Are Visitors Really Spending 00:00:00 on Your Website?

Filed under category: Misc

zero time on website

A common question which always arises when looking Google analytics is when your report is showing that you had a visitor who spent 00:00:00 time on your website. Now while it is possible to click on a link and close the window in less than 1 second, it is highly unlikely that this will ever occur. So why does google analytics show some visitors with 00:00:00 time spent on your website?

Here is the truth about those visitors that are supposedly spending zero seconds on your website.

Google analytics is only able to record a time stamp when a visitor goes to another page on your website. The time will be recorded after the second pageview has been recorded. Google analytics will then report the amount of time spent on the first page to the second page.

Consider Example 1:

A website user lands on the homepage of your website via a search engine and browses the homepage for 20 seconds. The user decides this is not what they are looking for and closes the window to browse another website. The user did not click on any other links or browse any other pages on the website. The average time on the site will show 00:00:00 even though the user spent 20 seconds on the page. Google analytics does not record the time between 2 page views because there was only 1 page view.

Consider example 2:

A website user lands on the homepage of your website via a search engine and browses the homepage for 35 seconds. The user then clicks on another link. The user then decides to leave the second page and browse another website. The average time on the site should show 00:00:35 because it took 35 seconds for the user to move from one page to the next.

Why is this important to know?

Because this will be another metric to help evaluate your SEO and pay per click campaigns. It will let you know how many bounces you are receiving on your website. It will also eliminate the headache of wondering whether or not somebody is opening and closing your website in less than a second.

Why does Google Analytics track user traffic like this? We don't know for sure. Perhaps they feel that if a user only browses one page on a website, then chances are that user is not very relevant traffic to begin with.

Is this frustrating and annoying? Absolutely. But at the same time, if a user browses only 1 page on your website, regardless of the amount of time spent, the chances of that user converting to a lead or sale are slim to none.