For a couple years now, people have been declaring: “Page views are dead!” When marketers used page views as one of the sole metrics for determining success and focused their efforts to hit their page view goals, new techniques were developed, and advertisers were happy because they believed they were gaining as many impressions as there were page views.
Marketers blame the page view death on the birth of slideshows, and clickbaiting, or the use of content whose main purpose is to attract attention and encourage visitors to click on a link to a particular webpage. However, relying on page views alone is not wise. Relying on any single metric, in fact, is not a measure of success. You must blend together multiple metrics for a seasoned look at your progress.
With the right combination of analytics, you can still find page views to be a useful tool. There are infinite variations and ways to study page views in relation to the giantess of Google Analytics, but here are a few basic interpretations that can illustrate success.
Do the math: the number of page views divided by the number of visitors gives you the rough average of how many pages each visitor is viewing. Lower visitors and higher page numbers means they’re more likely looking at more pages because they like what they’re seeing. Conversely, they may also not be finding what they’re looking for.
Pro Tip: To track this metric in Google Analytics, use the setting Pages/Visit. The value will populate to your dashboard automatically at refresh.
2. Bounce rate.
If you have a high page view to bounce rate ratio, then you’re doing something right. People are reading, browsing, reading more, and taking genuine interest. If you have a high page view, but high bounce rate, then you’re just getting a lot of viewers who aren’t gaining much from your content.
Pro Tip: Organize your site’s content in a way that is accessible and appears to your target audience use appropriate headers, limit subheadings, include relevant images, and break up text with lists and graphics that illustrate your main points.
3. Time on site.
Some will say this is actually a more important metric. But blended with page views, it will give you a good sense of just how long people may be spending reading. There are a few ways to consider this:
- If there’s a high page view to high time on site ratio, your visitor may be having trouble finding what they’re looking for. Though they remain on the site bouncing from page-to-page, they are clearly looking for something specific. Assess which of your pages are being viewed for a short period of time and determine how you can improve or reorganize the content or whether it should be pulled altogether.
- If there is a low page view to high time on site ratio, visitors are reading your content from top to bottom. Investigate further to see what content is being viewed, and for how long because that’s your content sweet spot.
Rather than focus on the general counts, it’s better to hone into specifics, but don’t fixate on one metric. Google Analytics provides capabilities to track a multitude of different metrics including audience demographics, user behaviors, sessions, exit percentage and more. Explore further to find exactly what are people landing on and reading and what non-multimedia content is receiving a lengthy amount of time. If you discover that only a few pieces of content are garnering the majority of the page views, it’s time to examine what types of content are working, and why other pieces are not yielding the desired results.