On the margin optimizing to make your experience (yes you, the person reading this now) better is not a good idea for most of the advertising supported websites you use (the one notable exception is Google). I say this because if you are reading this post you must be a web power user :) so view a lot of page views. Their time is better spent working on their least loyal users.
Here is why (using data from my sites).
The deeper a user is into a site the less likely they are to click. The following graph shows CTR by depth (in page views) into my site for a user on ads. For a CPC driven advertising marketplace getting someone with 5 page views to view 6 is half as valuable for me as getting someone with 2 page views to view 3.
This following graph shows the relative value (for me) of getting you from 0-1 impressions on my site, 1-2, 2-3, etc… As you can see the value added is rising to 4 page views and then starts to decline after 4 page views. A while ago I did another post on this showing the double impact of google adsense sell through rate http://www.alexschultz.co.uk/weblog/2007/07/google-adsense-.html as you increase page views per user.
Now don’t get me wrong you are probably a massively valuable user to all the content sites you regularly consume. Below is the revenue per user curve for my sites based on how many page views you have viewed. The last bucket is 6+ (not just 6) so you can see someone who views 6+ pages is 5 times as valuable to me as someone who views one.
That being said my biggest return is by getting all the folks who view 1 page to view 2 and that’s pretty much true for every content publisher I have ever seen (have done a little side consulting for a few companies).
I guess the big question I don’t answer here is how much investment does it take to get a power user to view one more page than getting a low use user to view 2 pages rather than 1 :) Perhaps my note on reducing bounce rate via recommendation engines gives some answer to that.
- The key to understanding your website
- Diminishing return on user value against page views per user
- Cume vs GRP in offline media and what it means for internet marketing
- How to optimize for the median
I hope you stay with me and read them all :)