Help! Visitors are Spending Less Time on My Web Site
If you use Google Analytics to monitor Web site traffic, you may be pulling your hair out (which is hard for me to do) trying to figure out why the “Time on Site” (TOS) statistic mysteriously dropped and, in some cases, declined drastically.
In the software industry, it’s very common for updates to come out. Typically these new releases are announced in advance to users of the tool, and often are tracked with a version number (for instance: Version X.X). As Google’s stock a few weeks ago continued to climb towards $600 a share, the company apparently didn’t feel a need to alert users of its Analytics program of the following:
Google Analytics has been updated with bug fixes and new feature improvements.
• The Average Time on Site calculation has gone back to its original method of calculation: Total time on site for all visits divided by the total number of visits. Before this reversal, it excluded bounced visits (visits during which only a single page was viewed). This newest calculation change applies to historical as well as current data, so you can safely make comparisons across date ranges.
Luckily, we quickly found the text above on the Google Analytics Suport Section, but how about an e-mail alert or a notice on the Analytics log-in page that this change was forthcoming?
When I attended my first Search Engine Strategies Conference a couple of years back, I was excited to learn that Google developers would be on some conference panels. Obviously, brilliant programmers (Don’t believe me? Check out the somewhat infamous Google Labs Aptitude Test), but Toastmasters (a lot of “Ums” and giggles) and good communicators they’re not.