December 3, 2016

Key Google Analytics Metrics to Track User Engagement

Checking ‘user engagement’ is one of the most important things a site owner should do almost on a daily basis. Google Analytics (GA) is one of the best tools available to do this, but do you know how to use GA to track user engagement?


Best GA metrics to track user engagement:

  • Number of Returning Visitors
  • Bounce Rate
  • Average Pages Per Visit
  • Frequency of Visits
  • Time on Site
  • Audience Engagement Rate


Some visitors may just like your content while some visitors may find your content awesome. Here, Google Analytics tells you the number of people who find your content awesome and keep returning. Visitors that keep returning to your website are the most important ones you have; they are the ones who will spread the word about your brand and develop a community if that is what you want/need.

Google Analytics Showing New vs. Returning Users

To take a demonstration of this feature, go to Audience > Behavior > New vs. Returning. You can also compare the percentage of new sessions, bounce rate, page/session, and average session duration between new and  returning users on that table.


Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors to a particular page who navigate away from the site without any further action.We have a nice in-depth post about what bounce rate is and how it is tracked and another one with tips on how to reduce bounce rate. This is another key metric, since it measures the instant reaction of visitors to your content. Kissmetrics has a great infographic showing the average bounce rate per industry.

Bounce Rate on Google Analytics Audience Overview

Go to Audience > Overview to see the average bounce rate for your website. You can also go to Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels for a more detailed view.

If your numbers are below  average, you know there is work to be done.


This is a critical metric for media, news websites, and blogs. More pages per visit means your website has more ad impressions and more revenue. It is simple to check. 

Average Pages per Session on Google Analytics

Go to Audience > Overview. In the Dashboard, you will see pages/session. You can also check the number broken down by channel. Just go to Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels. You can check even more details on Acquisition > All Traffic > Source/Medium.


This is similar to the new vs. returning report but with much more detail. Here, we can see how many sessions were generated based on the number of times that visitor returned to your website.

Frequency vs. Recency on Google Analytics

To check this, just go to Audience > Behavior > Frequency & Recency.  the first column is the number of sessions a single user had, and  the second column is the overall number  of sessions that segment of users generated.


It’s crucial to track, with Google Analytics,the amount of time users spend on your website.. The more time users spend on your website, the more ads they will see, the more goods they will buy, and the more engaged with your content they will be.

Hubspot’s research found that 55% of visitors spend 15 seconds or less on websites. However, there are strategies to increase the time spent.

Session Duration Average on Google Analytics

Simply go to Audience > Overview to see the average session duration for a particular website. Again, if you need specific numbers, like the average session duration for PPC traffic, you can go to Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels and/or Source/Medium.


This is the complex version of visitors’ time on the site. Here, you can see the number of sessions broken down by duration. The Audience Engagement Rate gives you a better idea of how long users are staying on your site.

Google Analytics Audience Engagement

Check audience engagement going to Audience > Behavior > Engagement.


It is always important to compare your website results with the average numbers in your sector, so examine how your niche visitors engage with other websites, and compare your numbers to see exactly how your website is performing.

That’s it for today, folks; see you on the next post!