Dead page views…it just can’t be true!

I like to think that I live and work in the real world. This is one where web analytics is still a growing (and small) part of most companies online business, and where the advanced concepts being discussed by the worlds web analytics guru’s just can’t be applied. (I refer to one Eric T Peterson’s series on Measureing Visitor Engagement as an example. Apology’s for picking on Eric here as he really is the worlds best web analytics blogger). So the talk of the page view being on its last legs in this article by Steve Rubel makes for fairly scary reading. Surely the page view is a stable, easy-to-understand and (normally) comparable measurement performance indicator, fitting nicely into a company’s monthly website performance sheet. Here’s my reasons why I think Steve R is wrong about this. (in fact Eric P has already published a great article on this subject here)

Fact 1: In most organisations, the success or failure of any business project is in its ability to prove success to the executive team who gave it the go ahead in the first place. In the vast majority of cases this means quoting numbers that executives understand. The humble page view fits perfectly here, and give rise to all sorts of nice, easy-to-understand KPI’s like PV’s per visit, and average time to view x (important) page.

Fact 2: In most organisations, web 2.0 type interactive pages (that negate the use of the page view as a useful measure) are less a concept than an impossible dream. Developing websites cost money. Investment demands a return, and without a proper understanding of the ROI of flash/Ajax/RSS developments, static HTML based websites will continue to be the norm for the foreseeable future.

Fact 3: In static HTML content areas, page views form a major part of the analysis of advertising success (number of ads served for instance) and clickstream analytics. This is especially true of “bounce rate” analysis where 1 visit = 1 page view. Without PV’s where would we be?

For me it looks like the early end to the page view as one of the web’s simpler to understand KPI’s is still some way off.

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mike

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