Nielson Netratings Downgrade Page Views

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Nielson Netratings has decided that its prime measurement tool will now be time spent on a site per unique visitor rather than page views. This is a signal that Web 2 has come of age. Web 2 sites using AJAX to load content within a page so users do not have to continually load successive pages, making sites more user friendly (if implemented correctly) and faster to work through.

“Web 2.0 technologies and publishing models have set the stage for fast, highly-interactive sites that no longer rely on full page refreshes (aka page views) to deliver user-requested content,”

said Scott Ross, director of product marketing.

“As the Web experience moves further in this direction, the tried and true Page View metric becomes less comprehensive for estimating engagement.”

You would think this would aid MyHome as it is powered predominantly by Web 2 technologies, but I doubt they will impress anyone with their 2:08 minutes (the average user spends on MyHome – Nielson Netratings March 2007 ) times being splashed in press releases across the country.

Nielson is a large company and whilst their reporting is only reserved for the very high end of town and this continues to be a disappointment for the whole industry (as you have to pay them to get your data) they still have clout with advertising agencies.

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  • snoop
    Posted July 11, 2007 at 7:45 am 0Likes

    Good idea from Neilsens.
    Time spent on a site is a good indicator.
    After all ,all these claims of millions of unique browsers are just marketing spin.
    Lets take rea with nearly 4m ubs a month.
    Well only 50-60k properties sell in a year so their must be an awful lot of tyrekickers tryinng to navigate the vast amount of ads amongst the content.
    A better measure for these portals would be the number of enquiries they generate.

  • Elizabeth
    Posted July 11, 2007 at 8:20 am 0Likes

    Good morning,

    Snoop I think that there would be at least 70, 000 properties sold within the sydney region alone within a year. Are you talking a national figure or local regional?

    If I am understanding this correctly, Nielson are not chaning how they measure the Number of people visiting a site, they are just saying that once that number of people are there, they will measure how long they stay there.

    I do agree with you Snoop that the number of property views and email leads which portals produce is the most important information.

    Peters comment about myhome is spot on. To date we have not been told of how many property views or email leads they have produced. Now with page views no longer being measured, what is our cross reference point for when myhome say that they have produced the NUMBER TWO results in property views?

    There appears to be a greater gap in transparency than there is now.


  • Kitchen Designer
    Posted July 11, 2007 at 11:06 am 0Likes

    I don’t know if this will be accurate.

    When I am browsing a site I will open multiple pages in tabs. Then I might get an email and shoot off to another site or answer the phone… Some of those pages will be open for some time.

    I would expect real estate portals introducing and heavily promoting property video tours to their sites as the download time will increase the site vist time.

  • Paul D
    Posted July 11, 2007 at 12:55 pm 0Likes

    Elizabeth, there were just over 46,000 homes sold in Sydney in 2006 and just over 80,000 in NSW. There were approx, 17,500 sales in Sydney for the first half of 2007. And yes snoop, that is a hell of a lot of lookers !!!!!! I guess at 3.7 mill a month that’s somewhere near 45 mill. a year for Australia. In the last 6 months we have averaged 13,996 per month unique browsers from REA resulting in an average of 67 emails per month. This ratio is a half of one percent, or one email for every 200 browsers. This ratio has not changed in the last 4 years. It has always seemed very low to me, but it never seems to change (at least in my case).

  • Adam
    Posted July 11, 2007 at 1:57 pm 0Likes

    Are emails the be all and end all of measuring REA’s worth ? I sometimes wish they didnt have an ’email the agent’ part to a listing at all ! The phone calls seems to be from genuine people, whereas the emails are from tyre kickers…. A gross generalisation, but I bet it rings true with your agents.


  • Craig
    Posted July 11, 2007 at 2:16 pm 0Likes

    Adam, I don’t really agree with you assessment that emailers are tyre kickers. I would always email as first preference even when I am serious about a property. If I even have to phone them that is enough to put me off the property (and Agent) even if I am otherwise attracted to it.

    What is most interesting I find is the whole agent obsession with emails from REA. As a user of these sites if I have email or phone an agent that is a sign that the agent has failed me because the ad should have all the information required including accurate price range (ok, i know they are unlikely to give that!), open for inspection dates and auction dates. I know agents like to get phone numbers and name so they can ‘build relationships’ but consumers don’t want this. They don’t want agents calling them in the following weeks hassling them about properties and asking what they are looking for. We are more than capable of finding the property we want by ourselves.

  • Stephen
    Posted July 11, 2007 at 4:59 pm 0Likes

    Page views have never been a measure of the effectiveness of a real estate website from an agents perspective. The only measure of the effectiveness of a real estate website is the number of listings and sales that are ultimately generated by the site. The conversion rate from leads including telephone, drive by and email is the final measure. The portals do not have reliable methods of measuring drive bys and phone calls. Therefore we are reliant on indicators that can be used to estimate responses using multipliers that change over time and market.

