How to measure your audience on AJAX

January 29, 2008

Hat tip to Josh at Read Write Web for his write up regarding this link that I’d never come across before. It’s a demo of an analytics tool aimed at web 2.0 and AJAX websites.

With the death of the page view as the all important metric of the analyst there has appeared a need to be able to measure users engagement with a website rather than just how many pages they viewed.

The rise of AJAX has been a major player in this with whole websites sometimes being a single screen which makes many calls to databases and servers in order to refresh itself multiple times in a users visit. Thus devaluing the page view completely.

The demo shows a novel way to gauge a users engagement by measuring in time how long segments of the page stay in the browser viewing pane. This isn’t perfect by a long way but it’s a sign of how analytics tools will have to work in the future as websites get more difficult to measure and marketeers and management get more demanding in their hunt for data to help understand their users.

Also really interesting is the demo of a tool to measure users engagement with a banner advert. I can’t wait till metrics like this exist as they may help marketers see that throwing money into display advertising is not the way forward anymore.

What I’d really like to see is mouse interaction data on pages as well. It surely is possible to collect the data on the X and Y coordinates and it’s a good hint as to what area of the screen a user is actually focused on (users tend to hover the mouse over what interests them). It’s great to know that the item you’re interested in is within view but how do you know that users are actually looking at it? Short of installing eyetracking as defacto in PC’s we may never answer questions like that!

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