You are all probably familiar with my previous posts (New audience metric, AttentionTrust) about the need for better metric to measure the engagement level of users at a particular web-site. The issue with the current metric of page-views can be best understood by comparing it with TV surfing. Consider a user Ms. X, with a remote, who surfs to a particular channel say FOX and immediately switches over to NBC where she watches a full hour of Apprentice. With page-views, which only measures the number of times a particular page loads or channel is accessed in our example, both NBC and FOX will get equal equal credit for the user. Clearly though, NBC had a better opportunity to engage the user and will likely be a more effective advertising medium for somebody looking to reach the Ms. X.
This inequality in the way the page views are measured is further exacerbated by the difference in which web sites can vary in information density per page. The use of technology like AJAX can enable web-sites to pack a whole lot of dynamic information in just one page. Check out the Noisely…I love this web-site design and the whole application is just one page (except for informational pages like FAQ etc.). All this means that we need a better way to measure the user engagement in order to better evaluate the effectiveness of web-sites.
Last week Compete.com, a web measurement company, announced the first metric to measure of this important data. From the compete.com blog:
Today we announce that you can use Compete.com to measure a site’s Attention. Attention fuses engagement (measured by time) and traffic (measured by unique visitors) into a single, more complete picture of a web site’s value.
Why is Attention Important?
- A site’s influence can be under/over stated by traditional metrics.
- There are only 24 hours in a day – our time is finite. Where we spend our time is where we find the most value.
Notice in the chart above how runescape.com only ranks 436th in unique visitors, yet based on Attention is the 15th most prominent site on the web. If we relied solely on traditional metrics we would overlook the real value and prominence of Runescape.
This is fantastic…I hope more companies follow suite and we can finally focus on truly important metric rather then the arbitrary page views.
If you want to follow this story further check out RWW coverage.