Knowledge Base

TIME ON PAGE: Google Analytics Tracking

The page view time, or time on page, is related to session time tracking. Both of which have a few misconceptions. Time on page is a valid measurement but it is not 100% indicative of the time a user actually spent visiting your page. The most generic Google Analytics tracking code will track page time by referencing the time between when two pages were opened.

We can look at this as:

equation

with x being the current page.

Where the page time is the time you load the next page subtracted from the time you loaded the current page. Say you load the current page at 11:00 AM and you browse for 2 minutes and load the next page at 11:02 AM. The time spent on the current page will be 11:02 – 11:00 and therefore 2 minutes being the time on page for the current page.  This is an accurate measure of how long you had the page open. That is until you reach the last page you visit. Since the time on page tracking formula relies on the time you open the next page, it simply drops the time on page for the last page. Even if it was the most relevant page and the one you spent the most time on. It is also important to note that time on page does not account for inactivity. If you go to a web page and then leave for 25 minutes before you resume browsing, then the time on page is 25 minutes.

Alternative Time on Page Tracking

Alternatively, with some additional work from your web developers you can track time on page as the time between the time the page was loaded, to the time at which the last user interaction was on your site.

Making the new formula something like  this:

equation

with x being the current page.

In order to accomplish this, you must implement in your Google Analytics code a way to send back time when an element of your page was interacted with. This will in turn effect your session time tracking in a positive manner. You can read our article on session time tracking for more information.

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