Average session duration is one of the most commonly referred to metrics in Google Analytics and appears front and center on your dashboard. Average session duration is calculated by dividing the total duration of all sessions (in seconds) by the number of sessions.
Before we dive into what average session duration tells us, first we’ll cover where to find the data.
Where to access average session duration data
To access your data, log in to your Google Analytics account. Immediately after login, average session duration will be on your main dashboard. This is the overall site average session duration.
You can analyze patterns based on nearly any dimension available within Google Analytics. For the sake of this blog, we’ll focus on Content and Channels.
Locating average session duration for your content
Navigate to Behavior > Site Content > All Pages. Here, you’ll see an overview of your pages and each of their average session durations. Again, a good overview and starting place.
To access more specific information (aka the good stuff), navigate to Content Drilldown. With an efficient sitemap, you’ll see a breakdown of your website and be able to dive deep into how long people are spending on each area.
For Bonfire’s Content Drilldown, you’ll see that our blog is the most viewed area of the website with an average time on page of 2:24. From here, you can click the blog folder and see information for each individual blog.
This data will help you see trends and patterns in what content performs best and what your audience is most interested in.
Locating average session duration based on channels
Navigate to Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels. Here you’ll be able to see each of your traffic channels and their data.
What does average session duration tell us?
So, the important question: What does average session duration tell us? Basically, on average, how much time people are spending on your website. It’s helpful for analyzing patterns and trends in your data.
For your content, you can see what blogs people are spending the most time on, what case studies people find most interesting, and what job openings are getting the most views. This information can help shape your content strategy moving forward.
For your channels, you can see where engaged users are coming from. A channel analysis helps you identify opportunities and potential issues. If you were investing heavily in social advertising but seeing a low average session duration, it could indicate issues with targeting or personas.
Remember, there are limitations to this metric and it only tells you part of the story. When deciding where to invest budget and what content strategy to push forward, you must combine this data with a complete analysis of your other KPIs.