Are you an Engaging Host?
Do you ever find yourself scrolling through internet content on your phone and accidentally click something you didn’t mean to? Don’t worry, it happens to me more than I care to admit. With all of today’s new touch screen technology it’s no surprise that people click links, enter sites, and view webpages by accident. And while it is certainly frustrating for the user (especially when you click the “back arrow” twenty times and make things worse) people don’t often consider is how frustrating it can be for the site owner. When tracking your site traffic it can be exciting to see a large number of sessions but this data is misleading because it doesn’t capture how engaged your visitors are. I am here to discuss how to track and analyze visitor engagement so you can have a better idea of who is actually interacting with your site versus who might just be there because of their fumbly fingers.
Step one: Collect data
Step two: Analyze your results
Once you gather visitor data it is time to start looking at user engagement. While you might have measured many different variables, there are three that we will focus on including pages per session, average session duration, and bounce rate.
- Pages per Session – The higher your pages per session the better. When you have a high average pages per session it indicates that visitors to your site are going beyond the initial page to read and investigate more information on your site. This shows a high level on engagement on your site and could indicate successful website design.
- Average Session Duration – The higher your average pages per session, the better. High session durations indicate that visitors are spending more time on your site and therefore are more engaged. They are taking more time to read information and investigate the site which could indicate a good website design and useful content.
- Bounce Rate – Bounce rate is different from the other two metrics. Unlike pages per session and average session duration that are better the higher they are, you want your bounce rate to be low. Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who navigate away from your site after only viewing one page. A lower bounce rate indicates that less people are navigating away quickly which means that your website is more engaging.
Step three: Improving your site
Once you have analyzed the engagement of your site visitors, you can make some educated decisions about how to move forward. If you find that engagement in any of the three metrics is poor, you can do further testing to better understand why. A/B testing is a great way to trial different design elements and content to find the most engaging combination for your visitors. This will help you to attract and retain visitors and even to help convert them to customers in the long run. It is important for any site owner to analyze these engagement metrics so that you have an understanding of how involved your visitors actually are. By analyzing engagement metrics, you can separate out those visitors actually seeking your site from those who accidentally click your link and ads on their touchscreen devices.
Suzanne Marovec is an undergraduate Marketing & Management and Human Resources student at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.