Google Analytics: Methods for Measuring Engagement

Engagement is something you may associate with social media, when people like, comment, share, retweet, and reply to your posts, it’s a terrific indicator that your content is hitting the mark and connecting with your audience. However, have you ever tracked your website’s engagement?

Measuring Engagement with google analytics

Your website’s engagement level is an excellent measure of whether:

Your content strategy is effective – similar to social media postings, if your website material engages your audience, you know you’re doing something right and providing information they want to consume. This gives you a competitive edge over other suppliers of similar products and services.

Your information architecture is sound – content is about more than writing blog posts; it is about each page on your website and how each page is connected to give the right information to the right audience at the right time. The flow of your website’s content, including navigation and calls to action, should be logical, clear, and evident to the user, keeping them interested and on your site for an extended period of time and allowing them to easily discover the information they need.

Your targeting is precise – when advertising or publishing content across numerous platforms, you want to ensure that it reaches the proper audience. A good indicator of this is how long your audience stays on your website once they’ve viewed the material. If your content appears to be irrelevant and not what they’re looking for, visitors may go immediately.

Measuring engagement on your website is more than adding up the number of comments on a blog or the number of visitors to specific pages. Measuring engagement entails examining a variety of reports and data in order to determine how visitors interact with your website and to develop a more detailed picture of your website’s engagement. This may be accomplished by utilizing an old friend, Google Analytics, which provides statistics on how users interact with our websites.

So, how exactly do you track interaction with Google Analytics? The following are five ways to use data from your Google Analytics reports to provide insight on user engagement:

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5 Google Analytics Reports for Engagement Measuring

Because there is so much information in your Google Analytics account, it can be tough to know where to begin, we’ve divided it down into five important sections that you should find useful for gauging website engagement…

1: Bounce rate

A high bounce rate (80%+) indicates that visitors are abandoning your site after reading only one page, meaning they found the content irrelevant or the navigation challenging. A low bounce rate indicates that more visitors are reading two or more pages on your site, indicating that your content is interesting.

As we previously discussed, there are a few concerns with utilizing bounce rate to evaluate engagement, as a high bounce rate is not always a negative indicator if the visitor obtained the content they were seeking on the first page they viewed. A low bounce rate may also suggest tracking concerns (if your bounce rate is below 20 percent or you see a sudden drop in bounce rate, you may want to investigate).

The average bounce rate for a website is between 50% and 70%, depending on the sort of material on the site. Blogs with a high level of social media traffic typically have greater bounce rates than comparator sites with extremely low bounce rates. The source of your traffic can also be significant, with social media traffic often bouncing at a higher rate than Google search, for example.

2: Newcomers vs. Returnees

This Google Analytics report displays the percentage of returning visitors (within a month) against new visitors. There is no specific target to aim for here, as it is always beneficial to attract new visitors while still retaining existing ones.

However, from an engagement standpoint, we want to keep our audience engaged and returning on a frequent basis to watch content, therefore we may want to see an increase in returning traffic as a sign that our audience is engaging with our content.

According to our experience, returning visitors are more devoted lovers of our material, reading more pages and staying longer on the site than new visitors. A higher percentage of new visitors reduces the average time spent on the site, increases the bounce rate, and decreases the number of pages viewed each session.

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3: Session Duration on Average

While the length of time visitors spend on your website is another sign of engagement, it can be misleading when seen in isolation. It’s critical to understand that the average session duration is calculated by comparing the timestamp of the first page requested from your website to the timestamp of the final page requested from your website.

As a result, the average session duration does not include the time spent on the last page they visited, as no more data is requested from the server. This means that the average session duration displayed in your Google Analytics reports will be conservative and less than the actual time spent on your website by visitors.

Additionally, there is an issue with single-page visits to your website, as there is no second request to the server to generate the second timestamp, each single page visit will be logged as 0 seconds, regardless of how long the visitor spent on that one page.

Thus, while average session duration provides insight into how engaging our content is, we must consider this statistic in conjunction with other data in order to acquire a true understanding of website engagement.

4: Pageviews/Session

This indicator, which appears in your Google Analytics Audience Overview report, indicates the average number of pages viewed by visitors to your website.

If your website is a single page, you will struggle to increase this statistic because there are no more pages to read, but if your website contains a buffet of content and information, the number of pages visited during each session should be a strong sign of how interesting your content is. The more pages viewed, the more of your content is consumed.

There are a few exceptions to this. A large number of pages viewed on your website may also suggest that the content on your site is difficult to find, with visitors requesting many pages in an attempt to identify the information you’ve concealed. This would be a terrible user experience, which is why it’s critical to look at the actual pages users are reading on your website, not simply the total number of pages.

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5: Tracking of events

While Google Analytics provides a wealth of information by default, by enabling event monitoring, we can obtain even more insight into how visitors interact with our website. Not only can event tracking be used to track inquiries and sales, but it can also be used to track clicks on any page of our website.

For instance, we can watch who clicks on our phone number (on a mobile device) to call us, which buttons users click to navigate through the website, and whether certain documents are downloaded from our website.

All of this data provides us with insight into how engaged our audience is with our content. If visitors visit a page about your services and then click to download a PDF brochure, for example, they demonstrate a greater interest in what you have to offer.

If you discover that you have a high bounce rate yet a high percentage of visitors clicking to call you, you can presume that while you receive a high volume of single-page visits, those who do visit find what they’re searching for (your phone number).

To accurately evaluate interaction with Google Analytics, we must consider a variety of criteria. These will vary according to your website’s goal, target audience, and the typical way in which customers purchase from you.

Using the data provided in your Analytics reports, you should be able to establish benchmarks for user engagement with your website and use them to track progress as you analyze, alter, and optimize your content strategy, marketing efforts, and user experience on your website.

We recommend using Google Analytics dashboard feature or developing custom engagement reports in Google Data Studio to consolidate these metrics and reports in one location for easy review.