Time Duration, Pages/Session and Engagement

The amount of time a user spends on a webpage or the website, and the number of pages that he views during a session is a reflection of the user’s level of engagement.

High levels of engagement or stickiness is normally a positive indicator. However, depending on the nature of the content, more time spent on page could also be an indication that the page is difficult to read or not easy to understand.

The context therefore, is important. The optimum level of engagement varies from page to page as well as from individual to individual.

TimeMe.js (GitHub)

The amount of time a user spends on a webpage or the website can be tracked through timestamps. This however, is not very useful because it tracks the time that the page remains open, and not the time that user actively interacts with the page.

Fortunately, there is TimeMe.js, a JavaScript library, developed by GitHuub that tracks how long users actively interact with a web page. It excludes time spent when the user minimizes the browser or switches to a different tab.

TimeMe.js also excludes ‘idle’ time outs. It ignores the time duration when a user goes idle (no page mouse movement, no page keyboard input) for a pre-defined period.

TimeMe.js supports tracking time for specific elements within a page so that developers can track and compare usage of different parts of the same web page.

Bounce Rate

Bounce rate is usually defined as the proportion of visitors who leave the site without interacting with the page. They do not visit any page other than their landing page, and they do not interact with any of the elements on that page. This happens when:

  • User closes the tab or the browser window, or clicks the browser “back” button.
  • User types URL/clicks link to page on another website.
  • Session times out.

If the user clicks a pop-up, plays a video or interacts with any other element, it will not be counted as bounce.

This definition applies well for the majority of sites where the intent is for visitors to move beyond the landing page down a path of conversion.

The definition of bounce rate should however, be modified for sites where the conventional definition is not appropriate. If, for instance, the intent at a blog is only to impart the information on the page, its purpose may be served without further interaction by users. For such sites, the time spent on the site is a good gauge. If users spends less than a fixed amount of time, say 10 seconds, they are counted as bounced users.

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