The Pre-emptive Killing of the Pageview

If you know anything about web analytics, then you probably have heard of the term “pageview” before. It’s a metric to represent the number of times a web page is loaded in a browser and is one of the primary stats used to determine the health of a web site. Historically, it also has been a key measurement advertisers use to determine ad pricing.

A new report by Nielsen NetRatings seemingly has accelerated the death of the pageview (via Terry Heaton):

“..as the technology that publishers use to deliver content to the user moves away from static, reloaded pages to be more streamlined content-e.g. online videos- the page view is becoming a less relevant gauge of where might be the best place to advertise online.”

It is true that the pageview is not a completely accurate representation for success on the web for some *people and *some web sites.

But that’s not true across the board – and it certainly won’t become true across the board in the immediate future.

Sure, there are new technologies out there – AJAX (think Google Maps), widgets (think YouTube), RSS, and more. But what percentage of the web has grabbed a hold of these technologies? How many businesses even know what a widget or RSS even is?

Many websites are still very much architected in a way that the pageview as a metric makes good sense. One might argue that without these new technologies present, they are built incorrectly. But it depends on the audience. And nonetheless, these types of sites necessitate a means of measurement and the pageview is as good as any.

Will the web mature to a point when the pageview should die? Probably. But it’s not today – and it’s not tomorrow.