What Is A Website Session? Viewing vs Interacting

They say, “great things come to those who wait,” but today I’m in a hurry. I need to locate a new toolbox for some upholstery work I want to complete on my grandmother’s couch. While surfing the net trying to find the best materials at an affordable price, I come across something spectacular. It’s a site that sells items specifically designed for upholstery projects. My fascination with this like-minded community propels me to navigate their entire website. 

First, I’m drawn in by the transformative before and after pictures located on their homepage. Then, one picture leads to a detailed blog post on a loyal customer’s reupholster experience. In his guide, he mentions the absolute life-saver he found in one of the products sold by this company And guess what!? The product was linked, so here I am on the product page reading the description and analyzing customer reviews. Yes, you’re correct to think that I added a few more items into my cart. Forty minutes later and I’m finally ready to checkout with more than I’ll ever need to refurbish my grandmother’s antique furniture.

One customer spent forty minutes on one website- how many sessions do you think took place during that time?

Answer: One session.

What is a session? A group of customer interactions with a specific website during a given time frame. 

Alternatively, most metrics define page views as the standalone act of a user loading a single webpage on a site. 

The above definitions are recognized by most analytic software providers including Google Analytics, Hotjar, and Fullstory just to name a few.

Why is it important to define terms on par with industry standards? Throughout your entrepreneurial journey, treating your business as a sociological experiment will help secure conversion. Data and research are key to building profitable marketing strategies and consumer funnels. For most online landing pages, data is built from website analytics– this is where the importance of defining key terms comes into play.

How will you be able to identify your company’s wins and opportunities if you’re unable to translate your customer’s site interactions and user analytics.

This blog will bring you one-step closer to success by explaining:

  • The factors that make up a website session:

You may be wondering: what sets a View apart from a Session? 

The simplest answer: Time.

The amount of time one spends on your site is the subtle, yet strong difference that sets views apart from sessions. A pageview takes seconds to execute, as it only involves opening a single page. Whereas a site session encompasses the total amount of consumer interactions throughout your site during a specific timeframe. For example, Wix.com ends a customer session after 30 minutes of inactivity.

So yes, landing on a homepage, then pivoting to a blog, that leads to a product page, which finally ends in my checkout cart- is all considered one session. Essentially, most website sessions end when a lead or customer exits your site and fully closes the browser. 

  • Best-practices for tracking your site’s total number of sessions:

Luckily, we live in an era where free website analytics are accessible to all developers. Most website servers offer user interaction data such as how many minutes they spend on a particular page, bounce rates, and conversion percentages.

In an effort to better track consumer experience, we’ve discovered a growing trend in website video recording software as well. Instead of guessing that a session is over after 30 mins of inactivity, user session recordings can accurately showcase when a potential lead fully disengages.

  • The most relevant analytics for boosting site sessions:

  • After you’re able to define the most relevant and utilized terms in your industry, what’s next?

Answer: Determining which site analytics offer the most insight to your consumer’s needs.

Below I’ll provide a list of commonly used free website tracking tools and how tracking them can boost site sessions.

 

  • Traffic by entry page – Discover which pages your visitors land on when they enter the site. If leads are dropping off too fast, you may want to switch up the contents located on this initial page.

  • Drop-off rate – This is calculated by dividing the number of people who abandon their cart by the total number of site sessions. For example, if 1000 people visit your website but only 100 people complete a purchase, the drop off rate equals 90%.

  • Top Traffic Sources – Learn how people get to your site- what medium or platform brought them your way? Was it social media, a search engine, or direct url?

  • Page visits – Do you know how many different pages have been opened on your site? Tracking this during a given time, may pinpoint why there’s a lack of or boost in conversion. Also, analyzing the demographics associated with the people who visit pages on your site can help your strategy.

  • Site sessions – How many sessions take place on your website during certain periods of time? This can shine light on what type of products, marketing, and delivery most resonates with your consumer base.

 

  • Conversion of previous visitors into future engagers: 

Do potential leads interact with your content on social media, but rarely click the link in your bio? The root cause of this can be found in the analytics tied to the leads who do make it to your site. It’s important to record what pages they’re landing on and when they choose to exit.

For example, if potential customers make it to my home page, but the session ends there- what on this page needs to change so that there isn’t an immediate drop off funnel. 

Ultimately, utilizing a relevant website funnel analysis that shows trends in your site conversion is key. Also, staying abreast to popular marketing terms and definitions will make understanding your site analytics a lot easier. Luhmann’s black box theory eloquently describes the effects of an ever-changing and growing digital market. He believed that the future held a plethora of options that would make consumers restless and forgetful.