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My question revolves around average time on page and how Google Analytics calculates this metric.

I will provide an example to illustrate my question. I viewed 3 pages then exited.

  • page one view time = 10 sec
  • page two view time = 10 sec
  • page three view time = 5 sec, then exit

Questions:

  1. Is my total time on page 20 sec or 25 sec?
  2. would my page views be 3 or 2?
  3. Is my average time on page 10 sec or 8.33sec.

I ask because I pull time on page metric as part of my data pull and then I calculate Avg Time on Page in an Excel pivot.

I am wondering if my calculation for Average time on page should be:

AvgTimeOnPage = total time on page/total page views

or

AvgTimeOnPage = total time on page/(total page views-total exits)
1

The time spent viewing the last page is (by default) not included in the time on page calculation by Google analytics. This is because they can only measure the data that they are sent. Here are is the data they get:

  • page one loaded at 10:03:00
  • page two loaded at 10:03:10
  • page three loaded at 10:03:20

So the stats would be:

  • Visit duration: 20s
  • visit page views: 3
  • Page one: views 1, time on page: 10s
  • page two: views 1, time on page: 10s
  • page three: views 1, time on page 0s

So for a more meaningful average time on page use your second formula: AvgTimeOnPage = total time on page/(total page views-total exits)


There is a way to make Google Analytics better measuring time on page for the last page: Implement Google Analytics events tracking.

You can send "events" to Google analytics when the user interacts with the page such as "clicks in form", or "scrolls past certain point". When you start tracking these events, Google Analytics is able to count time on page much better for the last page in the session because it will get sent data while the user is still on the page.

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