In an attempt to go beyond page views and visits, today web stats company Compete introduced “Attention metrics”. The reason is that interactive Web page technologies such as Ajax and Flash – not to mention online video – are making simple page views and visits increasingly outdated. With Ajax for example, information on a webpage can be updated without needing to refresh the page. In order to get around these issues, Compete has introduced two specific attention metrics:

  • Attention: The total time spent on a site as a percentage of the total time spent online by all U.S. internet users
  • Velocity: The relative change in daily Attention; velocity is used to determine the relative growth of a website compared to other sites

The move is aimed at marketing people, to help them find “high-potential advertising sites”.

To test this out, let’s look at 3 popular websites – eBay, YouTube and MySpace. Here are their attention graphs on Compete:

Interesting that all 3 sites have an almost identical traffic pattern (in terms of peaks especially). Meanwhile MySpace has an attention metric of 13.073374%. YouTube has just over 1%, while eBay has just over 3% (of total time spent online by all U.S. internet users).

I also tested out a number of blogs, but most of them didn’t have enough data to compute (including r/ww). Also there was an instance of incorrect data in Compete, relating to one of the few tech blogs that does have attention data. I’ve said it before, but Compete really needs to improve its data for blogs – because obviously popular blogs are key niche sites that marketers are interested in. Also as a publisher I would like to be able to measure ‘attention’ for R/WW, so I hope Compete can provide these metrics for blogs and small sites soon.

Disclosure: Compete is a current Read/WriteWeb sponsor.