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The Difference Between "Hits" and "Page Views"

November 29, 2011 by Eric and Kevin

"Hits" and "Page Views" are two ways of measuring the activity on a website.

Hits are a very technical measurement and has little value to website owners, managers or the marketing team. Hits measure activity from the website server's perspective.

Page Views are a much better measurement of a website's activity. Page Views are a measure of how humans, not computers, are interacting with your website. 

The reason there are two measures is due to the way web pages are written. When a web designer creates a web page, they incorporate text together with other "assets" such as images, scripts, movies, and animations.

Pages and Assets

In the example above, the page includes the text, plus 10 assets (images).

When a visitor accesses this example page, the website server sends the text first. The visitor's browser then reads the page and sees there are ten additional assets needed to display it, so it requests them from the server.

Each one of those requests to the server is a "hit". In this example, the visitor has viewed only one page, but has generated 11 "hits" on the server. If 1,000 visitors viewed the page, there would be 11,000 "hits".

You can see why you need to dig a little deeper when someone says their website is "getting a million hits a month!" You need to ask them what is the average number of assets per page on their site. Then, divide the number of hits by the average number of assets to get the number of page views. 

Conclusion: use page views, not hits to measure traffic on your website. Hits are meaningful to the developers, engineers and designers creating your site, but should be ignored by the marketing department. Page Views are a much more meaningful number for measuring the activity of humans on your site.


Posted in Help Me Understand

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