Time on page vs visitor engagement time

engagement time


Traditionally, “Time on Page” has been the most common metric used to measure engagement with the content of a page. But Time on Page tells you one thing and one thing only – how long a visitor had a web page open for.

The trouble is, most users will often open a new tab, read for a short time, then minimize their browser or even go off and do something else while keeping the browser open.

All of this is normal browsing behavior, but it gives rise to one major point: “Time on Page” tells us nearly nothing about how and how long visitors actually interact with your online content!

Instead, "Engagement Time" is the metric that we should all be talking and using.

Engagement Time is also a metric that's unique to Clicktale and shows literally the time visitors were actively engaged with your site, like reading your content, looking at your pictures, watching your videos and browsing your products.

Engagement Time tells you how long that page held their attention rather than just the time that that page was opened in their browsers.

Engagement vs time on page

As you can see from the above graph, Time on Page can change drastically - in part because it can be skewed by normal browsing behavior. User Engagement Time however, provides a far more steady, reliable and more representative statistic of visitor behavior.

3 Reasons Why Visitors May Not be Engaging:

Now that we've established that Engagement Time is far more important a measure of optimization than Time on Page, what are the sort of issues that may be harming your site's engagement? Here are the three most common ones:

1: Content is not meeting visitor expectations. This could be causing high bounce rates because the content is not interesting enough for the visitor. Perhaps they are looking for something more relevant that does not currently exist on the page.

2: Page is hard to navigate to article or feature of choice. The page is poorly laid out and can therefore seem overwhelming or confusing for the visitor.

3: The content could not be loading properly, or at all. This could be because there's too much redirection or loading time. Also, there could be JavaScript errors on the page. Or, visitors could be clicking on an article thinking that it will open but instead, get redirected to another page.

Time to Start Measuring Visitor Engagement

Clicktale's advanced heatmaps provide a range of metrics that enable you to accurately identifying engagement time for desktop and mobile websites. This will enable your team to quickly and accurately identify which of the three issues above are causing poor engagement.

From mouse move heatmaps, to attention heatmaps and scroll reach heatmaps - all of these enable web performance and marketing specialists to understand where visitors are really engaging within your web pages. And if you think you've spotted a trend, then simply drill down into the Session Playback to watch full browser sessions to confirm why visitors may or may not be engaging.

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