Why page impressions are not the ideal metric to measure success
Back when I was working as a developer one of our websites once requested an odd feature. None of us could ever imagine that it would be a success but a lot of work. Only few people ever used it according to analytics data so it became the epiphany of failure.
It was a success.
Granted it was hardly ever used by our audience so it wasn’t a success with them.
Fewer page impressions also means that there have been fewer ad impressions which means less advertising revenue so no success there either.
How could it have been a success then?
The simple answer: it was sponsored and fully paid for.
Especially on publishing sites sponsoring is happening every now and then. A client comes to you and wants to buy a story. Somtimes his own idea sometimes he wants you to make something up. A story that represents him. He then hands you some cash and you do it. If development and maintenance costs do not exceed this budget the story is a success even without a single person clicking it.
Currently we plan on implementing a live chat knowing that it will drive as much traffic as the imprint probably. However a client asked for it and will pay a decent sum of money. This is how success spells.
The truth about the web is that visits, visitors and page impressions or any other kind of analytics metric does not always measure success. To answer whether you failed or succeeded you need to put these into a context. In most cases the context is given by profit. Money.