If you’ve lost 10 pounds, you must be healthy, right? Of course not. Your bathroom scale can’t detect disease, infection, injury, etc. Just as weight alone does not reflect your overall health, page views alone don’t reflect the overall success of your digital content. Don’t misinterpret page views to mean any of the following.
- My article reached a large audience. A page that gets 500 page views rarely attracts 500 people. Have you ever been interrupted while reading an article and then revisited it to finish up? Is there a blog post to which you frequently refer? People view pages more than once. I probably account for 40 views to Craig Kanalley’s How To Verify A Tweet blog post.
- Few people read my article. On the flip side of that first point, your analytics program probably can’t count the people who read your content in an RSS reader or an aggregation application. Worse, the statistics you see probably don’t include mobile apps and might even exclude mobile web page views. Don’t be dismayed by low page views.
- Blog post X was not read many times. People don’t always click on a blog post to read it. Because of the format of most blogs, visitors can read posts in their entirety from the main page, or from a date, tag or category archive. Those activities don’t count as page views for a particular post. Please don’t try to force people to click just so that you can get that page view.
- My article or post was profitable. If advertising revenue is your main source of revenue, here are just a few numbers you’ll have to crunch to find out if you made a profit: your expenses, the number of ads served and the price of each ad. The formula is often more complicated than that. Simply put: page views might equal revenue, but they do not necessarily equal profit.
- People liked what I wrote. Just because people saw something doesn’t mean they enjoyed it.
- My post must have started some great conversations. If you ever assumed this with non-digital media, you have to stop now. The conversation isn’t only happening on your site. They’re happening on Google+, Twitter, hipsterrific hangouts, old school barbershops, or just among parents dropping their kids off at school.
This is the first of a series of three posts about page views. The second installment is Use page views wisely. The final post is Page views mean so much.
Note: This post was posted on July 5, although its publication date mistakenly read May 24. Thank you to Roxanne Hack for pointing this out.