Is your site engaging its visitors?
One handy metric for measuring visitor engagement is average session duration. It’s a simple metric that tells you how long visitors usually spend visiting your site.
But here’s the issue…
When you see this metric, it’s hard to understand whether or not you’re getting a “good grade.” One of the first questions you’ll have is, “What is a good session duration?”
And that’s why we put together this guide. In this article, you’ll discover:
- Benchmarks for what a good session duration looks like
- How session duration is calculated
- How to increase your session duration
Let’s get started with the benchmarks now.
What is a good average session duration?
According to a survey by Databox of 500 businesses, the average session duration was 1min 17s for B2B companies and 1min 32s for B2C companies.
If your website has a similar or superior average session duration length, then it’s fair to say you’re doing a good job.
After seeing these benchmarks, you might be interested in learning how to increase your site’s session duration. We’ll get to that in a moment, but first, it helps to understand exactly how session duration is calculated.
If you’re not sure if your website qualifies as B2B or B2C, you can simply average the values and use 1min 25s as your benchmark.
How is session duration calculated?
The way session duration is calculated differs by tool, but for most, it’s quite similar.
Imagine a visitor arrives on your site and views the following pages:
- Page 1: 2:00pm
- Page 2: 2:01pm
- Page 3: 2:05pm
Using subtraction, we know that the user spent five minutes viewing the first two pages. However, it’s not clear how long they spent on the third page. Since we don’t know the duration of that final page view, the value is omitted, and the session duration is calculated as five minutes.
While it may seem rather crude, this is how Google Analytics has always calculated session duration, and we use the same method in our analytics WordPress plugin, Independent Analytics.
In practice, the metric is still very useful for understanding engagement, but it is good to know that the true duration of visitor sessions is likely a bit longer than reported due to the final pageview being omitted.
Now let’s talk about how to improve the length of the average session duration on your website.
The average session duration is calculated by adding all the session durations together and dividing by the total number of sessions.
How to increase average session duration
Here are a few ways to analyze and optimize session durations on your site.
Find pages with excellent view durations
The best way to get started is to analyze the average view durations of your pages.
Sort your pages by those with the longest view durations and see what you can learn from them. What do these pages have in common?
You might find that a certain type of article performs best, or pages with embedded videos retain visitors for longer, for instance.
Likewise, reverse-sort your pages to find those with the worst view durations and take notes on what they have in common.
Find referrers with good session durations
The next thing you’ll want to check is the session duration of individual referrers.
Sort your referrers by session duration to find out which ones are driving the highest-quality traffic. Then reverse-sort to find those with the worst engagement.
You might find that a large percentage of your traffic comes from a low-quality source. In this case, you may not need to change anything about your site to improve your average session duration. You should instead focus on diversifying away from that low-quality referrer.
Optimize using your findings
Now that you’ve analyzed your site’s best and worst-performing pages and referrers, here are a few ways you can implement your findings.
- Add sidebar links to your pages with the highest session duration
- Reorder your menu items based on session duration
- Add an exit-intent popup recommending your most engaging page
- Publish more content similar to your highest session duration content
- Create an exit-intent popup specifically for visitors from low-engagement traffic sources
- Invest more in your top-performing traffic sources
Making these changes will take time but should provide a measurable increase to your site’s average session duration.
You can find benchmarks for the pages per session metric next to continue your learning
Get help measuring your metrics
If you’re struggling to analyze your site’s data with your current analytics tool, it might be time for a change.
We developed the Independent Analytics plugin as a simpler alternative to Google Analytics. It doesn’t require any technical expertise to use, and it’s GDPR-friendly and 100% free to use.
If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch with us or leave a comment below.
Thanks for reading this guide describing what a good session duration is, and have a great rest of your week!