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Compete's web analytics tools has attempted to give a broader range of stats beyond mere visits and page views by introducing stats measuring visitor's 'attention'.

In a recent post, Steve Rubel discussed what would replace the page impression, and while the unique visitor metric is probably the most reliable metric available at the moment, it fails to measure a user's engagement with a particular site.

This is where Compete's 'attention' metric could be useful - it measures the total amount of time U.S. users spend on a website as a percentage of total time spent on the internet by all U.S. users.

Compete attention stats

The above graph gives a comparison of MySpace, eBay and YouTube, and shows that MySpace users spend far more time on that site that the others.

While other web analytics companies, such as Hitwise, track stats at ISP level, Compete, along with Alexa and others, get their stats from users who have their toolbars installed.

This means that attention stats for many smaller sites and blogs, including E-consultancy, are not available at the moment.


Graham Charlton

Published 5 April, 2007 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

2565 more posts from this author

Comments (4)



I think there is something fundamentally wrong with the implicit association that "attention=time". Attention is "the cognitive process of selectively concentrating on one aspect of the environment while ignoring other things" (Wikipedia). In your example, the type of "attention" is really different when you look at eBay, YouTube and MySpace. Do they share the same attention characteristics? I've been discussing the concept of attention economy in web analytics for a while and the recent introduction of Compete, although interesting, is too narrow. Even if you spend an hour in each of those activities, do you have the same experience when shopping for a new MP3 player (eBay), looking at TV (YouTube) or visiting friends (MySpace)? I guess not :)


over 9 years ago

Chris Lake

Chris Lake, CEO at Empirical Proof

A great observation - you're right, of course. It is something that merits more discussion...

over 9 years ago



Compete metrics are based on the behavior of 2 million U.S. internet users. Compete’s panel is based on a diverse data set including, ISPs, opt-in panels and the Compete Toolbar. Unlike other panels, the Compete panel is able to compare and contrast its various data sources to indentify and de-bias site inflation/deflation. In many ways, Compete blends the approach of comparative market offerings to offer the largest and most diverse domestic data source available.

For a comparative matrix across existing metrics providers see:

over 9 years ago


Matt Hopkins

I agree with Mr Hamel in that our standard web 1.0 metrics are becoming funky web 2.0 metrics just with a bit of rebranding. To this end I have constructed my own web 2.0 'user engagement' metrics.

Matt Hopkins

over 9 years ago

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