Yahoo Approves Of Visits As Metric

    March 9, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

Measuring page views doesn’t feed the bulldog these days, thanks to dynamic technologies that update web pages without forcing a full page reload.

When we looked at My Yahoo earlier, we noted the preference Yahoo has for dynamic web pages. Users like them because they make web pages look and respond like a desktop application.

It’s a kind of ‘Back to the Future’ approach to web development; Microsoft came up with the concept of dynamic HTML years ago, but it wasn’t until Jesse James Garrett at Adaptive Path coined the term Ajax, for Asynchronous JavaScript and XML, that it took off with developers.

Now the ample backside of Ajax and the whole Web 2.0 meme has come back and plopped down right in the middle of the world of website analytics. The page view of yesteryear has become an unreliable measurement.

That’s dangerous to companies like Yahoo, which sell display ads to premium brand companies at lucrative rates. Page views go down and advertisers want a much closer look at where their money goes, and why.

Enter the concept of visits, espoused by comScore and explained by Yahoo’s Peter Daboll, chief of insights, on the Yodel Anecdotal blog.

Daboll and others have foreseen the demise of the page view as a relevant demographic. Ajax and Flash have moved beyond what page views can depict in analytics. Visits will be much more important when it comes to measuring the web experience (spacing added because techies for all their brilliance tend to like big unwieldy blocks of text):

Here’s how it works: As you sip your morning coffee, you scan the headlines of the day, you write a couples emails on Yahoo! Mail, and then do a quick read on your stocks at Yahoo! Finance.

1 visit.

After three back-to-back meetings, you remember that your significant other’s birthday is coming up, so you check out the Yahoo! Travel reviews for user recommendations on the most romantic hotel and book your last minute getaway.

2 visits.

When you come back from lunch, you check to see if your friend has responded to your email about next week’s party.

3 visits.

As you pack up to leave, you go to Yahoo! Local to look up that new sushi bar two cities away, and click Yahoo! Maps for directions to the restaurant.

4 visits.

It isn’t the ultimate answer to the questions metrics try to address, like ad impressions and consumption as Daboll noted.

"What it does provide is a valuable reference for advertisers to determine where to increase their ad exposure and budgets. The more loyal users and “visits” a site has, the more opportunities a particular ad has to be seen," he wrote.

With visits as a new and functional metric, the future seems filled with opportunities.