Given the growth in technologies, such as Ajax and even humble old Flash, which allow users to interact with page content without refreshing the page, the page view was already on questionnable ground – not that the industry could agree on how best to measure them in the first place…
Add to this the network effects of influencers that take an idea or brand and discuss it outside of the source site on their blog or social space and it challenges the traditional ad standard of ‘reach’ with an alternative measure ‘depth’ – although you should still look to measure the wider reach of a campaign from the wider network effects of ‘depth’.
I can see how the ‘depth’ argument works well for brands using online advertising and PR as ways to raise awareness, stimulate conversations and drive sales of their products.
It’s less clear for content publishers trying to monetise their content through advertising – how to charge and for what? Are unique users the metric, or are channel or site sponsorships the right model or are other models better suited to this space? Time will tell. It’s debatable how important page views were anyway in the wider world of stats and cost-per-click and cost-per-action advertising.
For content publishers non-intrusive ad-supported widgets may be a tool to monetise some of the depth and for wider network effects to be the PR that drives users back to the source content and widgets. 2007 is going to be an interesting year.