The “average time on page” is an online marketing metric that helps the owner of a certain website track the amount of time the users of the said website spend on its pages. With the help of this metric, one can find out which of his pages is performing well and has a lot of user interaction, and which of them are not.
However, in order to fully understand the “average time on page” metric concept, we’ll have to begin by explaining and detailing the “average session duration” metric, as these two go hand in hand and provide essential insight to a website’s manager.
Average Session Duration
In order to come up with the average session duration for your website, you’ll have to divide the total duration of all the sessions, taken in seconds, by the number of sessions.
Moreover, we also have to refer to the individual session duration – this one depends on the user of a certain website interacting with one of the pages. For example, you can set which action on a certain page to be seen as an interaction hit.
At the moment the users perform that interaction hit, the duration of the session will be tracked up until that moment, offering the website’s manager clear information about how much time one spent on a certain page before doing something specific, like clicking a link or playing a video.
Average Time on Page
In short, the average time on page is the average time is spent on a single page by all of the users that have accessed a certain website. There are two things that come in handy when tracking the average time on page.
For example, let’s say that a user has just accessed your website and is taken to its main page. After checking the information on the main page, the user will decide whether to go on another page or simply leave the website.
If he leaves the website – thing that is considered a bounce – then the time he or she spent only on the main page will not be recorded and will not be added to the average time on page metric.
When comparing the average session duration and the average time on page metric, you have to know that the average time on page will always be a higher number, and also the more important metric.
This is because the average session duration will count all of the bounces on the website as zero duration. Therefore, with a higher exit and bounce rate, your average session duration will be lower.
The Bottom Line
The entire aforementioned boil down to the fact that the average time on page and the average session duration do not offer the manager of a website clear statistics about the time users spent on their page.
For example, no time will go to the average time on page if a user simply closes the tab with your website after reading a certain piece of information. Basically, if the user leaves after the first page and after the last page read, those two will not go towards the total number of average time on page.
That’s why it would be a better idea for certain website managers out there to focus more on completion rate or average read percentage, rather than on average time on page and average session duration.