Page Engagement: A New Measure of Success

One of the biggest questions in web analytics right now is “How do we know users are reading or looking at our content?” In the past, Liferay has used “page views” and “number of clicks” to determine the popularity of our content, but we’re now learning that these methods do not necessarily determine the success of a page. Page views show how users are navigating through your site, but they will not provide the strongest insight about what they are truly interested in.

Instead, what we should focus on is whether people are reading or engaging with that content. Other than watching where someone’s eyes travel on your page, it sounds difficult to actually know if anonymous users are reading your content. However, over the last couple months, I have found measuring engagement time to be a strong metric to help assess the overall success of certain content. On its own, “Time on Page” as a standard metric in Google Analytics will not be the best indicator of page engagement. (This metric is measured as a user jumps from page to page but does not consider if the user is active on the page.) A true engagement time should measure if the user is interacting on the page (i.e., scrolling, highlighting, opening tabs, and clicking).

Through a combination of scroll tracking, page engagement*, and external tools, I have been able to determine some of our most popular web pages. We noticed that a majority of the time, the number of page views was relative to the navigation bar, which is not surprising. When that site navigation was associated with a total engagement time, the ranking changed dramatically. Pages we would have glossed over actually started to show significance. Ranking pages based on total time spent shows a truer reflection of their popularity; this helped tremendously in the restructuring of our website. Although it was only a single piece in the puzzle of web analytics, this fact was rather helpful and insightful.

A Minor Caveat

Just like with anything in web analytics, each metric is only a small spotlight into the bigger picture. One of the limitations to consider in using page engagement is that if it is not paired with other metrics, your results might be skewed. For example, if you have a large body of text that would take longer to read, it might increase the total amount of time spent on that page. But if the piece of content has a low engagement time, then it could possibly indicate that users are not actually reading your content. As a good web analyst knows, just using one metric will not solve all of your problems. Along with engagement time, using bounce rate, page views, number of users, and scroll depth can slowly help paint a picture of our users and their interests.

A Nice Resource

One of the best tools I have found so far to help measure active engagement time is Rob Flaherty’s Riveted. It can easily integrate with Google Analytics and other analytics platform. Also, below, I feature additional resources I have used to learn more about engagement metrics. In my next blog post, I will be detailing how I used Riveted to show the popularity of our various product pages.

Additional Sources:


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