Nielsen//NetRatings has added both "Total Minutes" and "Total Sessions" metrics to NetView, its syndicated Internet audience measurement service. While NetView has always reported average time per person and average number of sessions, the new metrics deliver greater perspective on total engagement across sites.
Rich Internet Application technologies like AJAX and streaming (both audio/video and other content like sports scoreboards and live stock quotes) have greatly enhanced the consumer experience, yet pose special challenges to Internet audience measurement. AJAX refreshes content without reloading entire
Web pages and streaming provides dynamically changing content within a single page or a media player.
While a page view metric under-credits such engagement, the total minutes metric provides a common denominator for user behavior that is independent of site design.
Between social networking sites MySpace and YouTube, the time spent ratio is 3.6 to 1, but the ratio of page views is much larger, at 10.4 to 1. YouTube visitors spend more time per page than MySpace because they are primarily watching videos, requiring fewer page refreshes. While MySpace may be able to serve more ads because of its number of page refreshes, the time spent ratio is an important comparison of audience engagement on the two sites.