When i first started in digital media everybody talked in hits, this then moved to page impressions and then to unique visitors and there is has stayed for a number of years. The common theme to this is quoting the largest possible number to business owners or advertisers. However that number has never truly reflected the engagement with an online offering.
The problem with online traffic is that is is now vast, think of the page impressions Facebook alone generates. But what is the value of those impressions? This growth combined with the recssion has caused the decline in the channel sell of online inventory reducing ad rates significantly.
Simon Waldman from Guardian Media Group has recently openden the loyalty debate once again. In simple terms if you have 100 people visit your site every day and spend an hour on it you have 100 monthly unique visitors. If you have 100 people visiting your site for 2 mins every day for a month you have 3,000 monthly uniques. One is clearly a bigger number but which in effect is more valuable to the site owner and the advertiser?
Right now we are all still chasing U/V's but it was not long ago it was page views and i suspect we will see another change in the next couple of years.