Alan Spurgeon

Time Spent more important than Page Views

Online research firm Nielsen//Netratings says time spent on a site is more important than page views.

Due to the rising popularity of Ajax websites and web-based videos,  content is being loaded with no web page reloading,  which doesn’t show any value for

Although Nielsen already measures average time spent and average number of sessions of each visitor to a site, it will start reporting total time spent and sessions for all visitors to give advertisers, investors and analysts a broader picture of what sites are most popular, AP reported.

Currently, sites and advertisers often use page views, a figure that reflects the number of Web pages a visitor pulls from a site.

Yahoo and others, however, are increasingly using Ajax, software that allows sites to update data automatically and continually, without users needing to pull up new pages. This has meant that page views decline as a result.

Nielsen’s rival, comScore Media Metrix, also has addressed the rise of Ajax with the development of site “visits”, defined as the number of times a person returns to a site with a break of at least a half-hour.

Page views also drop as people spend more time watching online video at sites like YouTube, owned by Google.

Scott Ross, director of product marketing at Nielsen, told AP: “Based on everything that’s going on with the influx of Ajax and streaming, we feel total minutes is the best gauge for site traffic.”

Nielsen//Netratings said it will still record page views, but they will no longer be formally ranked.

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