Average page views per visit are an excellent indicator of how compelling and easily navigated your content is.
The total number of page views divided by the total number of visits during the same timeframe.
Page Views / Visits = Average Page Views per Visit
Sophisticated users may also want to calculate average page views per visit for different visitor segments.
Presentation of average page views per visit can be supplemented by associating the monetary value of a page view for the advertising business model. Based on an average cost per thousand (CPM) advertising impressions, you can calculate the value of the average visit as follows:
Average Dollar Value / 1,000 Page Views * Page Views / Visit = Value of Average Visit
For example, an advertising site having an average CPM of $25.00 and an average 3 page views per visit would make the following calculation:
$25 / 1,000 page views * 3.00 page views / visit = $0.075 per visit
Expectations about average page views per visit depend on your business model.
• CPM-based business models that depend on high page view volumes should work to increase the average number of page views per visit, thusly increasing the value of each visit.
• Marketing and retail sites generally want to increase this average, indicating a greater interest on the part of the visitor. However, depending on the specific goals of the site, more page views can indicate confusion on the part of the visitor.
• Customer support sites generally want to decrease the number of page views per visit, at least in sections specifically designed to help visitors find information quickly.
When the average number of page views per visit trend against expectations, I recommend examining a handful of common site components that affect page views:
• Navigational elements (e.g., your information architecture). If it is difficult for visitors to navigate your site they will often be forced to view more pages as they hunt. Conversely, if your site is difficult to navigate, visitors may leave your site prematurely out of frustration.
• Content. If your content is poorly written and doesn’t follow best practices for writing for the web, visitors may leave your site prematurely. Conversely, if your content is well written, visitors may be inspired to “keep reading”, driving up the average number of page views.
• Search technology. If your search functionality is poor, visitors may be forced to click to look for information. Conversely, if your search functionality is good, visitors may be leveraging search, thusly reducing the number of pages viewed.
• Marketing efforts. If your marketing efforts are poorly targeted, visitors are less likely to view many pages. Conversely, if your marketing efforts are good, visitors may view a large number of pages.
It is worthwhile to use the KPIs for average time spent on site and average time spent on pages for key pages when diagnosing problems with average page views per visit. You may also want to look at how your internal search application is being used by examining percent visitors using search, percent “zero result” searches and average searches per visit.