Can 'Visits' Replace Pageviews?

  |  March 14, 2007   |  Comments

ComScore Media Metrix has introduced a new metric to better describe engagement.

In an attempt to provide advertisers with a new way to measure site traffic and engagement, comScore has added a new metric to its Media Metrix subscription reports: the visit. A visit measures the number of distinct times people visit a site per day, with at least 30 minutes between each visit.

"We wanted to get more into engagement and intensity of usage, and help better understand who the audience is," Jack Flanagan, EVP at comScore Media Metrix, told ClickZ. By measuring the frequency with which a person views content, the metric aims to illustrate a component of user engagement.

Visits will augment the "frequency" metric, which counts the average number of days per month a user visits, and "unique visitors," which counts the total number of people who visit in a month. Its advantage over "unique visitors" is that it can show more details on user engagement, Flanagan said.

For instance, a visitor that comes to a site once in a month will be counted as one unique visitor, as will a visitor that comes to the site every day that month. With visits, that user can be shown to be a loyal visitor, who visits the site multiple times a day. The visits metric will also be used to calculate "average visits per visitor," which will show return visits per unique individual during the course of a month.

This is the first new metric comScore has added in a while, and it was mostly driven by the growing dissatisfaction with the pageview as more sites begin implementing technologies like AJAX or Flash that limit the usefulness of measuring an HTML-based action like a pageview.

In a post on Yahoo's Yodel Anecdotal blog last week, Chief of Insights Peter Daboll said he found that visits could be a useful addition to his analytics reports.

"With 'visits,' we get an added layer of data that, combined with reach (the number of users) and engagement (how long they stay), yields a much more comprehensive and meaningful portrait of people’s interactions and activities online," he said.

Daboll was quick to point out that the visit is not a "silver bullet," given its limitation on measuring ad consumption and impressions. But it does offer more information publishers of sticky sites can use to demonstrate the value of their audience.

"What it does provide is a valuable reference for advertisers to determine where to increase their ad exposure and budgets. The more loyal users and 'visits' a site has, the more opportunities a particular ad has to be seen. It’s also a key measure of a site’s value and impact to a consumer’s life," he said.

Flanagan said the issue of ad impressions is being addressed with another product, Ad Metrix, which comScore is currently working on. That product, currently in beta, will report ad impressions and ad-exposed unique visitors, and will be available some time this summer, he said.

A chart comparing unique visitors and average visits per visitor in February finds significant differences in the rankings for the top ten Web properties. While Yahoo remains atop the list under both methods, Time Warner slips from second to fourth, Google slips from third to sixth, Microsoft climbs from fourth to third, and eBay slips from fifth place to beyond the top 10 altogether when measured using the visits metric.

On the other side, Facebook comes from 36th place under the unique visitors model to land at second in the visits model, and Weatherbug does the same to reach fifth place from 48th.


ClickZ Live New York Want to learn more?
Attend ClickZ Live New York March 30 - April 1. With over 15 years' experience delivering industry-leading events, ClickZ Live brings together over 60 expert speakers to offer an action-packed, educationally-focused agenda covering all aspects of digital marketing. Register today!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kevin Newcomb

Kevin Newcomb joined ClickZ in August 2004, covering search marketing and other online marketing topics. He has been reporting on web-based businesses since 2000.

Before the bubble burst, Kevin was a marketing manager for an online computer reseller, handling copywriting, e-mail marketing, search marketing and running the affiliate program.

With a combination of real-world marketing experience and years of business journalism, Kevin brings to ClickZ a unique ability to deliver news and training materials that help online marketers do their jobs better.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

ClickZ Today is our #1 newsletter.
Get a daily dose of digital marketing.

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

UPCOMING TRAINING

Featured White Papers

A Buyer's Guide to Affiliate Management Software

A Buyer's Guide to Affiliate Management Software
Manage your performance marketing with the right solution. Choose a platform that will mutually empower advertisers and media partners!

Google My Business Listings Demystified

Google My Business Listings Demystified
To help brands control how they appear online, Google has developed a new offering: Google My Business Locations. This whitepaper helps marketers understand how to use this powerful new tool.

Jobs

    • Website Optimizer - SEO, CRO, Analytics
      Website Optimizer - SEO, CRO, Analytics (Marcel Digital) - ChicagoMarcel Digital, an award winning interactive marketing agency established in 2003...
    • Director of Marketing
      Director of Marketing (Patron Technology) - New YorkDirector of Marketing We are seeking a Director of Marketing to manage and build our marketing...
    • Senior Interactive Producer
      Senior Interactive Producer (Ready Set Rocket) - New YorkWhat You'll Do As a member of our team, the Senior Producer reports directly to our...