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An in-depth look at the debate over web analytics over at Computerworld has concluded that page views are dead (although we track them assiduously at GigaOM), and like heirs squabbling over an inheritance, startups are fighting to define the page view’s successor: engagement.
The story mentions Israeli startup Nuconomy, which measures engagement by tracking things such as widget downloads and comments. Nielsen, which abandoned page views to focus on time spent on a site, thinks that’s a better measure of engagement, especially when it comes to online video. But a one-size-fits-all approach may not win out. The article quotes Avinash Kaushik, a web analytics consultant whose clients include Google, who says:
“A lot of people think the page view is dying so we should measure engagement,” he noted. “Just because the page view died, who…gave you the right to move to engagement? The web is becoming more fluid in terms of how people interact with it. The fluidity does not mean the core questions you wanted to answer go away.”
This isn’t just a semantic debate, it’s a struggle to define how advertisers will dole out the dollars for the myriad of online publishing sites and content networks out there. With online advertising reaching $21 billion last year, that’s an estate worth fighting for.