What is a page view?

We use a lot of jargon in [newsrooms](http://www.flickr.com/photos/chicago_steph/3005686280/), and there’s even more [online](http://www.flickr.com/photos/jurvetson/21470089/).

I thought I’d take an occasional stab at defining some online terms in the hopes of reaching across the aisle… of the newsroom. (Do newsrooms have aisles?)

**So what is a page view?**

It’s the most fundamental unit of measure online. When a reader calls up one page it’s a page view.

They can spend an hour on the page or a minute or a year, but it’s still one page view.

A page view is not tied to a particular reader. You can view this page 1,000 times or 1,000 people can view it one time, or 50 people can view it 20 times.

It doesn’t matter what type of content it is, though for journalists probably the most useful information is how many times their [post](. “Meta FTW”) or [photo](http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2008/11/the_next_president_of_the_unit.html) or [map](http://projects.ajc.com/maps/metro/atlanta/storm-damage-atlanta/) is viewed.

More complex [interactives](http://projects.ajc.com/executive-pay/) or [applications](http://projects.latimes.com/metrolink-crash/) (we need a better word for these) are tracked not by a single page’s views, but rather the aggregate of all the pages in that tool.

Videos are tracked by the number of times they are played which, depending on the [site’s software](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Content_management_system) may or may not be the same as their page views.

One important concept to remember is that a page view is two things (clip for the Obvious Awards follows): a **page** and a **view**.

It’s the “[if a tree falls in the woods](http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20060627054856AAAcb0T “Timber!”)” paradox of the digital world. If a page is created (story written, photo published, etc.) and no one views it, did it ever exist. Unlike the metaphysical tree we have an answer about the page view — no it did not, it got zero page views.

Despite that, it’s actually a fairly simple concept — every time someone walks past a newspaper rack and looks at 1A that’s the offline equivalent of page view.

But you don’t [have to](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Page_view) [take my word](http://www.opentracker.net/en/articles/hits-visitors-pageviews.jsp) [for it](http://www.google.com/support/analytics/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=33050).

How you make money from a page view, what are unique visitors and impressions… [that’s another show](http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Alton_Brown#Good_Eats_Catchphrases).

About Chris

Python developer, Agile practitioner trying desperately not to be a pointy haired boss.
This entry was posted in Business, Journalism, Technology. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to What is a page view?

  1. chennaimoms says:

    Good information this article is helped me to clear my doubts..


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