Join 3,558 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


stay awhile
September 7, 2009 7:04 PM   Subscribe

My website's stats app says that visitors stay for an average of five minutes and ten seconds. I know that this is pretty decent ... but does it put us in the 70% percentile? The 90% percentile? Is there anywhere you know of where I can go to find lots of comparative statistics for duration of visits to sites?
posted by dacoit to Technology (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
I THINK that those statistics are meaningless, because they cannot collect meaningful stats on when people leave your site most of the time. That's because--again, I think--when a user simply closes the window or tab with your site in it, there is no way for the data collection program to know this has happened.
posted by zachawry at 7:14 PM on September 7, 2009


Is that average? I think median might be more accurate. There could be some people who leave a tab open for hours (I know I've done that with some sites).
posted by kylej at 7:31 PM on September 7, 2009


hours? I regularly leave tabs open for weeks.
posted by rhizome at 7:40 PM on September 7, 2009


I would suspect these statistics are meaningless without a vast pool of direct comparisons*, and I agree that tabbed browsing means your numbers would absolutely be skewed by browsers like me who wait for recognized holidays to close up their tabs.

*Consider: I will spend very different amounts of time on different sites, based not on the quality of the site or its content but how much information I need and how long it will take me to absorb it/reference it/copypasta it. It could be argued that I will be much more likely to return to your site if I can quickly find what I want and leave, rather than getting stuck perusing an unresponsive or obtusely-laid-out site.
posted by Phyltre at 8:02 PM on September 7, 2009


Zach is right - such programs can only count the time between clicks that happen on your own site. So if a user clicks over to your main page, then clicks on some random URL in their bookmarks, that visit will get recorded as zero seconds long, because your server can't and won't know anything about when that user followed that second link.

It is why, for instance, the "average visit length" at Daily Kos appears to be one second long. Obviously that's not the actual visit length. Rather, most people typically read the main page without clicking any other links on the site, then move on to some other site, driving the average way, way down.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 8:10 PM on September 7, 2009


If you have google analytics, they have a feature called "benchmarking" where they compare your stats to other sites "of similar size." Average time for "sites of my size" (which is a blog that pulls in 100 visitors a day on average), was 2 minutes 09 seconds per visit. I'd say your time is probably excellent.

(Also, the vast amount of search engine traffic funneled visitors who stop by for 0-10 seconds more than even out the people who tab and stay but don't really. Those people are actually few and far between, based on the stats.)
posted by visual mechanic at 8:32 PM on September 7, 2009


If it's real, five minutes is very long. But as many above point out, it's probably not real.
posted by rokusan at 8:47 PM on September 7, 2009


That's because--again, I think--when a user simply closes the window or tab with your site in it, there is no way for the data collection program to know this has happened.

I heard that idea before (and from people more knowledgeable me), but shouldn't the onUnload event take care of this?
posted by niles at 9:58 PM on September 7, 2009


I heard that idea before (and from people more knowledgeable me), but shouldn't the onUnload event take care of this?

If you're running javascript-based analytics tracking in your pages, this is possible -- but if you're doing it, you're probably paying for the privilege (Omniture et al.)
posted by davejay at 2:06 AM on September 8, 2009


Google Analytics will show the average stats for sites similar to yours in category, if you allow it to share yours with other people the same way.
posted by cmiller at 4:40 AM on September 8, 2009


« Older I am a 40 year old man that di...   |  What are the legalities of men... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.