Tag Archives: Analytics

Why does GA show 0 seconds Visit duration?

Symbol for 0 sec GA postThis situation is annoying to many of us. We are supposed to use analytics to make decisions.

But sometimes when you dig and try to eek out an extra bit of value from each page, impression and visitor when you get confusing answers it can tie you up in a knot.

If you see 0:00 average visit duration with a bounce rate of 100 % it can be very disheartening.

If I explain how GA code actually works this should make sense to you. It took me a while to figure this out, and now it is said, I think it is quite obvious!

Scenario 1 – a regular situation

  • Someone visits your site and lands on page X at 09:00 hours. Google will save this time stamp of 09:00 hours.
  • That visitor then clicks on a link and goes to page Y at 09:01 hours. Google will save the second time stamp when it loads page B. And let us assume that visitor then leaves your website after viewing page Y. Now duration of visit = 09:01 minus 09:01 = 1 minute.

Scenario 2 – a 0 second ‘false’ report

  • So, if someone stays and reads, scrolls, opens a different tab etc, around on page X for any amount of time, 1 sec to a full hour, but does not click on any link and leaves your page from page X, which will then also shows a 100% bounce rate quite rightly.
    • N.b If the user has come on in, got the right answer, and had a good experience a 100% bounce isn’t strictly a bad thing !
  • In this case, GA has no information about when the user left your website and instead of showing N/A it shows average visit duration 0:00. Which is not helpful. It would be clearer if they had – “we don’t know”

So, 0 seconds is just a “don’t know” as they came in and exited from this single page with no second time reference.



Changes coming the Google referring string – part 2

adrianland-graphic-statsFollowing up from the post yesterday >>

There was a follow up post on Blogstorm.  This post actually looked at the detail at the new URL structure and summarised that we (the SEO fraternity) might get some brand new data our PPC colleagues are all too used to.

Patrik Altoft suggests that

Perhaps the cd=7 (click detail = 7th?) is the ranking and ct=res (click through = results?) is indicating that the click came from organic search rather than a universal search (news or video) result.

Matt Cutts chimes in later on in a comment to this post.

I think if you do experiments, you’ll be able to confirm your speculation, Patrick and Brent Nau. As Jamie mentions, I think this is awesome for webmasters–even more information than you could glean from the previous referrer string.

So, watch this space !

Changes coming the Google referring string

On the official Google analytics blog they have pre-warned us all that they are making some changes to the referring string from Google natural search. You are OK, if you use Google Analytics, you will just need to do a software update.

Other wise depending on your particular set up you may need to make some changes. You can see their article here.

This will gradually roll this out. And the main difference they explain is the change from the part that starts “/search?” to “/url?”.

What does this mean? Well if you use this ‘search’ to determine that the visit is from natural search you need to make a change. Otherwise you will get confused between your paid and natural search results.

Now see part two >>