12 Days of Google Christmas – Day 6 (Average Site Time)

What is time on site? It’s pretty much what it sounds like: how long someone is spending time on your website, checking out its content and different pages. Google Analytics (GA) has a great report feature that takes this information and measures it in a way you can read and understand.

Time on Page

When a person is directed to your website, the clock starts ticking. Let’s say the person is on your homepage, Page A. GA uses the time stamp to know when the person first began viewing Page A and keeps track. If the person clicks on your ‘About Us’ page, Page B, the time stamp is recorded again and so on and so on for subsequent pages the viewer looks at. However, let’s say the viewer looked at four pages total on your website. Google Analytics is only able to record the time for the first three pages, because there is no way to measure the time of the fourth page before the viewer exited your website. The viewing time of the fourth page is recorded as ‘0’ and not used in any averages.

Calculating Time on Page :
Page A time stamp : 12:45:10
Page B time stamp : 12:47:30
Page C time stamp : 12:48:55

Subtract Page A from Page B to calculate time on Page A at 2 minutes and 20 seconds.
Subtract Page B from Page C to calculate time on Page B at 1 minute and 25 seconds.
Because the viewer left your website after looking at Page C, no time stamp is recorded and there is no time for Page C.

Time on Site
Time on Site simply adds all the time on pages together for a total. So with our example, Time on Site would be calculated 3 minutes and 55 seconds.

Average Time on Page
GA uses time Time on Page and the number of views in this calculation.

Average time on page =  Total time on page / Page views

Bounces, or zero time spent on a page (such as Page C in our example), are excluded in this report.

Average Time on Site
On this calculation, page ‘bounces’ when a person clicks off your website are included.

Average time on site = Total time of all visits / Total number of visits

Putting it all Together

Google loves information and as a website owner, you probably do too! But, there is so much to measure when a person views your page and no simple way for you to do it yourself. Google offers this really handy and simple report to use as a tool to help better understand your website and maximize its reach to viewers so you can focus on keeping your website up to date, informative and interesting to its audience!

Author Amanda Hall

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