Nielsen/NetRatings adds 'Total Minutes,' 'Total Session' metrics

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Nielsen/NetRatings, an Internet media and market researcher, has added both "Total Minutes" and "Total Sessions" metrics to NetView, its syndicated Internet audience measurement service.

Although NetView always reported average time per person and average number of sessions, the new metrics deliver a more precise perspective on total engagement across sites.

The total minutes metric provides a common denominator for user behavior that is independent of site design.

Nielsen/NetRatings data show that the difference between time spent and page view metrics varies depending on the category that the Web site falls into. Among search providers, the time spent and page view ratios are similar.

For example, the ratio of total minutes spent on Google Search versus Yahoo Search is 3.3 to 1. Between social networking sites MySpace and YouTube, the time spent ratio is 3.6 to 1, but the ratio of page views is much larger at 10.4 to 1. YouTube visitors spend more time per page than MySpace because they are primarily watching videos, requiring fewer page refreshes. While MySpace may be able to serve more ads because of its number of page refreshes, the time spent ratio is an important comparison of audience engagement on the two sites.

Ranking top sites by total minutes instead of page views gives the sites with more total minutes and less page views a lift and sites like Google, designed to give visitors fast answers and links, a drop.

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