Nielsen scraps Page Views (Or Why You Shouldn't Measure Success with One Metric)

nielson-media-logo.gifNielsen, one of the most respected audience measurement companies, decided page views are no longer relevant in today’s Web. AJAX technology being the primary cause of some provider’s drop in page views has prompted Nielsen to implement tracking of time in front of a Web site. More time generally means more engagement, and thus, more money.

This should come as no surprise. I’ve ranted went on a tangent about how Web 2.0 companies measure success [sic] page views aren’t everything.

If you think this change is a bullshit move, I introduce call centers. Most call centers measure success based on call time (or SL — service level availability for customers). Well, after several frustrating years, that definition of success has evolved to resolution rate, satisfaction surveys and possibly sales made on contact. Here’s a breakdown of goals and the effects:

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The purpose of this image is to explain that in the call center industry, they simply can not focus on one goal (e.g. Call Time, Resolution, Sales); rather a combination of all three elements. You win some, you lose some — it’s business.

I imagine that this theory holds true for the Web. You can’t focus on one element of success, you need to seize all the opportunity you can and balance your goals. Every Web site has different goals and ways to measure them. As a helpful tool, companies can elect to have services like Google Analytics or Omniture to measure their [aggregate] user tracking on their sites. To illustrate what I envision a company being successful online today, it would balance the following attributes:

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I conclude with my opinion that Nielsen made a wise choice in measuring Web sites. I believe that other metrics are crucial to measure a Web site’s overall rating — not just the quantity of page views or minutes spent on a particular site.

What are your thoughts?