What are pageviews?
Every time a visitor’s browser loads a page on your website, it counts as a pageview. This includes instances where a visitor refreshes or reloads the page. Or when a visitor hits the back button. Bots can also fire pageviews—but fortunately, content analytics tools like Parse.ly filter bots out.
Pageviews are one of the oldest metrics available to content teams. It remains a useful metric in any analyst’s toolkit, though it’s subject to a lot of “noise.”
Page views vs. visits vs. visitors’ unique page views
To suss out the signal from that noise, many publishers and content creators track visitors instead of visits or pageviews.
Pageviews are not quite the same thing as a page visit. A visit is only registered when someone lands on your website from an external source, like Facebook or Google. So, all page visits are pageviews, but not all pageviews are page visits.
Visits have two limitations as a metric:
- They can only be measured reliably on your website. However, many companies have multiple channels they want to measure across, including Accelerated Mobile Pages, Facebook Instant Articles, Apple News, iOS, Android, and more.
- They rely too much on an extended session. Typically, a visitor must stay engaged for 30 minutes for it to count as a “visit.” To be counted as a returning visit, they need to come back within 30 days.
Visitors, on the other hand, are measured when a person arrives on your page. And they aren’t counted multiple times as they click around your website as pageviews are. So, if somebody looks at three pages, you’ll rack up three pageviews but only one visitor.
This gets rid of noise from things like refreshes, back-button clicks, or content presentation choices like slideshows and articles that span multiple pages.
Visitors can be categorized as new or returning.
Pageviews vs. sessions in Google Analytics
A session records all activity a visitor performs on your website from the moment they arrive until the moment they leave (or until they’ve gone idle for 30 minutes).
This is how Google’s Universal Analytics (also known as UA or GA3) used to record data. As of July 2023, UA will be retired in favor of Google Analytics 4 (or GA4).
The biggest difference between UA and GA4 is that GA4 doesn’t use sessions anymore. Now, it’s based on “events.” Analysts will need to manually create tags and set up events for every metric they want to track, whether that’s pageviews or conversions.
GA4 is also playing catchup with Parse.ly. GA4 will retire its bounce rate metric and start recording engagement time instead. This metric will work like Parse.ly’s longstanding engaged time metric.
How can Parse.ly help?
Pageviews are a basic building block of a good content analysis. But that metric alone isn’t enough. Parse.ly helps you build context around pageviews so you can learn not just how many times a page is opened but also who is opening it and why they are, or aren’t, sticking around. Then, it presents that information in a way that makes it easy to take next steps to improve your metrics.
Learn more about Parse.ly’s approach to content analytics today.