What numbers are you looking at when it comes to marketing and website analytics? Traffic? Sure, that one’s important. Email open & click rates? Yep, those matter too. Social media engagement? I could argue about the importance of those numbers, but I won’t for this blog post.
What about Average Session Duration and Bounce Rate?
Now we’re getting somewhere.
Defining both terms
Average Session Duration (ASD) is simple. It’s basically just the average of how long users spend on your website.
Bounce Rate is the percentage of website visitors who only visit one page and then either close out or hit the back button to go back to the search engine results. As Datapine puts it, “Bounce Rate refers to customers following the motto, ‘I came, I puked, I left.'”
The importance of Average Session Duration
Average Session Duration matters. Generally, the longer people spend on your page, the better. If your ASD is only 10 seconds, that could mean that the content on your website isn’t particularly good.
Here’s some bad news, though. ASD, as a whole, isn’t that useful because it’s too general. It’s better to break this number down by the source.
Look at the Average Session Duration from Facebook users versus the other social media platforms. Is one significantly higher or lower than the others? Find out why. For example, if your Facebook visitors spend 2 minutes and 34 seconds on your website, but people who come from Instagram only spend 23 seconds on your website, there could be a disconnect between your branding on Instagram and your website.
If you’re a B2B company, like Carney, you might notice that LinkedIn’s ASD is higher than Facebook. This could mean that users who come to your website from LinkedIn are more interested in what you sell.
Maybe it’s time to consider putting more effort into LinkedIn.
You’ll also want to break this number down by mobile vs. desktop. Mobile will almost always be lower, but if it’s significantly lower, there could be issues with your website’s mobile browsing experience that is causing users to leave too quickly.
Why does Bounce Rate matter?
The importance of this one is much more simple. If people are getting to your website, and clicking the back button or closing out without doing anything, that’s clearly a problem.
The whole point of your website is likely to get people to make a conversion in one way or another. If users are only visiting one page, it’s pretty unlikely that they’re converting on that page. Therefore, a high Bounce Rate means that users don’t like your website for one reason or another.
[pull_quote]I came, I puked, I left.[/pull_quote]
Why the two matter for SEO
Like most things I write about, this ties back to SEO. Google uses both of these stats to increase or decrease your overall search engine rankings.
Think about it. If you click through to a page from Google, only spend a few seconds on that page, and click the back button, Google is going to assume that this page doesn’t have the answer that you need.
In Google’s quest to serve up the most relevant content, it will remember that you didn’t find what you were looking for on that website and left quickly. If this happens for a number of users, Google will start to place that result lower in the rankings.
So how do you improve these metrics? It’s simple, but not easy.
You need to create better content with a better user experience. If a user gets to your website and your content is engaging, they’ll likely stay and click around your site after they’re done reading/watching/consuming whatever content was on their entry page. That’s what you want. People viewing more pages for a longer time.
Average Session Duration and Bounce Rate are two website analytics that you have to be tracking to really get an idea of how users are interacting with your website. If these numbers are higher than your competitors, Google will start to rank you higher than them.
That’s the goal, isn’t it?