Help me analyze how much time you spend looking at my stuff!
September 4, 2008 2:26 PM   Subscribe

Help me become a master of Google Analytics - especially as it pertains to time spent in sections of a site, etc...

I'm a little confused with Google Analytics, and I'd love some insight. Googling around hasn't really answered my question...

What I really want is to be able to track the average time spent within a section of a site, not just a page.

So, let's say I've got 10 pages within a subdirectory of a site. We'll call them /content/1.html through /content/10.html, I can click on "Content" in google analytics, and narrow the results to these pages by searching for the string "/content" .. awesome!

Here's where I get a little confused: I see the average time spent on each page, and that makes sense. But I also see an average time spent up top, where it's summing up the number of visits. Is this just an average of the averages listed below, or is it really an average time spent on that whole section? So if someone viewed 1.html, 3.html, 8.html for 1 minute each - does google call that 3 minutes spent in /content? or can google not even do that?

In reality, I'm doing this with flash applications, so I can make up any hierarchy of paths I want, and there don't really have to be files there -- I'm just looking for an accurate way of tracking how much time a user is spending doing something that may involve several hits to google analytics "in the meantime"...

Any help would be greatly appreciated!
posted by twiggy to Computers & Internet (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It's the average time spent on the whole section where section is defined as all the pages listed below.

If you click on the ? button next to that box, you'll see Google Analytics defines it as "The average amount of time visitors spent viewing this set of pages or page."
posted by junesix at 10:33 AM on September 5, 2008

Quick tip: If you need to view this data for /content/ subdirectory pages often, click the "Add to Dashboard" button at the top to save it to your dashboard. It will give you a snapshot and a direct link to the results.
posted by junesix at 10:35 AM on September 5, 2008

Response by poster: junesix: Thanks for the response... so it really is "all inclusive" then -- and an average of time spent viewing "any pages within the /content section"...

And not "the average of averages for each page in the /content section"?

Wow, that's confusing to even try to explain. Am I posing my question correctly?

If 5 people viewed 1.html through 10.html for 1 minute each, on average, I don't want the obvious "1 minute" answer.. I want to know how much time was spent viewing anything underneath /content ... so that'd be 10 minutes, in this example... is that what that'll give me?
posted by twiggy at 12:42 PM on September 5, 2008

Response by poster: Upon further review, now that I have more data coming in - I think it's not at all what I want.

In my example, I have:

Time on Page









But my sum / average for that "set of pages" is only 00:01:26 -- that must just be the average of averages, which is unfortunately not helpful to me. I'm looking for how much time, on average, people spend in that section... is there not a way to do that using Google Analytics?
posted by twiggy at 12:52 PM on September 5, 2008

« Older One definition for news   |   Let's do lunch... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.