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Google Analytics Time on Page stats- big change

  • 1.  Google Analytics Time on Page stats- big change

    Posted May 20, 2019 10:39
    Hello, everyone!
    I need all you GA experts to give me an opinion.
    After we did a huge revamp to the website, we saw an increase in time on site, consistently hovering around 4 minutes.
    This morning, I saw that had dropped dramatically, to less than 2 minutes.
    The number remained below 2 minutes, no matter which time period I chose, including time periods in the past that I recorded at 4:04 or 3:58.
    Has anyone else seen this today, or recently? Has GA changed its method of calculation?
    All information would help me! Thanks for reading, and have a glorious Monday! -Tricia

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    Tricia Maddrey BakerSocial Media/Communications ManagerBethesdaMD
    pronouns she/her
    Always Moving Forward
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    2020 Nonprofit Technology Conference Logo  w/ Baltimore Skyline


  • 2.  RE: Google Analytics Time on Page stats- big change

    Posted May 20, 2019 11:04
    Hi Tricia,

    There doesn't appear to be any changes by GA for how time on site is calculated.  That said, as someone who has worked with many nonprofits tweaking their use of Google Analytics, here are some things I find are most useful when it comes to tracking time on site, sessions, etc.

    Unfortunately "time on site" tells a very general story for site owners that doesn't help you understand what your site visitors are really doing. For instance, do you have any other tabs open in your browser (I have about 20 tabs open on the regular)? All of those pages are getting tracked as time on those sites, even though you aren't looking at them. And then, if you close a page without interacting with any buttons, videos, or going to another page on that site, GA will not even count your visit.  You may have spent 10 minutes reading a blog post, but GA will not count that as time on the page if you close the page when you are done.

    One thing I recommend is adding GA Events to your pages where possible.  If you aren't familiar with events, they are simply any interaction a user may have with your webpage such as a document download, playing of a video, ad click, etc. Once a user completes one of these events, GA will calculate the time between when a user landed on the page to when they completed the event.  That way, even if they leave your site after viewing your video, for instance, you will still get a far more accurate idea of the time the user spent on your page.  You can read more on the GA Events page, but let me know if you have more questions.


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    Dan Mastin
    Nonprofit evangelist, supporter, and entrepreneur
    Benchmarq, LLC
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    2020 Nonprofit Technology Conference Logo  w/ Baltimore Skyline


  • 3.  RE: Google Analytics Time on Page stats- big change

    Posted May 21, 2019 08:11
    Ok, thanks Dan!
    Now today, the time on page is back where it used to be, at 3:54.  I don't know what that was all about, unless our webmaster's addition of Yaost to the platform confused the analytics temporarily? (It confused me!)
    Thanks so much for your insights, and I'll work more to examine events, thanks!

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    Tricia Maddrey BakerSocial Media/Communications ManagerBethesdaMD
    pronouns she/her
    Always Moving Forward
    ------------------------------

    2020 Nonprofit Technology Conference Logo  w/ Baltimore Skyline