The Web’s Imperfect Method of Measuring Audience Attention & Value

In his new role as ad-sales research chief at Yahoo, it looks like former comScore Media Metrix president Peter Daboll is successfully prompting mainstream attention to the page view measurement unit, as evidenced by the AP:

"These technologies have outgrown the metrics," said Peter Daboll, Yahoo’s chief of insights and the former chief executive of comScore Media Metrix, the measurement company that declared Yahoo second to the online hangout MySpace in page views. "It’s really important as an industry to come back down to earth and off this chest-thumping about who’s biggest."

More important than "truckloads of page views," Daboll said, are visitors’ loyalty and their willingness to respond to ads _ qualities harder to measure. If a page updates on its own without reloading in its entirety, people may be sticking around longer than the measurements suggest.

Jakob Nielsen hits the nail on the head of why page views are so detrimental to innovation and consumer appeal:

"Because you are measuring the wrong things, you are driving your project in the wrong direction," Nielsen said. "You are not maximizing what causes value. You are maximizing the things a computer can count easily."

In addition to page views, the Web industry needs to have a serious discussion about the related issue of advertising clutter. The two are inextricably linked.

Published by Max Kalehoff

Father, sailor and marketing executive.

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