Surya on Marketing: page views?

I’m going to cross-post this on suryasays.com and suryaonmarketing.com (SoM) I’m going to focus on two areas of marketing: general marketing fundamentals and technology marketing.

To read why I’m doing this site, you’ll have to read the ABOUT page on SoM…

Post follows…

Page views? Page views? Every time I hear someone talk about this measure I’m reminded of Jim Mora’s “Playoffs? Playoffs?” rant. (which, if you haven’t seen, is a must watch). I can’t believe people still talk about page views as a viable metric to buy/sell online advertising. It’s nuts. A leading online reporting service reported this week that they’ll be replacing page views with time spent as their primary metric to rank popularity of websites. So it sounds like page views are dying. Thankfully. But I hope this is only the beginning. (For anyone who isn’t familiar but wants to learn more about why technology has made this page views obsolete google “ajax and page views”.)

What’s really interesting to me is whether or not this move away from page views to time spent triggers a mindset change in advertisers and publishers. I believe that it’s pretty stupid to charge advertisers every time their ad is seen, without regard to how long it was seen for. For those unfamiliar with how it works today:

If I sold ads on this site, I might charge you $2 for every 1,000 times I showed your ad. Whether I have a site that you spend 20 seconds reading, or a site that you spend 20 minutes a day reading, each time you see a page (and an ad) that’s one impression.

Let’s look at how advertising works on TV. Two factors come into play on TV– number of people who see the ad, and how long the ad is (15 or 30 seconds).

I’m  proposing adding a layer where each impression comes with a time guarantee as well. So you get the number of impressions you bought, but you’re also guaranteed that the impressions are displayed for at least XX seconds each. After a little research, I’m sure an ideal number could be figured out. As there are more and more ajax, flash and video sites, you’ll have people staying on a page for longer and longer periods of time. This potentially works out better for both advertisers and publishers.

This is just a microscopic step in the direction that I think internet advertising is going. But it amazes me that we haven’t really evolved over the past decade. I’m hoping that this move triggers a wave of rethinking of ad models and what advertising looks like for those in the Valley and with advertisers. It’s sorely needed!

[After about 5 of these entries, I’ll stop cross-posting here. I realize a lot of you don’t care about technology marketing! Those that do, look out for SoM. Hopefully I’ll be updating it a few times a week.]

5/11/13 – I’m still surprised that time per impression never caught on. Instead CPM’s were generally de-emphasized.

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