Steve Rubel on Micro Persuasion says “page view metrics have four years to live”.
Here is what he says —”Underneath the Internet advertising economy is a key metric that dictates how properties are valued and how online media is bought and sold - the page view. While it's not the only way to measure the health of a site (time spent and unique users are among the others), it's still very popular. Unfortunately, the trusty page view is on life support and I give it four years to live.”
This may sound like heresy to most of you. After all, the page view has served us well. It has established a universal way to measure web sites. However, the metric is about to become a moot point.
The page view does not offer a suitable way to measure the next generation of web sites. These sites will be built with Ajax, Flash and other interactive technologies that allow the user to conduct affairs all within a single web page - like Gmail or the Google Reader. This eliminates the need to click from one page to another. The widgetization of the web will only accelerate this.
This is a dirty little secret in the advertising business that no one wants to talk about. Media companies love to promote how many page views their properties get. They've used the data to build equity. They will fight it tooth and nail to protect it, perhaps by not embracing interactive technologies as quickly as they should. But that's not going to stop the revolution from coming.
Microsoft (an Edelman client) and Google are each pushing platforms that are very interactive and reduce the need to turn pages. Over time millions of users will grow to love these services. They will like how they can accomplish so much so quickly, without ever having to go anywhere else. Smart companies like ESPN and The New York Times get it so they're wisely establishing their own interactive platforms. But they're in the minority.
As the page view platform crumbles, there's going to be a shake out. Everyone is going to scramble to find a metric that helps them compete for ad dollars. What alternatives will be used? Ryan Stewart suggests more emphasis will be placed on how much time people spend with a website, and also an "interaction rate" - how much interactivity there is (mouseclicks etc). Another likely trend is rotating ads - ads that change periodically and update according to page context.