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Why are some of my clicks recorded as zero time on site in Google Analytics?

Google Employee
# 1
Google Employee

This is a question that comes up quite often for our support teams. El, one of our Analytics experts, is here to provide some insight into this report. 

3 Expert replyverified_user
Marked as Best Answer.
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Accepted by topic author Hannah
September 2015

Re: Why are some of my clicks recorded as zero time on site in Google

[ Edited ]
Follower ✭ ✭ ✭
# 2
Follower ✭ ✭ ✭

Hi Community,

 

We have had a few questions recently about what it means when a visitor's duration is 0:00.

 

How Time is Calculated

 

On the surface, it looks like this could be someone who instantly hit the back button, or perhaps a "bot" or a program, and not a true visit. In actual fact this is very rarely the case, and this is more to do with how Analytics tracks time.

 

When a visitor comes to your site, Google Analytics records the time and remembers it (time X). When this person navigates to another page of your site, Analytics is able to record the time again (time Y). By knowing the two different timestamps, it does Y minus X to calculate how long the visitor spent on the first page.

 

What this also means is that if the visitor does not navigate to any further pages, then Analytics does not know their time on your site, and concludes with 0:00 time on site. In the case of your ad's landing page, where you are taking the visitor straight to the relevant product page, it's possible visitors are spending several minutes reading the content, and leave your site before visiting other pages. If they do not visit other pages, they are recorded by Analytics as 0:00 time of site, and we also say they have "bounced".

 

Solution

 

So what should we do to solve this issue? Well, firstly it is good to keep in mind that sometimes we don't want to make the visitor navigate more - we want them to pick up the phone and call your business! But if we do want to increase the chances that the visitor will navigate and engage with the site, we could try a couple of things.

 

- Have a gallery of photos for your product

- Have a prominent Contact Us button high on the product page

- If you have the assistance of a web developer, you can build elements of your page with Event Tracking, which will send hits to Analytics and allow us to better track users’ time on a specific page.

 

Let us know if you have any questions about this.

 

El 

Re: Why are some of my clicks recorded as zero time on site in Google

Top Contributor
# 3
Top Contributor
Perhaps just as an addition to this.... Google cannot get a time from the LAST page a visitor is on before they leave the site... because, again they are missing the next timestamp. The implication of this is that let's suppose you have a landing page which invites the visitor to go to, say, a product description page. The visitor could spend 20 minutes reading all about your product, but if they leave your site after reading this page, then these 20 minutes are also lost and your visitor will show as having looked at 2 pages in a very short visit. In many cases as El suggests, the last page will also be the first page - this is a true bounce, but other data can easily be affected by the same quirk.

It is important to consider the make up of your site before you panic about time spent on the site and your bounce rate - if your site doesn't encourage much internal navigation then these numbers become less worrisome. After all, there is an argument to suggest that if a visitor has to move around various pages on your site, they simply aren't finding what they were looking for and that could be even worse!

Re: Why are some of my clicks recorded as zero time on site in Google

Google Employee
# 4
Google Employee
This is a really great additional point. Thanks Steve.

Re: Why are some of my clicks recorded as zero time on site in Google

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 5
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
Why is this the case, or is it not still the case? Google Analytics requires you to implement a Javascript variable into your page, so wouldn't that be enough information to tell Analytics when you leave? I am sure it is beyond obvious to gather that I have no idea what I am talking about, just trying to understand.

Re: Why are some of my clicks recorded as zero time on site in Google Analytics?

Community Manager
# 6
Community Manager
This 2014 thread has been closed to new replies. 
 
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