Beyond the Page View

I started using web analytics software back in 1996, before it was even called web analytics. At the time we were measuring mostly “hits” and page views.

This is before JavaScript includes became the defacto standard in web tracking. Way before web 2.0. Before JavaScript support was a given. Before Ajax. Before embedded audio and video.

Basically, every web page was a more or less a static page with no on-page interaction.

Now, almost 15 years later, the web is a different place. The “lets measure page views” model for tracking and measuring online activity crumbled a long time ago.

Today a single web page can be a totally interactive experience in itself. We have flash, dynamic HTML with JavaScript, Ajax, embedded videos, etc.

A few years ago Google Analytics added event tracking in order to address the shortcoming of trying to measure everything as a page view.

While this is better than nothing, the problem is that it’s too generic to label everything other than a page view as an event.

Every type of user interaction has it’s own characteristics, and should be measured accordingly.

For example: Forms.
Forms are an entire world in terms of tracking user interaction: Was the form submission successful? What fields were filled out? How long did the user spend on each field? etc.

http://www.ClickTale.com actually does a great job of measuring all of this, but my point is:

We need a new standard dictionary for what elements we can measure and what attributes each element has.

eCommerce transactions are already standard in all web analytics solutions. Most of the higher end analytics solutions are already addressing the overall  issue by adding dedicated event types for video views, downloads, or outbound links.

I’d like to see dedicated events for things like clicks, scrolls, even a “still on the page” event (this is for more accurate time on page measurement)

There will always be always be room for a generic type of event, but in order to reach the next generation of web analytics adoption, we (the industry) really need to expand our horizons beyond page views and events.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s