When we talk about engagement, pages per session is a key metric to focus and measure. Pages per session reflects how many pages visitors view during their session, which means more engagement. If a user really wants to engage with your website, he may visit more than one page. Also, this is a good indication of your offering, target and campaigns. Catherine and Amanda define customer engagement in their research as “the process of developing cognitive, affective and behavioral commitment to an active relationship with the website”
will pages per session bring money?
However, the problem with the “Pages per session” is that you need to understand how it is going to affect your bottom-line. As an example, a business that needs to drive more phone calls will focus on lower pages per session and more calls. Before you set up micro goals(Engagement goals – pages per session, time on site, button clicks, video views etc. ) you need to verify its relationship to the bottom line or macro (High level goals – Leads, transactions, orders etc.) conversion. If you have Macro goals and Google Analytics in place for a couple of months, you can see the relationship with engagement and your bottom-line. If you can prove the relationship, then you can use “pages per session” as an earlier signal to evaluate your marketing campaign effectiveness.
Prove the concept
We did a similar analysis for an e-commerce business. They have been in the industry for a long time and e-commerce conversions tracking was set up to capture transactions. However, the problem is that some products take over 60 days to convert from the first visit. So, it is difficult to wait 60 days to optimize a campaign. The best solution for this to rely on micro conversion with the proven link to revenue or conversions. We did the analysis as below.
We considered the first visit and pages per session for the same visit also compared against the conversions rate including future visits. The following image will demonstrate the logic behind the terminology:
If pages per session during the first visit can predict the future conversion rate, we are in a good position to optimize the campaign based on pages per session. We got this from the analysis:
Y Axis – Conversion Rate, X Axis – Pages per session
We drew a scatter plot diagram to see the relationship between variables. Based on the graph, a positive relationship can be identified. The equation describes the relationship so we can come to the following conclusion.
If you increase “Pages per session” by 1, the conversion rate will go up by 0.11%. which is pretty amazing.
The conclusion is we can optimize the campaign based on engagement, so we don’t want to wait months to gather conversion data.
Real Case Study
Based on above finding, we wanted to improve the engagement of a client, so we conducted landing page analysis to see commonalities between high engaged pages vs. low engaged pages. Interestingly, we found that visitors who landed on category pages had engagement higher than the visitors who landed on product pages. This is simply because people who are visiting the site for the first time want to see more products and compare. Basically, we directed new visitors towards category pages so they could engage with the website.
Once the visitor engaged with the site, he has an emotional relationship with the website, so it is highly probable they will take action in the site or remember the brand. Hollebeek explains in his research, in 2011, customer engagement with a brand as a “mixture of intellectual and emotional interactions characterizing customers’ contextual and brand-related state of mind”. So, we have proven evidence about the engagement and its impact on brand recall. Research conducted about “An Experimental Study of the Relationship between Online Engagement and Advertising Effectiveness” by Bobby, Edward and Ute found a positive relationship between engagement and ad effectiveness.
Invest time and effort on visitor engagement but don’t limit to “Pages per session”. You can also focus on bounce rate, time on site, site search usages and other engagement activities. Feel free to add any comments or suggestions.