Engagement Data: Should We Pay More Attention?

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  • 3/6/2017
    A majority of the time when people hear the term “website metrics” or “website data,” they are referring to traffic, more specifically sessions or visits. Obviously, this is important to monitor and can give website owners insight into whether or not marketing campaigns, social media, advertising, etc. have been bringing people to their website. But, just because people stop by doesn’t mean they’re going to stay or come back. So how can website owners get information about their visitors’ actions?

    The first place to start digging for engagement data is Google Analytics. GA will show important metrics such as the bounce rate, time on site, pages per session, new versus returning visitors and much more. Let’s look a bit deeper into a few of these metrics.

    Bounce Rates

    A high bounce rate on a page is a great indicator that something isn’t as it should be, most of the time. This could be that visitors are not finding what they are looking for or that there are too many distractions. Each industry or type of landing page is a bit different when it comes to a benchmark so, naturally, some are going to be higher than others. There are also instances where a high bounce rate is not a cause for concern, such as a contact page, which typically has a higher bounce rate. To find out all you need and could every want to know about bounce rates, check out this blog post.

    Time on Site

    This metric is formed by keeping track of how long the average visitor spends on a website. If this number is very low, there may be a problem with your overall website, design, content or layout. Take this a step further and analyze the audience engagement rate, which breaks the session duration into chunks. Each chunk can then be given a percentage. For example, someone that sees 60% of their visitors are only staying for 11 to 30 seconds may have a problem with where their visitors are coming from and/or what their visitors are doing while they are on the site.

    These and other audience and behavior metrics are part of “dwell time,” which is assessed by Google and can affect your search engine rankings.

    Although Google can give us some great high-level information about how visitors move from page to page, it’s much harder to see what the users are doing while they are on each page. This is where heat map tracking comes in handy. Heat mapping programs like Lucky Orange or Crazy Egg do a variety of things like record visitor sessions, map out what visitors clicked on and show where visitors scrolled to.

    By using these tools along with other analytics tools, a website owner can obtain important information about who is coming to their website and what they are doing while they’re clicking through. Problems or obstacles can be identified much faster, and each visit to the website can become more valuable for both the owner of the website and user.

    Beyond current website assessments, these tools should be used to develop new websites or pages to fill in gaps, reach audiences that aren’t being reached and further engage your current audiences. If your website is in need of these tools or if your team needs help analyzing and implementing strategy, drop us a note. We have a dedicated Optimization Team at the ready to help boost your site’s bottom line and website engagement.
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