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I am developing a web application for managing banners, advertisements, etc.

I am not sure what the correct name for one 'view' of a banner is. I need to name it somehow to be able to report information like 'View count', 'Number of views paid', etc. to the manager.

I have found three possible names for this:

  • Impression
  • Hit
  • View

What is the correct term?

share|improve this question
As far as I know, all three are used interchangably and there isn't one that is more "correct" than the others. – FrustratedWithFormsDesigner May 28 '12 at 18:59
+1 great question. Although I think you should ask it on stackoverflow or SEO forum. – speedyGonzales May 29 '12 at 7:50
speedyGonzales: probably yes, but I have received very good answer here, so it is ok. – jakubka May 29 '12 at 12:09
up vote 5 down vote accepted

Impression is the most appropriate in this case.

From Wikipedia:

There are no globally agreed definitions within web analytics as the industry bodies have been trying to agree definitions that are useful and definitive for some time. The main bodies who have had input in this area have been JICWEBS (The Joint Industry Committee for Web Standards in the UK and Ireland) , ABCe (Audit Bureau of Circulations electronic, UK and Europe) , The WAA (Web Analytics Association, US) and to a lesser extent the IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau). This does not prevent the following list from being a useful guide, suffering only slightly from ambiguity. Both the WAA and the ABCe provide more definitive lists for those who are declaring their statistics using the metrics defined by either.

  • Hit - A request for a file from the web server. Available only in log analysis. The number of hits received by a website is frequently cited to assert its popularity, but this number is extremely misleading and dramatically over-estimates popularity. A single web-page typically consists of multiple (often dozens) of discrete files, each of which is counted as a hit as the page is downloaded, so the number of hits is really an arbitrary number more reflective of the complexity of individual pages on the website than the website's actual popularity. The total number of visitors or page views provides a more realistic and accurate assessment of popularity.

  • Page view - A request for a file whose type is defined as a page in log analysis. An occurrence of the script being run in page tagging. In log analysis, a single page view may generate multiple hits as all the resources required to view the page (images, .js and .css files) are also requested from the web server.

  • Impression - An impression is each time an advertisement loads on a user's screen. Anytime you see a banner, that is an impression.

The world's largest ad-broker, Google, have no listing for hit or view in their AdWords glossary, but define impression:


How often your ad is shown. An impression is counted each time your ad is shown on a search result page or other site on the Google Network.

  • Each time your ad appears on Google or the Google Network, it's counted as one impression.
  • In some cases, only a section of your ad may be shown. For example, in Google Maps, we may show only your business name and location or only your business name and the first line of your ad text.
  • However, when someone searches using Google Instant, an impression can be counted when one of these occur:
    • Person begins to type and then clicks anywhere on the page like a search result, ad, or related search
    • Person types a search and then clicks the "Search" button, presses Enter, or selects a predicted query from the drop-down menu
    • Person stops typing, and the results are displayed for a minimum of three seconds
share|improve this answer
If you are talking about banners with programmers you should use hit. True story. Check out that thread in a javascript forum : actionscript.org/forums/showthread.php3?t=116230. Although when we are talking about ad it is impression. forums.seochat.com/affiliate-marketing-58/… – speedyGonzales May 29 '12 at 7:46
@speedyGonzales: The world's largest ad-broker don't use hit or view but uses impression. – Hugo May 29 '12 at 7:57
I have said that impression goes with ads and hits goes with banners. I have never heard impression with banner and I have never said you are wrong. – speedyGonzales May 29 '12 at 8:08
The difference is: if the same banner is displayed in two places of the same page, it will be loaded from cache the other time, but the user will see it twice; One Hit, two Impressions. Hit is important from admin's point of view, it creates server traffic. Impression is important for the marketers, it sells the product. – SF. May 29 '12 at 11:43
@SF: That's a useful distinction: the impressions are what the user sees and most importantly what the advertiser pays for; hits are under the bonnet -- of interest to the web hosting company and aren't directly relevant to the advertiser. – Hugo May 29 '12 at 11:46

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