Nielsen/NetRatings, a leading online measurement service, plans to stop ranking sites by number of page views and begin tracking how long visitors spend at the sites. Although Nielsen already measures average time spent and average number of sessions per visitor for each site, it will start reporting total time spent and sessions for all visitors to give advertisers, investors and analysts a broader picture of what sites are most popular.
The move makes sense if you consider the time users spend watching video online and sites with technologies such as Ajax that update data continually, making page views less meaningful. “Based on everything that’s going on with the influx of Ajax and streaming, we feel total minutes is the best gauge for site traffic. We’re changing our stance on how the data should be” used, said Scott Ross, director of product marketing at Nielsen. Nielsen will still provide page view figures but won’t formally rank them. Ross said page view remains a valid gauge of a site’s ad inventory, but time spent is better for capturing the level of engagement users have with a site.
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