How to Assess and Set Goals for Pages per Visit


You might have encountered this situation when reporting your metrics report. Your stakeholders saw the number of Pages per Visit (or Pageviews/Visit) increased or decreased, and they’ll come asking rather that is good or bad.

In this blog post, I’ll refer to Pages per Vist to PPV

First of all, if you’re getting a reaction to changes in PPV, that’s probably better than getting no reaction or comment.  Usually, number of pages viewed per visit doesn’t change that much and it is a measure that is overlooked.  Usually this metric changes a lot of when something technically goes wrong, and then the bounce rate drops or shoots up.

However, it is important to come to an understanding with your stakeholders that PPV could be a powerful metrics depending on how you look at it.

To me, it is quite useless if you just sit there and look at this metric go up and down, and claim it as good or bad without any context or a goal.

Web site’s goal and objective
Depending on what you’re trying to accomplish with your website, how you look at every metrics and KPI’s would be different. In terms of PPV, what would be your bottom line?  How do you determine the good amount of page views per visit and call it a success?

How do you want your PPV to look like when you put your site’s goal into consideration?

Case #1:

Let’s say you’re going to run a mini-site to acquire site registrations and attempt to market to those registrants later.

It turns out you’ll need a minimum of 3 pages to complete the registration process. In other words, reach the confirmation/thank you page.

Then ultimately, you’ll like to see your PPV on this mini-site around 3~4. Obviously, if your PPV says 2, then people are probably not reaching the confirmation page. Time to look at the conversion funnel in more detail.

Case #2:

For news related site (like NYT, WSJ, Reuters, etc.), you can see PPV in many different ways.

Because it is very likely that these sites are monetizing through CPM-based media ads, from that standpoint, they may want to acquire a lot of PPV as much as possible. In that case, high PPV would be nice, but it is also important to assess different levels of PPV by various news categories.

In that case, high PPV would be nice, but it is also important to assess different levels of PPV by various news categories.

If they’re promoting related articles through artificial intelligence tool (IA, predictive modeling, etc.), then that will be another area where they would want to see multiple PPV as well. Meaning you want to be able to segment and see how different segments do differently for a number of pages viewed per session.  Setting goals for PPV by verticals or by different micro-objectives within a site would become important as well.

Translate that analysis and educate your users
From an analyst standpoint, each analysis is probably thorough and covers enough details through basic reporting from web analytics tools.  However, your insights would need to be translated to others, so that they don’t limit their views on PPV on one flat number in one dimension.  In other words, generate various angles to articulate how different user segments behave differently and how marketing is trying to improve user experience to drive more traffic through the funnel.

My personal story:
I’ve encountered a site where PPV dropped 50% after the site relaunched, and it was due to multiple reasons, which was mostly attributed to better site design. It was a little challenging to translate to others that this “decline” was good. What’s your story?


Kris Twitter

As a data journalist, I enjoy curating and analyzing marketing trends, and data. The things that fascinate me the most are the transforming business landscape due to evolving marketing technologies.