Interpreting User Interactions

Metric

Definition

Example(s)

Pageviews

Total number of pageviews (includes duplicates)

Veteran A visits page A 3 times during their visit and page B 2 times during their visit.

  • Page A = 3 pageviews

  • Page B = 2 pageviews

Unique Pageviews

The number of sessions where the specific page was viewed at least once (excludes duplicates)

Veteran A visits page A 3 times during their visit and page B 2 times during their visit.

  • Page A = 1 unique pageview

  • Page B = 1 unique pageviews

Sessions

Total number of visits. Sessions records each time someone has started/ended a visit to the site.


30 minutes of inactivity will also cause a session to record

A veteran visits the site, looks at a few pages, closes the site. The veteran takes a lunch break and returns to the site again after their lunch break.

Sessions = 2


A veteran visits the site, has been inactive for 30 minutes while keeping the site open, comes back at minute

Sessions = 2

New Sessions

Number of sessions started for users who have never been to the site

Veteran A starts a session with VA.gov and has not been to the site prior. Veteran B starts a session with VA.gov and has been to the site prior

New Sessions = 1

Users

The total number of users for the requested time period.

Veteran A who has been to the site before from the same browser visits the site. Veteran B visits who has never been to the site.

Users = 2

New Users

The number of sessions marked as a user's first-time visit (or hasn't been to the site in the last 2 yers).

Veteran A who has been to the site before from the same browser visits the site. Veteran B visits who has never been to the site.

New Users = 1

Returning Users

The number of sessions marked where the user has been to the site before within the last 2 years

Veteran A visited the site a week prior

Returning Users = 1

Total Events

Total number of times the interaction was done (includes duplicates, ignores user)

Veteran A clicks on track claims button, goes to the claims page, circles back and clicks track claims again

Total Events = 2

Unique Events

Number of sessions where the event occurred (excludes duplicates)

Veteran A clicks on track claims button, goes to the claims page, circles back and clicks track claims again.

Unique Events = 1

Engagement & Timing

Dimension / Metric

Definition

Example(s)

Bounce Rate

The percentage of times where a visitor does not engage (most commonly clicks) with the page (or site) before departing

Veteran A clicks on a Facebook post that lands him on Page Z of the site. Veteran A does not do anything while on Page Z before closing his browser. Veteran B clicks on a Facebook post that lands him on Page Z and he clicks on a call-to-action


Page Z Bounce Rate = 50% (Veteran A bounce + Veteran B non-bounce)

Exit %

The percentage of time where a visitor exited VA.gov from a specific page.

Veteran A visits /coronavirus-frequently-asked-questions and exits on this page. Veteran B visits /coronavirus-frequently-asked-questions but exits the site on the homepage.


Exit % for /coronavirus-frequently-asked-questions = 50%

Average Time on Page

The average amount of time users spend on a given page. This metric calculates the simple start/stop average for all users. This metric does NOT reflect time the user actually spent engaging with the page. Google Analytics will continue incrementing this metric even if the user has the tab hidden or is not actively engaging.

Veteran A visits the homepage of VA.gov and stays on for 30 seconds before going to another page of the site. Veteran B visits the homepage of VA.gov and opens a new tab and goes to a different website while keeping the homepage open -- this lasts for 2 minutes.

Average Time on Page = 00:01:15

Average Session Duration

The average amount of time users spend on a session. This metric is similar to average time on page in that it calculates the simple start/stop for all users. This metric does NOT reflect time the user actually spent engaging with pages. Google Analytics will continue incrementing this metric even if the user has the tab hidden or is not actively engaging.

Veteran A spends 5 minutes on VA.gov before exiting. Veteran B spends 10 minutes on VA.gov before exiting. Veteran C spends a total of an hour on VA.gov but much of that time is in a hidden tab and not actively engaging.

Average Session Duration = 00:00:25

Pages / Session

The average amount of pages a user visits per session.

Veteran A visits VA.gov and visits 12 pages during his session.

Veteran B visits VA.gov and visits 6 pages.

Pages / Sessions = 9

Traffic Source Dimensions / Metrics

Dimension

Definition

Example(s)

Source

Where the traffic has come from coming from. Commonly grouped with medium, source is designed to be slightly more specific than medium.

Veteran A clicks on a link within a newsletter that takes him to a specific page of VA.gov. The URL Vet A clicked on in the newsletter is utm_source=Newsletter:

Source = Newsletter


Veteran A types VA.gov directly into their browser URL bar and lands on the site.

Source = Direct

Medium

How the traffic got there

Commonly interpreted as the "more general" category of source.

Veteran A clicks on a VEText that takes them directly to a page on VA.gov. The URL of the VEText is utm_medium=referral:

Medium = referral


Veteran A types VA.gov directly into their browser URL bar and lands on the site.

Medium = (none)


Veteran A clicks on a link within an emailed newsletter that lands them on VA.gov with utm_medium=Email in the URL

Medium = Email

Campaign

The marketing campaign being executed to drive users to the site.

Veteran A clicks on a newsletter link that sends him to a site on VA.gov with utm_campaign=may-covid19.

Campaign = may-covid19

Landing Page

Page where the user began their session, where they entered the site.

Veteran A clicks on a newsletter link that lands them on the COVID 19 FAQ page.

Landing Page = /coronavirus-frequently-asked-questions

Entrances

Number of times the specific page was the first viewed in the session

Veteran A, B + C click on a VEText that lands them directly on a Page Z.

Page Z Entrances = 3

Scroll Depth

  • The Analytics and Insights team currently does not track scroll depth of every page of VA.gov.

  • Our team incrementally adds new pages to those capturing scroll tracking via analytics request

  • The reason we are not tracking every page to-date is to help manage the hit volume of Google Analytics for these events where scroll tracking may be insignificant

  • When looking at scroll depth, its extremely important to make sure the page is identified where you want to see scroll depth - otherwise the metrics will be aggregates of everywhere we are doing scroll tracking

  • For pages we do have tracked we hope this helps with interpretation of this interaction. Please feel free to add this custom report to the correct production view.

When interpreting this data:

  • You should see the "Event Label" populate with each percentage (25% - 100%).

  • "Total Events" will tell you how many total times a user scrolled to that percentage - including those times where they scrolled up-and-down multiple times to reach those percentages.

  • "Unique Events" will tell you how many total times a user scrolled to that percentage - excluding those times where they scrolled up-and-down multiple times to reach those percentages.

When these two numbers (total and unique events) are close to one another, that's a positive inference that users are not needing to excessively scroll to find what theyre looking for...When these numbers are not close to one another, that's a concern users are needing to excessively scroll.