This is a question that I always get in conferences and e-mails from readers. It’s important to know what these terms mean especially if you’re going to use a portion of your marketing budget in digital marketing. Usually publishers try to dazzle advertisers by giving unreliable data to give the impression that the website is really popular. By knowing the definition of terms you’ll be able to cut through the BS.
Each file sent by the web server to the browser is a hit. This means the page contains several elements like pictures, videos, and different graphics and text, you get multiple hits each time one person loads one page. This is a very unreliable way to measure traffic of a website. Don’t settle for this if this is the only metric being presented to you.
This is pretty straightforward. A pageview is generated each time a visitor views a page on the website. This is independent of hits. Regardless if the site has dozens of photos and images (generating dozens of hits), it will only record 1 page view for the viewer.
To get a better idea of the actual traffic of a site ask for the Page Views and the Unique Visitors (number of unique views to the site). Don’t settle for hits.