Business Administration Education Guide

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Will the new Nielsen web metric affect websites?

Nielsen / NetRating's announcement that it would stop using the traditional Page View measurement as its primary metric to compare web sites has created some entertaining blog debate reading. In one corner bloggers say that the new system is just as unreliable as the current Page View since websites are designed for time saving efficiency. Along the same lines other people say that the time measurement is unreliable because if a site is difficult to navigate a user could spend the recorded time simply hunting down what they want or it could be that the site uses mainly Flash.

Meanwhile in anther corner bloggers point out that there is no one blanket way to equally measure all websites since websites are designed for different uses. Reading a blog and using web search engines are utterly different. Example. Based on the new system Google drops to fifth in popularity based on the time spent at their site. This is because Google is a search engine, which is focused on giving visitors quick answers and links away from Google. .

Page views are used to determine the popularity of websites. The reasoning was that, the more times users view a site, the more chances advertisers have to sell them products. With the new Nielsen Web metric system it measures total time a user spends at a website.

However, Nielson isn't a usability expert, they are a market research company. The simplest (yet also not perfect) common measurement that would be more thoroughly equal is returning unique visitors which tracks returning visitors within a specified period of time. On the other hand from everything I have read and researched, I believe the best way to evaluate a website’s content value should be a combination of time, new visitor views and returning visitors.

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