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What is a page view?

By June 19, 2008

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A "page view" is the standard unit of Web traffic. Each time a webpage is viewed, it counts as one page view.

In the early days of the Web, the "hit" was the standard metric for traffic. A "hit" and a "page view" are two very different things. A hit is registered for every file requested from the Web server. That includes images, stylesheets, Javascript files, and so on. A page view is only registered when someone views a full webpage. Since one webpage typically has several elements (multiple images, etc), often one page view equals many hits.

Page views are important for online marketing and advertising. When you run a marketing campaign, you may want to know how many additional page views the campaign brought in. A website's monthly page view total is also commonly used to determine the site's reach. A personal blog might have monthly page views in the thousands. A large mainstream media site like yahoo.com counts monthly page views in the hundreds of millions.

For online advertising, page views are used in determining a site's CPM rates and available ad inventory. The more page views your website serves a month, the more ad space (inventory) you can sell.

Impression or page view based online advertising is bought and sold in 1,000 page view blocks. The CPM (Cost Per Mille) is the rate an advertiser pays for every 1,000 page views that display their ad. So if the website charges $10 CPM, and the advertiser spends $100, their ad will be shown on 10,000 page views. (They're buying 10 blocks of 1000 impressions at $10 per block. That's 10,000 impressions.)

To figure out how many page views your site gets, you can use free Web analytics software like:

  • Sitemeter -- Lets you have a public traffic report. Advertisers like to see third party traffic stats so they know what they're getting.

  • Google Analytics -- Powerful stats program lets you slice and dice your traffic to figure out where they're coming from, what they're looking at, how long they're staying, why they're leaving, and more.

Since Analytics doesn't offer a public stats option, and Sitemeter is not as feature rich as Analytics, I recommend using both on your site. One for the public; one for more in-depth internal traffic analysis.

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