Nielsen/NetRatings drops page views metric

Web traffic measurement agency Nielsen/NetRatings will reportedly scrap the “page views” metric in response to the growing challenge posed by dynamic websites.

Ajax websites and web-based videos mean content can be loaded with no web page reloading, so the firm will begin instead reporting the length of time users spend at audited sites.

Counterpart comScore in April added a new “visits” metric to augment its page views measurements after facing pressure from Yahoo!, whose portfolio includes a growing number of Ajax-dependent sites.

Associated Press reports Nielsen/NetRatings will from today report total time spent and sessions for all visitors so that advertisers, investors and analysts have a broader view of sites’ popularity.

The new technique will give a more accurate reflection, for example, of YouTube videos that are watched multiple times by the same user.

“Based on everything that’s going on with the influx of Ajax and streaming, we feel total minutes is the best gauge for site traffic,” said Scott Ross, director of product marketing at Nielsen. “We’re changing our stance on how the data should be used.”

Although Nielsen, like comScore, will still record page views, they will not be formally ranked.