This is a simple matrix we use to describe the value of a user in digital media. The higher up and farther to the right the user is, the higher the value over time, in nearly all cases. This is one reason a “unique user” is not just a unique user and a pageview is not just a pageview. If someone, in coming to your property (whether on your site, their mobile device, a social network, their widget reader…) does something with you that moves them beyond the lower left, they’re worth more, in a business sense, than the casual viewer who just pops in from search, leaves quickly, maybe didn’t even realize where they were.
The chart was part of a presentation we gave for the Suburban Newspaper Association’s Interactive Media Alliance last week. The slides from the presentation (with a little bit of distortion and font mistakes that occurred in the uploading to Scribd) are below: