What Does Website Engagement Mean?

July 13, 2020

By Taryn Hefner

Taryn runs Marketing at Join It and is a lover of all things data! You can frequently find her experimenting in the kitchen, absorbed in a book, or brushing up on her Python coding skills.

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When we talk about membership websites, we want to make sure that every member is using the website to its fullest potential and getting all the benefits of the alumni association, nonprofit group, cycling club, or whatever the group may focus on. So we look at engagement numbers! But what do those numbers actually mean? Regardless of if you’re using stats built into your site like WordPress, or an external reporting service like Google Analytics, there are a lot of things to look at. Let’s dig into it. 

Page Views versus Unique Page Views 

These are both useful metrics for different reasons. Page views, put simply, is the number of times a given page on your website was loaded. Unique page views take out the duplication made by one user reloading a page three times and just counts the first time as the “unique” view. 

Time On Page versus Time On-Site 

One of the most useful metrics to look at, especially for websites that have a lot of reading material, is time on page and time on site. While time on site can be useful for determining the time it takes a user to do a typical action, like renewing their membership or finding even information, content-heavy sites may want to consider looking at time on page specifically. This will help narrow down which pages your users are spending a lot of time reading and which pages are being skipped over. 

Take Join It’s website, for example. Some pages we might expect users to take their time on are our Pricing page where they want to read about options, our Blog posts which take time to read, and our Member Directory where they could look for a specific organization. In these instances, it would make sense to spend anywhere from two to five minutes on a page, even more. 

However, if we saw a payment authorization page with a high time on page number, we might want to investigate that page, because something could be wrong. Usually, users don’t need to spend more than 10 to 20 seconds on a payment authorization page, and anything longer could indicate that the page isn’t loading correctly! 

Context is Key!

As with anything, what are good numbers for Join It’s website might not be the right numbers for your membership website. While benchmark numbers can be useful to get your bearings when it comes to a particular metric, they’re not the be-all-end-all. Look for large changes in your user behavior rather than benchmark numbers.