Om weighs in this morning with the resignation that the page-view model is what we have for a benchmark of web audiences and therefore it is the benchmark we have to live with. Knowing that Om’s GigaOm network is dependent on advertising revenue, he has to conform the prevailing metric in the market, which is the 1990’s Web 1.0 measurement of audience as expressed by page views and unique visitors.
Fred sparked Om’s defense of the PV with this:
“…there are changes afoot in the Internet measurement business. Everyone is recognizing that pageviews matter less now. Ajax and other more modern web technologies allow for new ads to be diisplayed without a page reload. Ad views can grow even as page views decline. I know that there have been a number of discussions about this at the highest levels of the leading Internet measurement firms and the leading Internet businesses. And we’ll be seeing the outcomes of those discussions at some point in 2007.”But it doesn’t even stop there. Web pages themselves are changing, moving from pages controlled by publishers to pages controlled by users.”
I’ll reiterate my position from the point of view of a buyer of traffic, which is ultimately the onus on the site I buy from is not gross tonnage of views, nor even clicks, but the end-of-funnel conversion that occurs on my site after the publisher delivers the traffic into it. This of course is further complicated by the reality that the “deal is everything”, no publisher can control the creative run on the page — AJAX or static — but in the end, when I operate the campaign, optimize the creative, retraffick the placements and optimize the backend landing page for A/B and multivariate possibilities, I will look at those sites or networks which sent in the best traffic conditioned to respond to me.
I don’t buy large numbers. I don’t buy CPMs. I look at publishers as providing me blunt approximations of an audience, and then it is up to me and my agency to put the right offer in front of that audience at the right time. If I believe a publisher’s pitch on gross tonnage, then I’d be buying into the fact that they are pushing forced page refreshes to hit their campaign guarantees (which I did in former lives) are needlessly chunking long stories into multi-jumps to force up their pages per session, and otherwise playing the games with the logs that I played myself.
It takes one to know one and I know that ad impression numbers are wholly unreliable and again, reiterate, that the burden is on the buyer — aka, let the buyer beware — and take responsibility for the user experience once they wind up on the destination site.