Gauging your gaze

Posted on July 18, 2007 
Filed Under Advertising, Stats

[via PCWorld]

Nielsen/NetRatings will be using Total Time Spent as a primary measure versus the old pageview to gauge the popularity a website.

The switch will be in favour of sites that stream video ala YouTube and use AJAX for constant updates as in a live scoreboard.

“Total minutes is the most accurate gauge to compare between two sites. If [Web] 1.0 is full page refreshes for content, Web 2.0 is, ‘How do I minimize page views and deliver content more seamlessly?'” said Scott Ross, director of product marketing at Nielsen’s.

For example, MySpace may have 10 to 11 times more page views than YouTube, but users spend only three times more minutes on the site, Ross added.

Total Time Spent will make it easier for advertisers to mould their ads to how users are actually accessing content, he said.

“On YouTube there will be more ads flowing in based on duration (on videos),” he said. “The more time I spend on YouTube … [advertisers] will figure out a way to monetize that.”

Nielsen/NetRatings will still report page views as a secondary metric, but will champion minutes if you are comparing two sites. The change will affect the rankings of some companies immediately, Ross said.

For example, AOL will get a boost because of time spent on its popular instant messaging application, while Yahoo and MSN likely would maintain their current rankings, but Google will probably ratchet down because its users don’t usually spend much time there, according to Ross.

Meanwhile, Followthemedia’s Philip Stone suggests that news sites might stuff their pages with more videoclips instead of carrying jumps: would still remain number one with 12.535 million visitors spending an average 27:34 minutes on the site giving it more than twice the time than any other newspaper web site. But when the rankings are based on the number of visitors multiplied by the average time they spend on the site then USAToday, currently second, change places with, currently third.

The Los Angeles Times site, currently fourth in the rankings based on visitors alone would drop to ninth based on the average time each visitor spent on the site;, currently fifth in page views moves up to fourth when time is taken into account and The Wall Street Journal site, currently sixth based on visitors, moves up a notch to fifth when the time ranking is used.

So now editors need to change direction and organize their site around keeping visitors there for as long as possible. It won’t matter if they have call up four pages to read a long story – that can now be sprawled on just one page – but now editors will want to ensure they have the one or two minute video to go along with that story so that by getting the complete multimedia story people linger on the site.



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