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Measuring audience engagement

All Squarespace sites come equipped with analytics tools that measure visitor activity. These tools use standard metrics for measuring audience engagement with your site’s content. This guide defines the key metrics available in Site content analytics and demonstrates how you can use them to improve engagement with your content.

Pageviews

Pageviews is a way of defining page popularity. Specifically, it’s the number of times users view a single page in a set time period. Higher pageviews can mean visitors easily found the page, either via search engines, social shares, or featured links on external sites. For password-protected pages, a visitor must enter the password to count as a pageview.

Pageviews can be highly influenced by a page’s location on your site. Landing pages, such as your homepage or the first page in a series or section, often receive the most views, as visitors have to access these pages on their way to other content.

The pageview value for a single page doesn't tell you much about that page until you compare it to other metrics. Always consider how that page’s views compare to those of similar pages or to total pageviews for your entire site. This is especially important if you notice a sudden change in pageviews over time. If a page suddenly sees an increase in pageviews, for example, check pageview values for other pages on your site to confirm if this change corresponds to a site-wide increase in popularity.

It’s important to use pageviews as a starting point for a deeper analysis of audience engagement with your site. After you identify a popular page or set of pages in your site, for example, consider the following:

  • How much time are visitors spending on this popular page?
  • What is the bounce rate and exit rate?
  • Is this a page you’d expect a lot of people to visit?

Average time on page

Average time on page is total time spent on page / (pageviews - exits), or the average amount of time users spend on a single page before navigating to another part of your site. Use this metric to identify pages that hold a site visitor’s attention long enough for them to read your content and engage with your brand. While a longer average time on page typically implies greater audience engagement, this metric requires more consideration.

Average time on page should reflect what you expect users to do on a page. If the page contains important information, you may want site visitors to take their time reading, watching, or otherwise engaging with your content. If the page is a hub that contains multiple links to other areas of your site, a lower average time on page—especially when combined with a low exit rate—can mean that your page design is effective at enticing users to dig deeper into your content.

While average time on page is a useful metric, it doesn’t tell you the exact amount of time visitors spent actively engaged with a given page on your site. To calculate this metric, Squarespace analytics identifies when a user lands on a page and when they land on a subsequent page in your site, and subtracts the timestamps from one another. While it’s tempting to assume visitors spent this entire time exploring your content, it’s also possible they navigated to a page and left the window or tab open while they did something else.

Additionally, average time on page excludes data for users who left your site after viewing the page in question. In other words, when a user exits or bounces from a given page, the amount of time they spent engaging with your content doesn’t contribute to the average time on page metric. Keep this in mind when analysing the Average Time on Page for any page that could be a logical exit point from your site.

Bounce rate

The bounce rate for a page is the percentage of visitors who entered your site on that page, then exited your site from the same page without visiting any other pages on your site. In other words, of all the visits that started on a given page, what percentage were single page visits?

This metric typically shows a page’s ability to draw users deeper into your site. A low bounce rate means most visitors who entered your site from that page engaged with the content enough to take action—such as clicking a link, button, or navigation element—and visit another page. A high bounce rate on a page can mean visitors don’t have sufficient context to proceed, or feel like they ended up in the wrong place.

Much like average time on page, the bounce rate for a page on your site should reflect what you expect visitors to do on that page. If a page is the first in a series of pages on a topic, or contains many links to other pages, a low Bounce Rate suggests that people are clicking along and following the breadcrumbs you left for them.

If that page thoroughly explains a single topic, however, a high bounce rate could mean visitors found exactly what they needed on our site and left. This is especially true if you’ve followed our SEO checklist and optimized your site for search engines; in this case, a high bounce rate may mean visitors found the exact page they needed on your site via a web search and left satisfied.

Exit rate

Exit rate is the percentage of views to a given page that didn’t result in any more pageviews on your site. Use this metric to identify the pages that most often cause visitors to exit out of your site. Exit rate is particularly important if you’re concerned visitors are leaving your site prematurely—because they aren’t viewing all the pages in your site, or they’re stopping in the middle of a purchase flow, for example.

Some pages should have higher exit rates than others. The final page in a series or a confirmation page after a form submission are natural stopping points for a visitor’s session on your site. Similarly, if you’ve added search to your site, pages that visitors found via a successful site search may logically be their last page viewed.

More help

Check out these resources for more information about using Squarespace analytics to measure and improve audience engagement with your content:

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Measuring audience engagement