Page View: It doesn’t matter anymore

If you are a blogger, youtuber, instagrammer or influencer in any social media channel, this will be a good read for you. If you are a marketer, it is equivalently important to you…unless you choose to be ignorant.

THE PAGE VIEW is a zombie. For years, everyone has been saying it is no longer a meaningful way to measure online popularity. But the publishers (bloggers included) who make websites and the advertisers who pay for them swore throughout the year that they’re no longer fooled. The era where a mere click is the crown jewel of metrics is dead. But someone still needs to shoot this zombie in the head.

The page view was once the key way websites understood their audiences. It was the way news organizations figured out who was reading their stories — how many, how often, which, from where — and the way advertisers were able to calculate the value of serving up ads on those sites.

But the page view notoriously spawned that most reviled of Internet aggravations: clickbait.

Quality became less important than provocation; the curiosity gap supplanted craft. The page view also drove the primacy of “search engine optimization,” or the technique of selecting keywords in headlines, metadata, and text to push articles higher in Google’s page-ranking algorithms. All of this served an online publishing economy propped up by display ads, which helped cement the assumption that news on the Internet should be free.

Size doesn’t matter — it’s who views your content

More important than how many page views you are getting is who and how they are interacting with your content.

More is Better

Along with its corrupting effects, the page view itself has been corrupted. It’s easy to fake.

Simulating to you relationship between clicks and interest of audience to your content

Think using clicking through slides in Slideshare. Advertisers get that counting each click on an endless slideshow as a page view doesn’t equal a multiple of genuine interest over the initial click that brought a reader to the page. It’s low-quality “engagement” — the Internet equivalent of flipping through channels.

And yet the page view hasn’t gone away. Futhermore, with the latest on referral spams (namely ghost referrals). With spam as such contributing upto 20% of one’s page views, it further thins the reliability of the engagement that you are having with your audience.

Sites can even buy bots to “click” and artificially inflate their page-view count. This kind of fraud has become a serious concern for marketers and the advertising industry, who have begun to prefer assurances that ads are actually being seen by real human beings be it on mobile or the web. Great when you are reporting “we have xxxx page views for our campaigns!” but…did it really hit your target audience?

As a result, the advertising industry is looking for more meaningful metrics. Concepts like “viewability” and “transparency” are gaining currency, though what they mean and how they’re measured are still up for grabs.

The Metrics System

That’s not to say that digital metrics have disappeared altogether. We’re at a point where the percent of media budget spent on digital is significant enough that marketers are starting to ask questions.

The biggest question is: where is the money going?

Ultimately, what publishers (this includes influencers) and advertisers care about most, however, is how much quality time a person spends with a story. To judge that, publishers are developing newer metrics like “time spent” reading, “scroll depth,” “engagement,” “recirculation,” “shares,” and “percentage of article completed.”

In other words, able to measure how engaging and shareable the content is about the quality of content created.

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