I love blogging. I love being at the cutting edge of technology and love telling stories of amazing companies, products and people and how the world is changing. As the blog grows so do the costs and, just like every business, I looked to earn revenue by working with brands. This is when I discovered a flaw as brands are obsessed with the term “Pageviews”.
In order to evaluate if the blog is worthy of the brand’s advertising money, the brands are looking for something to measure. The simplest number is the number of pages being viewed on the blog. The most pages being viewed, the better the blog is.
Sound fair right?
Nope. I put it to you that Pageviews are the absolute wrong stats to be monitoring.
Here is why Pageviews are the wrong stats to measure:
The premise is that a website that has a large number of views is seen as more successful or more valuable than a site that has fewer views. Content Publishers support that and argue that due to great content people keep coming back to read the wonderfully crafted articles.
However, a major study conducted by Chartbeat, a data analysis company, analyzed deep user behavior across 2 billion visits across the web over the course of a month and found that 55% spent fewer than 15 seconds actively on a page.
So let that sink in. 1 billion pages on the web, in a month, were seen for less than 15 seconds.
We can all agree that spending less than 15 seconds on a page means that the content is not being read. Therefore, why would we measure success or the value of a site based on these 15-seconds non-reading numbers?
I equate Pageviews to hundreds of people making prank phone calls to your company and 15 seconds later hanging up. Then calling again and hanging up again after 15 seconds. No company will look at their incoming telephone report and boast about their amazing customers.
“Why are Pageviews so popular as a measuring stat?” you might ask. Good question.
Sites that generate revenue from ads would argue that more Pageviews are an indication of the site’s popularity due to its content. However, they have a vested interest in keeping the “Pageview is King” myth alive as this view supports their business model of generating income based on the number of pages showed.
The more pages, the more ad-impressions there is for brands to buy, which results in more money being generated for the site owner. This is why we often see sites that split one story over many pages as each page is an ad-opportunity. We see slideshows that require the clicking of the Next button and childish headlines like “you gotta see this – number 3 is not even possible” – all to encourage “the click”.
The less scrupulous site owners will turn to simply buying clicks and page view services that are littered all over the web. For $9.99 you can buy 10 000 impressions and even specify the originating country of the clicks to make your stats look impressive.
All these tricks increase the total number of Pageviews and look great on a proposal but in reality offer very little value to the brand advertising.
What should you measure instead of Pageviews ?
A site’s success benchmark should be around TIME Engagement. Engagement can be measured based around several real logical factors such as legitimate comments an article receives, number of “contact me” forms being completed, the number of people that read the content and found enough value to share that content with their followers. These are all indicators of a good engaged audience.
The most telling statistic that should be measured is the amount of time spent reading the content. A reader that spends more than 15-seconds on the page shows that the site has their attention. The site have given them a reason to stay. The site has great content. This is what brands should be after.
Who cares about how many views a website receives in total, brands should care about the audience that reads the content. That is the audience they are trying to reach.
Stop asking for Pageviews and start asking for Time.
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