3 website engagement metrics to track for max revenue and growth in 2023
With both consumers and businesses facing economic hardship right now, measuring website user engagement metrics has never mattered more.
But which metrics matter most? And how can digital teams push those metrics to encourage user engagement and drive business growth in 2023?
Our 2023 Digital Experience Benchmark Report has the answers you’re looking for. We’ve analyzed 2,942 websites, 161 billion page views and >35 billion user sessions (across 26 countries and 9 industries) to uncover the latest digital customer experience trends.
And we’ve used these findings to inform a set of killer strategies for building a super engaging digital experience for your business that will drive growth, whatever the economy throws at you.
In this article, we’ll run through three of the key user engagement metric types covered in our report—and we’ll explain why the most engaging digital experiences are built on analytics that go beyond (and behind) metrics.
Metric #1: User activity
Let’s start with the most important website engagement metric to track in 2023 (no lede burying here): Activity.
Activity measures the proportion of time visitors spend on your website physically interacting with the site with clicks, scrolls, swipes and typing.
Here’s three reasons why you should take a very active interest in user activity.
1. Higher user activity levels correlate to higher conversion rates
You clicked a link to read this blog: that’s activity. Then you scrolled down to read this paragraph. That’s activity, too.
And according to our analysis, the more activity we get you to perform as a visitor to our website, the more value there is in it for us.
In fact, the highest activity sites have 19% more conversions than the lowest. High activity also delivers, on average, an extra 1.7 pageviews per user session.
2. Higher activity is also tied to lower bounce rates
2022 was a banner year for bouncing, with bounce rates rising from 47% in 2021 to 49% in 2022. Bounces represent sunk investment—and a myriad of missed opportunities.
To grow your business you need to reduce your bounce rate, and while activity isn’t the sole antidote to bouncing, it is a very potent one.
Here’s how potent: Sites with the highest levels of activity earn 20% fewer bounces than those with the lowest.
3. Activity levels can inform your website design
Finally, activity levels can tell you a lot about your website and how visitors to it use different page types.
Category pages, for example, generate more activity than product pages. And this makes sense. Category pages tend to provide users with more interactive elements while product pages are where customers pause to take in information and make a ‘go or no-go’ decision.
That’s exactly the sort of intel you need to guide your digital investment decisions, now more than ever.
Metric #2: User session consumption
Are you aware that there’s a digital consumption crisis? That we’re seeing a growth in ‘grazing’ behavior, whereby consumers make more frequent, but less deep and profitable, visits to websites?
If not: not to worry! You can read more about it in our recent blog about the consumption crisis and all about it in our benchmark report.
What you need to know is that website engagement metrics measuring page consumption fell in 2022—and so did conversion rates.
That’s no coincidence. Engaging digital experiences encourage visitors to consume content, which in turn, encourages them to venture further down the path you’ve laid out for them to purchase.
Here are three key consumption metrics you should watch like a hawk from here on out.
1. Scroll rate: how far down a given page a visitor scrolls
A page with a low scroll rate isn’t necessarily a bad page. You might have placed the CTA for the page ‘above the fold’—a move you could well be advised to make, given the general decline of scroll rates revealed by our report.
Where scroll rate does come in handy is as a tool for testing how placing and arranging different page elements affects other metrics such as click through rate.
2. Session depth: how many pages a visitor views per session
While monitoring scroll rate will help you optimize the flow of individual pages, session depth will help you understand how effectively your overall journeys engage visitors.
Every journey is different, but as a general rule, the more pages visitors view per session, the more engaged they are—and the more likely they are to convert.
And we’ve got a stat to prove it: Converting journeys see 5x more page views than typical sessions.
3. Session duration: time spent (per session/page) by visitors
Again: A low session duration isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It could be evidence that you’re efficiently speeding visitors towards your checkout— and engaging them all the way. But it could also demonstrate that you’re failing to engage visitors.
Context is everything. However, the general reduction in session duration we’ve documented in our report (with year-on-year declines appearing across 7 of 9 industries) surely tells us something more generally applicable about user engagement. Namely: You’d better do it fast.
How fast? Read our report to see the average session duration (and scroll rate) for your industry, on desktop and mobile, and to learn more about the consumption metrics that should consume a hefty wedge of your digital team’s attention 2023.
Metric #3: Page load time (and other friction metrics)
Some of the most important website engagement metrics are website disengagement metrics. These metrics track how often things are going wrong—and, in doing so, robbing you of opportunities to make them go right.
And—despite digital teams making great continuous strides forward in providing slick, seamless CX—plenty of things are still going wrong. According to our analysis, 36% of visits are affected by friction.
Friction is where activity stalls; unsurprisingly, it has the opposite effect of whatever stimulates activity. Friction kills sessions off, nipping your chance of converting visitors in the bud.
Take the most common and damaging of frustration factors: slow page loads. Our data shows that whenever businesses force customers to wait for pages that take more than two seconds to load, nearly 50% of them bounce.
Think about that. Two seconds to prove your digital customer experience is (before it’s anything else) fast. Fail, and half of your potential customers will leave your site to Google up some alternatives.
In our Benchmark Report, we dig deeper into the potentially devastating impact of slow page loads on your digital experience and provide an at-a-glance guide to the average load times across nine industries (broken down by device).
Plus, we round up the four other top causes of user frustration—five conversion killers that deserve a spot on your digital team’s ‘Most Wanted’ (or should that be ‘Least Wanted’?) list.
Upgrade your understanding of user engagement with digital experience analytics
The website engagement metrics we just listed are all individually powerful tools for monitoring and building user engagement.
But when it comes to creating an engaging end-to-end experience guaranteed to drive conversions and growth, it’s all about a much bigger picture.
This bigger picture is about breadth. That means tracking metrics that measure every stage of the digital customer experience, so you can see how they all fit together and impact each other.
But it’s also about depth, going behind surface-level metrics so you can see not only how your users respond to your experience, but also why they’re reacting as they are.
If you want that bigger picture (and trust us: it’s worth it), you can’t rely on traditional, superficial analytics tools. You’re going to need the depth that only comes from applying digital analytics experience (DXA).
See what DXA can do for your website engagement right now by watching a video demo of Contentsquare’s DXA platform.