    The only reliable indicators are;
    1. The suburb/city/region requested by the viewer (indicates popularity and can be used along with inventory and time on market figures)
    2. The number of individual property views and the number of links and photos requested along with time viewing the property.
    3. Emails generated (future sellers and buyers, renters and landlords) There are always a number of competitor agents and “tyre kickers”..what an old fashioned term from a bygone era. Smart agents have excellent ways of sorting out the hot leads from the cold leads. But eventually everyone is a potential buyer and seller and as government makes it harder to contact potential clients with privacy legislation, do not call registers etc. the data base generated in the hands of a competant professional is worth a great deal.

    If you measure the current stats available and the source of all enquiries as well as diligently surveying every listing and sale you will be able to derive figures such as;
    For every 100 property views, 1 email is generated
    For every 1 email received 3 phone calls are received
    For every n emails nn phone calls 1 sale is made?

    How can I derive anything from the time spent on the site? I know that at the Nielson level they are only interested in ranking the sites based on a comparable measure and the time spent by a UB may be legitimate for that purpose. However for an agent, the number of people visiting the market place resulting in leads and ultimate listings and sales is all that matters.

  • Paul D
    Posted July 11, 2007 at 7:16 pm 0Likes

    I think email is a great way to communicate. I sold an investment property to an Investor, 4 years ago, that I have never met face to face, yet we are friends. Sure, occasionally I talk to him, but the majority of the communication is by email. Originally I sent him photos, floor plans, Investment analysis etc. You can’t do that by phone, and mail is too cumbersome. Email is only as good as the user.

  • snoop
    Posted July 11, 2007 at 8:25 pm 0Likes

    Thats really interesting.
    Getting to the bottom of conversions and actual real leads is illuminating to say the least.
    So do you have to have a vast funnel to get a quality lead or a much more targetted and personalised site??
    Seems the google models etc dont address the deeper personalisation required to drive a hot to trot buyer to and agents site?

  • Elizabeth
    Posted July 13, 2007 at 7:33 am 0Likes

    Good Morning,

    Adam, all websites are measured on more than just email leads.

    I measure how many times my listings came up in searh results and how many times by agency brand came up in the Agents in the Area Searches. This is my new branding. I have also toyed with Banners and so far they are providing good results.

    Emails I consider as direct contact regarding my stock. Once I have the email address I cleanse it and eventually add it to my own Data base.

    I think you will find that all portals worth their salt provide products and numbers for each of the above.

    Email leads are only ‘garbage in’ if you do not know what to do with them, and further, do not have your systems in place.


  • snoop
    Posted July 13, 2007 at 10:01 pm 0Likes

    Yes very interesting Elizabeth.
    So its how you manage and filter the leads.
    I as an investor try and use the portals to find bargains.
    I do send emails to some listings and I would say 30% fall into a black hole.
    No response.
    But then perhaps we should be old fashioned and just call???
    Interestingly I had a lounge suite I love recovered.
    I found the upholsterer via a google search.
    The first question the lady asked when I called was where did I hear about them.
    I have never had a real estate office ask that question.

  • Elizabeth
    Posted July 14, 2007 at 9:26 am 0Likes

    Good Morning,

    Snoop I dare say you have not contacted my agency as we always respond to enquiry.

    Whilst I do appreciate how annoying it is for you to not get a response to your emails, I relish in the fact that I can offer an instant point of difference to my competitors by actually getting back to people.


  • Glenn
    Posted July 16, 2007 at 11:09 am 0Likes

    No matter what single metrics you use to measure the success of a website or referring website it will not give you the full story.

    As Peter has pointed out pageview rankings for web 2.0 sites are pointless because web 2.0 sites do not often do full page refreshes. The same logic applies for time on site measures because time on site is often measured from pageviews values and because sites like myhome do not refresh pageviews you must wonder if third party tracking of time on site values will be entirely accurate. Given their content how could that be that low really? As far as I know they have not countered the figures floating around have they?

    Even unique browsers are flawed. Neilsens conducted their own study and found that nearly 44% of users deleted their cookies at least once in the past 30 days. Since unique browsers are tracked usings cookies figures like 3.7 million unique browers from REA is a huge overstatement of reality. The only thing you can use those figures for is to compare trends and comparing against other portals. The numbers themselves will be totally wrong.

    Web admins have always found ways to doctor statistics to artificially boost their position in rankings. Pageviews have been abused with popups and iframes use to bloat sites pageviews numbers. I know of one real estate portal that use to insert a 1 pixel by 1 pixel iframe of their portal site on every one of their clients websites (and there were hundreds) so that every visit for a customer racked up a visit for their portal site. As you could imagine they raced up many of the ranking charts. I would have loved to see their bounce rate and time on site statistics.

    To conduct good analysis on a website you need to apply a combination of quantitative and qualitative analysis. That one of the reasons why I like the campaign tracking and goal tracking of Google Analytics. With these tools you can look at the quality of the traffic you get from each source. It’s just a pity most users of GA only use it to report on visitor and pageview counts.

  • Under the Radar
    Posted July 17, 2007 at 12:34 pm 0Likes

    These traffic sites, including google analytics, are about as reliable as a junky on mothers day. Who cares how they rank – it means nothing anyway.

