When you create a website that is perfect for your business, you want to make sure your visitors stick around for a while. Doing so is a good indication that they are taking in the content you are putting out or likely to buy what you are selling. Videos and images are an eye-catching way to improve session duration on your website, and they can garner up to 94% more views.
What Is Session Duration?
Session duration goes by many names, including visit duration and site duration. Google begins measuring a user’s session as soon as they arrive at your site. The session ends after a specific period of inactivity or when the visitor leaves the site. Essentially, a session continues as long as a viewer is interacting with your site.
Session duration metrics are more meaningful as an average, which is why Google averages the number of seconds spent on a site and the number of visits. It leaves out incidents of users landing on a webpage and immediately leaving. Keep in mind that Google Analytics does still track sessions when the tab or window is hidden, so site visit duration has some window of inaccuracy. Still, it can be a valuable indicator of how effective and engaging your content is.
What Is a Good Average Visit Duration for a Website?
When working to improve visit duration on your site, it is nice to have a goal in mind. So what is a good session duration? It depends on the kind of site you have and the industry you’re in. For example, sites that are content-heavy with journal articles and videos and images are likely to have significantly longer session durations than more commercial sites.
Research indicates that visitors to websites of business-to-consumer companies spend 42.3% more time on site on average than visitors to sites of business-to-business companies. The former may include hospital and other healthcare sites. These average out at 3:38 per session. Financial services and pharmaceuticals and medical merchandise follow suit with visit durations of 2:18 and 2:16, respectively.
Even within your own site, a good session duration will be different depending on the kind of content on the page. Blog posts and product pages should have longer session durations than home pages, especially if they have effective videos and images. If the reverse is true, your visitors may be experiencing some navigation confusion or other difficulties.
Generally speaking, it is common for site duration to fall between two and three minutes. Anything longer than that is likely good, with 45% of internet users spending an average time of three to five minutes on blog posts. That being said, longer session duration is not necessarily better. You want to make sure that visitors are staying on your site because they’re enjoying the content and experience, not because they can’t complete a desired action or find the information they’re looking for.
Extending Sessions with Videos and Images
Videos and images are a helpful way to improve session duration in a meaningful way. They can help break up chunks of text and illustrate complex ideas all while appealing to different types of learners. As you build your site and post your content, find the kind of videos and images that will best suit your kind of site and help the visitors to your site have a good experience.
Using Images to Increase Visit Duration
We have to say it: a picture is worth a thousand words. Images present an engaging way of representing information on your site, making it more digestible. This is particularly true of infographics. If you can illustrate your point using a few images, you can improve the readability of a post by breaking up the content. Plus, videos and images alike make a site more visually interesting.
Many sites like DepositPhotos or Shuttershock that have a nearly unlimited photo bank with available photos. You can also use photographs you’ve taken yourself as long as their dimensions are optimized. Photos specific to your business will give viewers a better grasp of who you are. Never use photos without the proper licensing.
Images that are high-quality and properly optimized perform well in the Google ranking system, so having such images is a good way to generate good traffic to your site. You should consider using fullscreen background images on your landing pages. Make sure all of your images are optimized correctly for size and with effective alt tags.
Be wary of too much of a good thing. Do not clutter your site with too many photos; they can slow a site and make reading between the lines difficult or frustrating.
Using Videos to Increase Visit Duration
Internet browsers love videos. They are quickly becoming the most engaging form of media online. One only has to look at the success of YouTube to know that videos are the go-to for movies, other entertainment, advertising, tutorials, tips, and learning just about anything.
Videos help websites be interactive and engaging. They are also a dynamic and effective way of sharing site-specific information. Because they boost user engagement, they also improve site duration times. Make your videos work for you by making them unique and engaging (as should be true of all your content).
Optimize your videos by having the proper transcript availability and closed captioning functionality. If you embed a YouTube video on your site, it will load on the web page itself, increasing your site’s session duration.