“As of Thursday, artworks in [VIPs] virtual booths have logged 5.3 million pageviews from online browsers since the site went live” ArtINFO reports. This sounds like a really impressive number, but I wonder how much it tells us. I did a few calculations, and came up with roughly 2,160 images displayed on the site (the total number of booths and respective image allotments + 5 percent for swapped images and private showings). This would mean that each image received 491 views per day (assuming they are counting image views as page views, which I assume they are since each image has its own url). That seems like a lot to me, but also not particularly relevant. As a dealer I’d want to know how many people have used the site, how much TIME they are spending on my images, and how often they are returning. I wrote VIP requesting those stats, but haven’t heard back. In lieu of this, a few reflections and estimates from a friend in the development business:
You can’t really apply a standard e-commerce pageviews/visitor here, because the site is so heavily browse-driven. I assume the stat they’re surfacing for the press counts a pageview for every artwork viewed, including the clicks that scroll from work to work in that AJAX “gallery wall”. As you point out, VIP Art Fair are keeping the more interesting stats for themselves; pageviews aren’t really interesting–time on each image, average and breakdown of number of galleries visited, and total unique visitors are the numbers you want, and extrapolating is tricky.
We know they had a huge concurrency problem when they went live, which suggests they actually did have a ton of people visiting. In online magazines and newspapers, you’d expect something on the order of 20-30 pages per visit, and this model should be higher than that if they’re counting each artwork view as a pageview. I’d figure something like 6-10 “galleries” visited, with an average of 10 images per gallery [Editor’s note: This sounds about right to me]; let’s use 60-100 pv/v.
Somewhere between 53K and 88K visitors since launch, with 60-100 artworks viewed on average? Doesn’t seem off by an order of magnitude. Some of those visitors will count twice for visiting on different days, so the actual number of human beings visiting the page will be a bit less than that.
As for time on site, you have to figure that if they’re using one pageview for every artwork shown, time-on-page has to be far lower than average: probably < 10 seconds, probably around 5-10 seconds. That works out to anywhere between 5 and 16 minutes on site–I don’t trust that number so much, but we’re not talking 1 hour on site, and we’re not talking one minute either.