We’ve all been there – checking out Google Analytics to see how our pages and blog posts are doing when we see the dreaded Time on Page of 00:00:00.
Doesn’t that make you feel great? Someone navigated to your page, obviously hated what he or she saw and then left immediately, right?
Nope. Stop feeling disappointed in your work. We’ve got an explanation for you.
How Google Timestamps Work
Google issues something called timestamps to record when someone lands on a page. When a visitor navigates to another internal page, another timestamp is issued. The measure of time in between is recorded as the time on page. Therefore, if a second page isn’t clicked, the time on page cannot be measured and shows up in Google Analytics as 00:00:00.
For example, Suzy visits our SteadyRain blog post of the day by clicking on a link from one of our tweets, entering our website at 11 a.m. and earning a timestamp of 11:00:00. She reads the post for two and a half minutes and clicked on the link to a previous blog post link at the bottom of the page. Google would then issues another timestamp for 11:02:30. The time on page is the measure of time between the two timestamps of 11:00:00 and 11:02:30, and shows up in Google Analytics as 00:02:30. However, if she had exited the SteadyRain website without clicking on another link, a second timestamp never would’ve been issued and her visit’s time on page would show as 00:00:00.
Reasons to Celebrate
Just because the time on page shows up as 00:00:00 in Google Analytics doesn’t mean your page or blog content wasn’t read. In fact, someone could’ve spent 30 minutes reading, rereading and taking notes on your insightful content, and you would never know it if they exited that page without clicking on another internal link. Obviously the overall goal is to have visitors navigate through your site and learn more about you and what you have to offer them, but don’t be disappointed if you see that 00:00:00. It doesn’t necessarily mean that your content isn’t valuable.
Things to Remember
- All Exit Pages Will Have a Time on Page of 00:00:00 – When a visitor leaves your website, they exit without getting a final timestamp. Therefore, all exit pages won’t reflect how much time the visitor spent reading before he or she decided to leave.
- Exits include Bounces - Bounces occur when someone navigates to your website and views the one page they landed on without going to another page. Bounces are very common for blog posts. If a regular visitor clicks on your latest post from his or her RSS reader and leaves without exploring the rest of your website, it doesn’t make you or your post a failure. It may actually mean that visitor frequents your website so often that he or she doesn’t need to do any poking around to know who you are or what you offer.
- Sometimes Exits Are Good – Not all exits mean that your visitor no longer finds your content entertaining or useful. An example of a positive exit is a click on one of your social media icons. Yes, the visitor is leaving your website, but he or she is leaving to learn more about you and what you have to offer. That’s a successful visit in our book.
We spend a lot of nerd time in Google Analytics to find as much in-depth information as we can for our clients, so we comprehend its metrics and capabilities. We hope we helped you understand timestamps and metrics like Time on Page, but if you have questions, feel free to contact our Online Marketing Specialists or reach out to our team on Google+, Twitter or Facebook.