Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
U.S. police have attacked journalists more than 120 times since May 28
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
Oct. 9, 2013, 12:13 p.m.
LINK: brianabelson.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Caroline O'Donovan   |   October 9, 2013

We know pageviews mean nothing — and yet media types still think about them all the time. That’s the premise of Knight-Mozilla fellow Brian Abelson’s new, well-worth-reading essay “Whither the Pageview Apocalypse?”

Abelson argues that we talk about the death of pageviews without changing our behaviors because the web analytics industry, to which publishers and advertisers are beholden, has carefully scripted a narrative in which the pageview is burned up — and that from its ashes, new metrics rise for them to control.

Yet, having experimented with many “actionable”, rather than “vanity metrics,” I can tell you that their results are often just as murky and misleading. Engagement is a moving target; A/B tests, when poorly designed, often produce inconclusive results; event tracking, while incredibly powerful, does not readily enable comparisons across varied contexts. And, even when these tools are utilized to their full potential, it can be very difficult to translate their insights into action. The fact of the matter is that there are no silver bullets, no secrets to be revealed just beyond the pageview. All there is is hard work, open dialogue, and relentless experimentation to find what works in your particular context. After all, we’re talking about measuring the complex behaviors of millions of people.

The takeaway: Be wary of any pronouncement of something’s total destruction. Apocalyptic narratives can be cleansing and relieving, but they rarely address the nuances of a disruption.

Show tags Show comments / Leave a comment
 
Join the 50,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
U.S. police have attacked journalists more than 120 times since May 28
“Although in some incidents it is possible the journalists were hit or affected accidentally, in the majority of the cases we have recorded the journalists are clearly identifiable as press, and it is clear that they are being deliberately targeted.”
Riot or resistance? The way the media frames the unrest in Minneapolis will shape the public’s view of protest
Research finds that protests about anti-black racism and indigenous people’s rights receives the least legitimizing coverage.
Unicorn Riot, a nonprofit media collective, is covering the Minneapolis protests live and close up
Unicorn Riot is just five years old, but this week’s unrest isn’t its first time covering protests against a police killing in the Twin Cities.