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The Growing Irrelevance of Page Views

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I’ve been suggesting for a while to clients and workshop audiences that page views are increasingly irrelevant.

Steve Rubel argues that so-called Web 2.0 applications built in Flash, AJAX, and other technologies will allow users to see and do everything they want from within a single page, rendering page views as a form of measurement inaccurate. In a comment to Steve’s post, I suggested RSS feeds also diminish the page view’s value. I breeze through several hundred pages ever morning, sometimes twice a day, ignoring sites with no new content and rarely visiting the sites whose content does interest me-I read it directly from the news reader that never touches the web page.

The uptake of RSS has been slow, mostly because it was too geeky for most people to get started. But most browsers have subscription and feed management built in, and Internet Explorer 7 has its RSS integration down cold.

Advertisers, of course, depend on page views to assess the value of a site as a venue for their ads, so as the page view fades from the scene, companies will have to find other means of reaching their audiences. Some people like the idea of ads in the feed. That might work, but ultimately, more creative marketing that moves away from intrusive advertising will be more effective.

In any case, explaining RSS’s impact on the death throes of page views isn’t easy, but John Wall has done a great job with a very short screencast that makes the concept crystal clear. (John is the host of The M Show and author of the new (and terrific) Ronin Marketer blog.) Using the features of IE7, he walks you through the subscription process and how it dramatically reduces the number of actual web pages you’ll visit.

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Shel Holtz is principal of Holtz Communication + Technology which focuses on helping organizations apply online communication capabilities to their strategic organizational communications.

As a professional communicator, Shel also writes the blog a shel of my former self.

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