ComScore Networks Inc.'s latest monthly worldwide ranking of popular Web sites shows that the sites with the most unique visitors aren't always the ones with the most engaged users.
While the usual suspects topped February's list according to the traditional metric of unique visitors, three Asian sites grabbed the top spots when popularity was measured by average visits per visitor, one in a new set of metrics comScore announced last month.
Although comScore still considers unique visitors as a valid way to evaluate a site's popularity, it has found that average visits per visitor provides a good complement by shining a light on return visits, which demonstrate user engagement and loyalty.
In February, Microsoft Corp.'s site network ranked first according to unique visitors with 507.3 million, followed by Google Inc.'s with 503 million, Yahoo Inc.'s with 459 million, Time Warner Inc.'s with 256.2 million and eBay Inc.'s with almost 249 million, comScore said Tuesday.
However, when measured according to average visits per visitor, the story changes, with
South Korea's NHN Corp. ranking first with an average of 33 visits per visitor, followed by China's Tencent Inc. (31) and Rising.com.cn (29), also in China. Google came in fourth place with an average of 24 visits per visitor, followed by Microsoft and Facebook, each with 22 and Yahoo with 21. Time Warner got the ninth spot with 13. In terms of unique visitors, NHN ranked in 47th place, Tencent in 21st place and Rising.com.cn in 89th place.
While unique visitors show a site's broad popularity, average visits per visitor show how important a site is to an individual's life, said Bob Ivins, managing director of comScore's Europe unit.
If a user visits a site, comScore considers the visit ended after the user hasn't interacted with the site for 30 minutes. Other metrics in comScore's new set include total visits, average minutes per visit and average visits per usage day. The company didn't disclose rankings by those metrics.
ComScore announced this new set of metrics in March, saying that as Web site technology and content evolve, the ways of measuring sites' popularity have to adapt.
For example, with the adoption of content syndication feeds, online video and AJAX interfaces, the page view metric has become less relevant, while time spent online and the new visit measures ahve become more important, Ivins said.
Source:? PC World
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