortune 500 customers effectively use web analytics and increase their ROI on the web. Anil has worked with customers such as Microsoft, SmartMoney.com, ESPN, T-Mobile, Hoovers, Realnetworks, Starbucks, and TheStreet.com

Anil holds a B. Tech in Electronics and Communication Engineering from India and an MBA from University of Washington, Seattle. WebProNews Writer
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