Average visit duration of website visit

Indicator Number: 
30
Category: 
Logic Model Component: 
Data Type(s): 
Count
Short Definition: 

Measures the mean length of time for visits to a website, calculated as the difference between the times of a visitor’s first and last activity during the visit and averaged for all visitors

Definition and Explanation (Long): 

This indicator measures the mean length of time for visits to a website, calculated as the difference between the times of a visitor’s first and last activity during the visit and averaged for all visitors.

Data Requirements: 

Quantitative data from web analytics

Data Sources: 

Web analytics software, such as Google Analytics, Piwik, and WebTrends

Frequency of Data Collection: 
Quarterly
Purpose: 
The average amount of time that visitors spend on a site can be an overall indicator of quality. Longer visits might suggest that visitors interact more extensively with the website, which may mean they find it a rich source of relevant information and knowledge. It can also mean that they are having trouble finding what they are looking for or are experiencing long page-load times. As with most web analytics indicators, average visit duration is a relative measure. The trends over time and the context of a product or service can help with interpreting the data.
Issues and Challenges: 
When setting your goals for visit duration, consider what most people come to your site to do. Are they reading a single page? Are they searching through a database? Are they taking an online course? How long should it take them to complete that task? If the average visit is much shorter than a task estimate, seek further insight: Why do users leave before completing a task?
Resources: 

For more information about Web analytics, see Appendix 3 on p.83.

Indicator Snapshots: 

From January 01, 2012 to December 31, 2012, the average visit duration on www.popline.org was 2 minutes, 50 seconds. Visitors in Nigeria, however, spent an average of 6 minutes, 11 seconds on the site. The POPLINE-wide pages per visit figure for this time period was 13.68 compared to 23.72 pages per visit for Nigerian users. It may indicate that Nigerian users are engaging more than average POPLINE users or it takes longer to navigate the website due to poor internet connectivity in Nigeria.

From October 01, 2012 to December 31, 2012, the average visit duration on www.k4health.org for visitors from North America was 2 minutes, 49 seconds; from Africa, 4 minutes, 39 seconds; and from Asia, 2 minutes, 16 seconds.

It is true that slower internet connections can affect visit durations. In this example, a lower bounce rate (55% vs. 67%) and higher average pages per visit (2.94 vs. 2.52) for Africa indicate that African users are indeed more engaged than the average K4Health site visitor. Google Analytics also provides a number of site speed indicators, including average page load time. In this example, Asian visitors experienced the slowest average page load times, further supporting the assertion that African users are more highly engaged.

Pages in the Guide: 
49-50
Published Year: 
  • 2013
Last Updated Date: 
Wednesday, September 6, 2017