Businesses these days are always striving to create a website with high-quality content which attracts the right users. Thus, after putting so much time and effort it is important for the business to know how the users are engaged with the website. User engagement metrics measure what users are actually doing with your website. Having insight into what content drives user engagement helps the business with understanding their customer better and help to make informed decisions. If a user is getting value from your website he starts using it longer and the longer he uses it, greater the opportunity for revenue generation.
There is no one formula for all websites. Different user engagement models are used for different types of websites.
- Content rich websites like news websites or media outlets should focus on metrics like Time spent on site, the number of page views or return rates.
- E-commerce websites can look at shopping cart abandonment or page views to find out if the user is finding what he is looking for.
- When the site is sales focused conversions becomes the main focus. Time on site, conversion rates, core user actions take up high importance here.
Finally, it is up to you to decide which metrics matter your website the most and develop a plan to track them accordingly. Below are some of the user engagement metrics that could be useful for your website:
Unique visits tell you how many people have engaged with your website for the first time. It is one of the fundamental metrics in web analytics and gives you an overall measure of the website traffic. Most web analytics platform counts unique visitors by dropping a cookie on the users device. But this method is not always accurate as a user may delete the cookie. For example, if a visitor visits on Monday and deletes the cookie, then his next visit on Tuesday will be again considered unique as a new cookie is generated and the same user will be counted twice as unique. Therefore, it may be better for some websites to count the total number of users the website has over a given period of time. This will give you a better look at your visitors and help you take further decisions. You can further segment these visitors as per their demographics, gender age or any other way that suits you to take appropriate decisions.
Frequency Of Visits
How often a user returns to your website is another key indication of engagement. This is known as the frequency of visits. The frequency of visits will tell you about how loyal your visitors are. The satisfaction of these loyal users will determine their future behaviour such as purchasing your product or service, recommending or committing to your brand. All the visitors might not be visiting your website daily. You need to understand the pattern for your website traffic to better understand the users. Higher the number of returning visitors to your site, higher the engagement and more opportunities to generate revenue. Understanding why some users are returning and why others aren’t will help you develop the right content to attract more visitors to your website frequently.
Core User Actions
You can assess the engagement on your website by studying core user actions. Core user actions depend on your product or service. If you have created an online social game, joining the game is considered a core user action. You should always define the core user actions as per your business needs and track whether or not your visitors are performing them. If your website traffic is performing these actions consistently then it is an indication of good adoption to your content. Else if the users are spending enough time on your website and aren’t performing the actions then they might be having difficulties in finding a way to perform them.
(image source: www.totango.com)
Pages Per Session
Pages per session tell us how many pages the user visited throughout his visit on the website. It measures the engagement as a function of the total number of clicks and the total number of pages visited. For most website the objective is to keep the visitors engaged, nurture their interests and drive them towards critical actions on the websites. More pages per session will indicate that your users are highly engaged and willing to explore your website. However, it is important to know that if your visitors are visiting more pages and the other metrics are low then the visitor isn’t finding what he is looking for. You should combine this metric with average session duration to check whether your users are actually engaging with your site or not.
Average Session Duration
This is the average amount of time the user spends on your site for each of his sessions. Time on site or visit duration can be an indication of the level of interest or involvement that a visitor has with the website. It is also a good indicator of the success of a campaign or other promotional activity that brings visitors to your website. The more time the user spends on your site the more interested and involved he is with your content. Also, the likelihood of performing certain key actions on your website also increases with the increase in session duration. But, more often the user may spend a lot of time on your website trying to find the exact content he is looking for. Thus, it is a good idea to measure this metric alongside another, such as core user actions, to assess the success of your website.
Bounce rate is the percentage of single-page visits. It is closely related to session duration pages per visit. Bounce rate is useful as a general signal of user engagement and the state of content quality and helps to identify when problems exist on your site. High bounce rates are an indication that the visitors are not finding what they are looking for. Bounce rate (in Google Analytics) though has nothing to do with the amount of time spent on page. It just tells you that the user has left from the same page as his initial entry on the site. Someone may spend a few minutes on the landing page and exit to complete a call to action offline. But Analytics will consider this as a bounce. Thus, it is always advisable that you use the bounce rate metrics along with other metrics like time on site or session duration to assess the success of your page correctly.
This metric tell you about the time elapsed since the user’s last visit to your website. Generally speaking, if the time between two sessions of your user is less then he is more loyal to your website. Having a low time between two sessions also increases the likely hood of engagement. So it is a good idea to track visitor recency to know how engaged your users are. But, if your website has a long buying cycle, there may not be high visitor recency, it may be more medium (a few days or a week). If you update your website daily with a blog post, IT alerts, or any important daily information, then you’re looking for high recency.
It is not necessary that all of these metrics will help you achieve your goals. You would require to measure and track only those metrics which are relevant to your website. Though, by tracking the relevant user engagements will help improve you understand your website traffic better. You will learn how people interact with your website and you will learn what is needed to improve your website further.