    Alexa goes on how many people use the alexa tool bar (as if that’s an accurate reflection of real traffic) – google is WAY OFF (Our third party advertising partner sells more advertising impressions through our site than google’s entire page view tally) – and Neilson’s Netratings only rates companies who pay it! (the 10 most popular sites in the world… erm… who pay us that is).

    The sooner people kick these sorts of statistics to the curb the better

  • Paul D
    Posted July 18, 2007 at 3:53 pm 0Likes

    Maybe that is the case “Under the Radar” but there needs to be some reliable and consistent method of measurement. You don’t just pull into a service station and say “fill it up, and I’ll pay you $40, cause that’s how much the guy before me paid ” Ultimately you need a universal, agreed measure. Right now it seems that there are so many different methods, that none can be regarded as reliable. Neilson Netratings seem to me to be at best, an educated guess, and at worst, he who pays the most gets the best result.

  • snoop
    Posted July 20, 2007 at 9:35 am 0Likes

    Bottom line is any CEO or board needs competitive info for benchmarking.
    Neilsens and Hitwise are the only credible games in town.
    Agencies prefer Neilsens but increasingly use Hitwise.
    Agencies wont put their advertisers dollars into your site if you dont play the game.
    I dont mean SME sites I mean real money real traffic sites when I say this.
    All the big guys do is work towards ,and most execs have incentives to get ranked up on these lists.

  • Paul D
    Posted July 20, 2007 at 11:35 am 0Likes

    Sure, they may be the only credible games in town. But how come every man and his dog is challenging the methods of measurement ?? and arguing whether the methods they use are statistically correct. It seems to me that their results are accepted if they are good and contested if they are not so good. Then all the reasons start appearing that in fact their analytical tools are now outdated and of not much use due to the ever changing methods of presentation of digital information. The sharp edge is that if the measurement methods are not accurate then someone will come out in the not too distant future and accuse some cmpanies of misrepresentation. That opens up a whole other story.

  • Under the Radar
    Posted July 20, 2007 at 4:42 pm 0Likes

    My point exactly

  • snoop
    Posted July 22, 2007 at 8:52 am 0Likes

    No good criticising
    they are the defaults that any large org refers to.
    So whats out there that works for the critiques?

  • Under the Radar
    Posted July 22, 2007 at 11:05 pm 0Likes

    When money is riding on the statistics being reported these statistics need to be 100% accurate. End of story.

    Ad media is deployed through our portals using DART. It records every ad request received and gives exact numbers to both us, our media sellers, advertising agencies / media buyers and the end clients. Space is sold at $X per 1000 requests, so its critical this data is absolutely accurate.

    Fudging numbers is simply not an option. Statistics are presented to our advertisers by our national media seller, who are an independent third party and who service many other leading portals around the country.

    As for measuring total site traffic – we use the server logs:

    In reality its impossible to identify unique visitors – anyone sprouting these sorts of statistics is dealing in the realms of fiction.

    Likewise, Hits are meaningless.

    Depending on cookies, JavaScript, or ISP / Search data to measure traffic can also be highly inaccurate.

    What’s left?

    Server Log recorded Page Views are somewhat accurate as these equate to direct http requests to the server for web pages

  • Glenn
    Posted July 23, 2007 at 7:40 pm 0Likes

    You think analysing server Logs is more accurate??

    My daily visitors reduced by an average of 150 visitor sessions PER DAY when I changed over from that to Web Analytics software.

    As you rightly state bots and spiders are involved and I would never trust any statistics of a company including their visits in the figures.

    I go back to what I said earlier… “No matter what single metrics you use to measure the success of a website or referring website it will not give you the full story.”

  • under the radar
    Posted July 24, 2007 at 1:52 pm 0Likes
  • under the radar
    Posted July 24, 2007 at 5:07 pm 0Likes

    Incidently – our commercial property portal whose traffic (based on server logs) amounts to 43,000 visits against Real Commercial’s 180,000 “Unique Visitors” (remember what we said about the realms of fiction) yeild twice as many prospects.

  • Paul D
    Posted July 25, 2007 at 3:03 pm 0Likes


    Now we have REA telling us that 3.6 mill people visited in June. Also they did a survey of 1200 people. (that is 0.0003%) Follow my logic here – because I’m having difficulty with this one. If in fact there are 3.6 million people ( yes, they used the word people) and they surveyed 1200 of them, can that really be representative sample ?? I remember that survey, because I think I was one of the 1200. I normally wouldn’t waste my time, however I thought I would have a bash. If I was one of the 1200, how many other agents did the survey as well? and is that really a survey of consumers. I suppose I am a consumer of REA services.

    Now I’m not just criticising REA, I’m criticising anyone in general who tries to push their own barrow using any kind of measure that is statistically unreliable without describing the method used. It is becoming clearer to me that there is a great deal of scepticism, not just here, but in the community generally regarding the claims presented in various forums about advertising coverage. If you lump them all together people would have to spend half their lives on the internet, 25% watching TV, 10% reading the paper, etc. etc. – It just doesn’t add up.

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