User engagement is the amount of time someone spends with your web page in focus or app screen in the foreground, which allows you to measure when users actively use your site or app.
How it works
When a user begins a new session, Google Analytics starts to record the amount of time in the session (in milliseconds). The amount of time is sent to Analytics when any of the following happen:
- The user moves the app screen to the background
- The user focuses away from your web page
- The user navigates away from the app screen or web page (e.g., the user closes the tab, window, or app; the user navigates to another screen or page)
- The site or app crashes
The amount of time is sent in an engagement_time_msec parameter and added to the next collected event.
Google Analytics omits the engagement_time_msec parameter when there's no engagement time since the previous event in the session.
A user lands on the home page of your website, scrolls down the page after 8 seconds, and then navigates to a second page of your website after 11 seconds. On the second page, the user scrolls down the page after 6 seconds and then leaves the site after 7 seconds.
In this scenario, you would see the following in Google Analytics:
|lands on home page||first_visit, page_view, session_start||N/A|
|scrolls down the page||scroll||8781|
|navigates to next page||user_engagement||11856|
|lands on second page||page_view||N/A|
|scrolls down the page||scroll||6677|
|leaves the website||user_engagement||7711|
When the user navigates to the next page, the user_engagement event summarizes any remaining engagement time up to when the last event was sent and before the next page loads. The page_view, first_visit, and session_start events don't have a user_engagement_msec parameter because there was no engagement time since the previous event in the session.
Evaluate user engagement
Google Analytics uses this information to populate engagement metrics like User engagement and Average engagement time.
Some standard reports, such as the Pages and screens and Events reports, include engagement metrics by default. You can also customize a report and create an exploration to include engagement metrics.
Finally, you can use the "Recently active users" audience or segment to create an audience or segment that uses engagement data for further analysis and marketing.