Measuring Engagement with Google Analytics

Published February 21, 2014

Google Analytics provides a variety of metrics for measuring engagement. We have found, however, that often the most useful way to look at engagement is to look at the trend in the actual number of engaged visits to a site. To make this easy for our customers, Megalytic provides the Engaged Visits and UnEngaged Visits metrics, derived from Google Analytics data.

Engaged Visits

The Importance of Measuring Engagement

Websites need to be engaging in order to achieve their purpose and the purpose varies. It may be selling widgets, selling advertising or providing customer support. Whatever the purpose is, if the website is not engaging, it is probably not achieving it. Ideally, you want to have a stable and growing audience of engaged visitors. So, how do you measure the size of your engaged audience? Out of the box, Google Analytics provides three metrics that are commonly used as gauges of engagement: Bounce Rate, Pages/Visit, and Avg. Visit Duration. But, since these metrics are averages, they do not measure the size of your engaged audience and can be misleading.

The Limitations of Averages for Measuring Engagement

Metrics like Bounce Rate, Pages/ Visit and Avg. Visit Duration tell you about the average behavior of a visitor. This information can be skewed by the type of marketing campaign that is happening during a particular period. For example, consider Pages/ Visit, your site average may be 3.92 - so the average visit looks at about 4 pages. Now, suppose that your marketing team manages to get a link to your site placed on a major source of traffic - like Reddit. You will see a surge in traffic - but many of those visit will be to only one page - the page linked to from Reddit. So, your Pages/ Visit may drop to 2.05. Does that mean that your site is attracting fewer engaged visitors? Absolutely not! In fact, the size of your engaged audience is probably increasing because some number of the new visitors from Reddit are engaged by your site.

A Better Approach - Count the Number of Engaged Visits

So, what you would really like to do is calculate the number of engaged visits to your site. You can get some sense of that from the Google Analytics Engagement report which segments visits by Visit Duration.


Let's say that you define an engaged visit as one that lasts more than 3 minutes (180 seconds). Looking at the above report, you can add up those visits and see that you had: 115 + 88 + 37 = 240 engaged visits during the last month. That means that 240 / 1370 = 17.5% of your visits were engaged. That's good to know. Now, you want to track how that number changes over time. Is 240 engaged visits per month more or less than we had last week? You probably also want to know if those engaged visits are coming from a particular segment, so you can focus your marketing activities there. Unfortunately, Google Analytics does not make it easy for you to calculate this number and track it over time. That is why we built the Engaged Visits metric into Megalytic.

Using Megalytic's Engaged Visits Metric

Megalytic pulls data from Google Analytics and processes it to calculate the Engaged Visits metric. We use the same dimension as in Google's Engagement Report - Visit Duration (ga:visitLength), loop through all the visits and count those that exceed your threshold definition of engagement. In the example above, we used the threshold of 180 seconds to calculate 240 engaged visits. Changing this threshold will change the result. In Megalytic, you can define the threshold that makes sense for your site. We also enable you to use our Engaged Visits metric in charts and tables, so you can track how it changes over time. The chart above is an example showing the change in Engaged Visits and UnEngaged Visits over time.

Get Started Measuring Engaged Visits

Detailed instructions for how to use the Engaged Visits metric in Megalytic can be found here.


Digital marketers spend a lot of time focused on PPC and SEO campaigns in order to drive desirable traffic to a website. The phrases we’re ranking for and bidding on get meticulous attention, so much so that we often forget about some of the other ways that visitors find us.

We put a tremendous amount of the effort we put into reviewing organic search data and PPC campaign performance in analytics. But how closely do we monitor referral reports?

If that’s not a channel you review regularly, you may be missing out on seeing traffic that is coming directly from links you’ve obtained around the web, local business listings, news mentions, and more. Many times, links are only considered as a means to an end, a metric that Google uses in determining how to rank sites in the SERPs (search engine results pages). But the fact is, many of a site’s links may be directly contributing to its traffic.

In this article, we’ll review how to look at referral reports in Google Analytics, and some of the many ways to use that data to better inform your web marketing decisions.


When the client first came to you, you talked up the value of Google Analytics. You emphasized the importance of seeing where your traffic was coming from. You went on and on about how Google Analytics can show traffic sources to pinpoint whether people came from search, social media or a specific site referral, and how valuable this data was. You sold them on it, so much so that your client looked forward to receiving that first report, the magical day when they would finally understand where visitors were coming from.
But then the report came, and it looked like this:



It showed that 10% of your client’s traffic came from “(direct)/(none)”. What does this label mean? How do you explain Direct traffic to your client? Better yet, how do you explain “none”?
Let’s take a closer look at understanding Direct traffic in Google Analytics and how we can address it with clients.
There are a lot of reasons why you might want to share access to your company's Instagram account with your digital marketing agency.
  1. You want your agency to run ads for your business on Instagram.
  2. You'd like your agency to boost some of your Instagram posts to achieve specific marketing objectives.
  3. You want your agency to create content and post directly to your feed.
Instagram advertising is handled through Facebook Ads. So, you can achieve the first two objectives by sharing access through Facebook Business Manager. In the third case, you will need to share your company's Instagram account password with your agency or else give them access through a third-party tool like Hootsuite or Buffer.
We've put together this blog post to walk through the steps in each scenario and provided screen shots to make it easy to follow. So, if you are ready to begin sharing Instagram access with your agency, but haven't known how to get started, you've found the right resource.