[WEB METRICS] Why a high pages-per-visit number does not necessarily signal high engagement 

Estimated read time: 3 minutes

Some marketers are still using the number of pages people visit on one website visit as a measure of success. 

The theory goes that the more pages people click to, the more engaged they are. 

Certainly, I want people to click all around my site and read more of my stuff. But maybe, a low page-per-visit number isn’t bad at all. It depends.
Let’s say a visitor comes to my site, finds what they came there for and leaves. The pages-per visit count certainly will be low and the bounce rate might be pretty high as well. Oh no, people are only viewing one page! But they were happy with their visit. 

Certainly, these metrics – among others – are something to keep in mind and review. Interestingly, I just realized that I couldn’t even tell you what my average pages-per-visit number and bounce rate was on my blog. But I can certainly tell you – without looking it up – how many monthly visitors I see here and how many people have hired me to speak or for other digital marketing things and have come through the website. 

Recommended for you:

All decisions should benefit the end-user

How to measure the impact of storytelling and content marketing

It’s not always about the latest content on the blog

Those goals matter to me because I know that the bigger my relevant audience (aka community) gets the more likely it is for me to make an impact for them and me. 
But pages visited and bounce rate don’t matter that much and here are some  reasons why!

1. Goal completed 

People come to sites for a specific reason, satisfy that need and leave. For example, when somebody comes to my speaking page to decide if they want to hire me for a keynote, I don’t necessarily want them to keep reading other posts. I want them to hire me to speak or decide it’s not a match if it’s not. 

2. Social traffic to blog posts 

Social traffic to blogs comes there for a specific reason – which is to read that one article they saw shared on social media. It’s nice if they read more but they also completed their goal. (Consider a retargeting campaign on social media to get them coming back again – and maybe even get them to sign up for your newsletter.

3. Clicking around may signal issues

Lets say somebody comes to your site and visits a lot of pages. Maybe they simply can’t find what they are looking for but haven’t given up yet. Pages visited will be up but satisfaction not so much. 

4. Maybe they were just bored

Sometimes I just aimlessly click around the web – usually on social networks – when I’m bored. That’s not a sign of engagement either. It’s a sign of boredom.

Goals are great and our hopes for engagement are good to have too. But let’s be careful what we measure and why. Some alleged engagement metrics don’t actually show engagement at all. Action isn’t always engagement. 

Recommended for you: 

Some content marketing goals are not that helpful

What actually is lean content marketing? 

What’s retargeting?