Measuring the frequency of web visits


One question I always have around website traffic is ‘how many of the users’ are regular.

ie – how many can’t live without the content, visit regularly and often, and for how long.

Currently, there’s no audited way to work this out. The closest thing is looking at average visits and page views per user and average time spent per user.

Problem with this is it’s an average figure … it doesn’t take into consideration heavy users, light users or anyone in between.

For digital this is a question we need answering. The consumption of digital media can be incredibly quick … in/out within a minute or less.

Why? Well – search plays a large role for one due to how much traffic it is responsible for across almost websites. Users head to Google with a problem, Google directs them to the page with the info it deems most relevant … and the users generally reads this page and then exits.

Another reason is around the multi-tasking nature of online. Users looking at multiple windows, whilst using tools like Messenger or a Twitter client at the same time.

Lastly, social channels are responsible for increasing amounts of traffic … and like search it’s generally consumed quickly and then the user departs.

One of my views is you can judge the quality of a media brand by the loyalty of its users.

The problem now is EVERYONE claims a loyal userbase. I’ve heard a biz dev pitch for a website that has an average time spent per user of under 2 minutes, which claims it has a highly engaged audience. C’mon …

Now I’m not sure what Nielsen is doing about this. And I don’t know whether Comscore covers it (if anyone from Comscore wants to come in and explain, great) … but Quantcast in the US is doing something cool.

They have a data set that is around ‘Site Frequency’ and they break users into Addicts, Regulars and Passers By.

You can see what % of the total users fit into these 3 groups, and what % of total visits they represent. See below for the info around Hulu.com

Picture 1

As you can see, 50% of the sites users are Passers By … accounting for 8% of visits. 5% addicts account for 57% of visits … and regulars (45%) account for 34% of visits.

As a media person this is interesting data. It helps with planning and it provides some much needed depth to numbers that are generally too big to comprehend (ie 50m users, 5b pageviews etc)

Great info. Really like the look of this Quantcast product.

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2 responses to “Measuring the frequency of web visits

  1. Interesting – I think we’d all like Quantcast to be localised for AU.

    One thing I’ve noticed is that if you compare a number of sites’ traffic, the metrics are pretty much the same in terms of % addicts v regulars v passers by.

    Stats for Gawker:
    1% addicts
    32% regulars
    67% passers by

    Stats for coolhunting.com:
    1% addicts
    30% regulars
    70% passers by

    Stats for lostateminor.com
    1% addicts
    31% regulars
    69% passers by

    Stats for apartmenttherapy.com
    1% addicts
    35% regulars
    64% passers by

    The only real stand-out that I saw was failblog.org, which is nailing it right now:

    3% addicts
    42% regulars
    55% passers by

  2. Although not audited, check out Clicktale. http://www.clicktale.com

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