When it comes to measuring time, they are of two kinds: time on page and time on site. However, there are various variants of “time” like time spent per visitor, time spent per visit etc which are captured by tools like adobe or google analytics. To understand how time is captured by any web analytics tool, let’s consider an example of a website having 3 pages.
A user comes to page1 say at 11.00am and spends some time and goes to page2 at 11:02am. The user gets hooked to this page and clicks on a discount link at the bottom of the page which directs him to page3, which gets him landed at say 11:07am
The time spent on page1 is difference between the timestamp captured between the two pages in this case 2 min. Similarly, the time captured between page3 and page2 is 5min. The user exists your site from page3 (closing the browser or session time out). If there are not events or hits getting captured on page3, then there will be no time captured for this page. The reason being the web analytics tool needs to have at least one hit recorded for the time to get calculated. Hence make sure, if you have only one page and there is no call to action or events on your page then you can find high bounces and no time captured on your web analytic tool. The tool will not know how long a user is spending on your site or page and hence only captures the timestamp when the user enters your site. There may be cases when a visitor comes to your site spends some time and then does multi-tasking as is the case which happens most of the time, visits some other site goes somewhere by keeping your page open. In this case if the user doesn’t come back to your site then at the end of 29th minute the session expires. The time on site is only captured if there is a hit recorded when the user was spending some time else there is no timestamp captured or calculated.s
The time on site metric indicates the level of engagement a visitor has with your page or site. A good engagement number indicates that users are spending considerable amount of time on your site and thus indicate a healthy content which users love consuming. One needs to look at this number over a certain period for any page or site to analyse or to draw insights out of it.
One should also look at the new vs returning user report to understand the time on site. If your site attracts more of returning users then it should be updated and populated with new or fresh content at regular intervals.
There can be times when you have a campaign which drives traffic to your site and average engagement on your site increases. To make more sense out of it, you may have to pull the referral report or marketing channel report to look at which is channel is sending more engaged visitors to your site.
Databox provides some benchmark on average session duration and it may differ for each business and websites. An e-commerce site, shopping site or a blog can have huge time spent on the site however a railway booking site or an information site can have less time spent on the site.