Forget about app visits or page views. The usual yardstick for digital audience of your apps and sites would not matter to your advertisers sooner or later.
A lot have been vexing on this contentious issue as early as the year started, making the case that not only time spent but time well spent matters more than page views or app visits. After all, your digital readers hold much more valuable currency than money: TIME.
Time is scarce. The thing with this statement is it is not a matter of us not having enough time. But, what we do with our time is a paragon of our value system. And since time can only be spent once, we can put so much value in the seconds we use for consuming content online.
On the other hand, before we can start using time-based metrics, it should count how they are measured and why they can be misleading. Would it really mean what you mean when you tell your advertisers that your average visit is 6 minutes long, does it? Apps and web pages can wait for us all the time. And the wait could be anything like an interrupting chat with an office mate, a nap, a cup of tea or a trip to the comfort room. You see, any idle time could be counted as time spent.
Why your advertisers would look for time well spent in your digital publishing apps (say a flipbook) and web pages is more brand-centered. They won’t stop at awareness. They will demand for more than just a pretty space. They want conversion, activation, retention –things that are only achievable through quality time and emotional connection your content builds with your digital audience. Unfortunately, measurement of these metrics still remains to be nebulous.
If you’d like to read more perspectives on this issue, check out this article from Rick Edmonds, writer and researcher at Poynter Institute, He has some links that can help you figure out which side of the boat you’ll want to be in. He also pointed:
“I would like to believe that well-crafted journalism, long when it needs to be and succinct the rest of the time, puts readers in a receptive mood for brand messages…We are going to need to live with ambiguity in digital metrics for a while longer, (Evan) Williams concludes, making for still more interesting times in the digital news space, however measured.”
The role of analytics in the magazine or news industry remains controversial, but having a clear understanding of what type of digital media readers consume and how they consume it helps a digital publisher target his content better, and package it more efficiently in the digital space.