The last three reports in the Visitor Trending section can be classified as user engagement reports. Meaning, the metrics provided in the Average Pageviews, Time on Site, and Bounce Rate reports will give you a good idea of how involved in your site users become. This set of reports will answer the following questions about your visitors:
1) How many pages did they look at?
2) How long did they stay?
3) How many people came, saw one page and left (i.e. bounced away)?
This is the number of pages viewed per visit. This metric is a way of measuring visit quality. A high average pageviews suggests the visitor was highly engaged with your site and you are receiving targeted traffic. But a low average pageviews does not necessarily mean your site is not relevant to its visitors. A sports news site might have the day’s scores posted on the homepage giving the visitor exactly what they were looking for with one pageview. You satisfied your visitor with one pageview giving them what they wanted, but maybe you can entice them to stay and visit other pages giving them something they didn’t know they were missing out on. These metrics are not absolute.
In this example the average visitor views 5.67 pages per visit.
Time on Site
This is the average amount of time a visitor spends on your site during their visit. It is measured down to the second. It is also often used as a measure of site quality assuming the longer a visitor spends on your site the more engaged they are with it. However users sometimes leave a site open in their browser and move on to other things or walk away. Use this metric in conjunction with others to get the full picture.
In this example the average Time on Site was 5 minutes and 1 second.
Bounce rate is the percentage of single-page visits. In other words, a visitor left your site from the same page they entered on without viewing any other pages. It is generally assumed that a high bounce rate means users are not finding what they want on the entrance page so they leave in search of it elsewhere. This may be true in most cases, but make sure you are looking at it in context. If you offer a free software trial download from your homepage and the visitor downloads it and leaves to install it and test it out, you have accomplished a goal. If that is the case, other metrics such as new vs. returning visitors might be more useful to you.
In this example 28.64% of visitors visited one page and left.
The keys to measuring visitor engagement using these reports is to keep things in context and not let any one report be the sole basis of decision making.