Pageviews are to 2009 as “Hits” are to 1997.
Pageviews are so simple to understand. It says, “Page” and “Views”. It must mean “it’s the number of pages that were viewed on the website”.
And it’s so scalable too! I mean, somebody can ask me, “How many pageviews did this page get”, and you can tell them, and people will say, ‘okay’. It’s a directional number. Sort of like how ‘hits’ were back in the day. And in a soundbyte world, easy wins. It’s not all easy though. It’s easy to interpret a number the way you want to.
Sometimes, people will misinterpret ‘pageviews’ to mean ‘people’ – just as people (I verbally slip from time to time) will confuse unique visitors with ‘people’. (It’s not the same thing.) Truth be told, I don’t actually count ‘people’ in web analytics.
But what do pageviews really do for me? What’s the value of the metric?
We’re living in the age of JQUERY and the post Flashturbation era. We’re in a post-page refresh paradigm. I can go to a site, spend 60 minutes on it engaging with a game or a product comparison unit, and the site owner would believe that my visit was a failure. (Time spent on site = zero, bounce rate 100%, under the pure pageview paradigm).
There are so many better metrics to be had. Just most of them havn’t been deployed (properly and harmonized with the rest of the package) yet.
Did I watch a video? How long did the video run? Did I submit a comment? Did I rate a product? What else did I do while I was on the page? How many actions did I take?
Then I ask you, the community – what would you count as a successful visit?
Isn’t it sufficient that I came, I engaged, and that I am more likely to return later to continue on my relationship with your site – ultimately engaging in the future? What ever happened to the customer lifecycle? Could it be that the last generation of web analytics software was built by advertisers instead of by marketers?
I’m not just satisfied with knowing “how many”. I’ve never been. “How many” is advertiser talk.
I want to know “how many and what”, and more importantly, “how many and what and anonymously ‘who'”. I want web analytics for the marketer. I will gladly sacrifice understandability, ‘easyness’, for more complexity if it means I can tell richer, deeper, more actionable insights.
For those reasons, I say, screw pageviews.