Scroll Depth, Average Time on Page, Bounce Rate

Scroll Depth

If your site earns revenue from advertising, you might want to know how ads are seen on each page.  Scroll depth measures how far down the page a user actually scrolls.

If we know that a user scrolls down to, say, 75% of the page, they've most likely seen most of the ads on that page and we have success. Your developers can track these interactions as hard-coded events with Google Analytics. They can also track this with Google Tag Manager and the scroll depth trigger.

Let me show you what that looks like Google Tag Manager.

Here we are in GTM, and I have set up an event for scroll tracking. I've set the category as scroll tracking, the action as a scroll depth threshold, which is a trigger, I'll get back to that in one moment, and the label as page path, which means the page that somebody was on when they triggered this event.

So that scroll depth threshold trigger is over here [left], and I have set the percentages of this trigger to fire at 25, 50, 75 and 100%, which means that when somebody gets to, say, 50% of the page, we're going to fire an event that has a category of scroll tracking and an action of 50, and so on for 75 and 100.

The last thing to note here is the non-interaction hit event setting. I have this set to "false", which means that this event will count as an interaction, or that this user will not count as a bounce.

After you've set all this up as events, you can then set scroll depth as a goal and if applicable, give it a value that reflects how much your organization earns from its advertisers.

Here we are in our goal settings, this is under Views, Goals, and here we go. I've already set this up, but I'm going to walk you through it.

I've given it a name of scroll depth greater than 50, and I've set it as an event.

Now when I click into the goal details, we can see that I've set my category equal to scroll tracking and my action as a regular expression for 75 or 100, meaning that somebody has gone more than 50% of the page, we're going to fire this goal.

Then I go ahead and I click Save, and I now have a goal for this.

Average Time On Page

For a content site, you want your users to consume the content and not necessarily complete an action beyond that. So scroll tracking is good to be able to understand this, but what might be even more useful is something like "average time on page" as a key performance indicator for the entire site, or as a diagnostic metric in the pages report to determine which pages are the most engaging for our users and perhaps entice you to make more pages like those.

Consider the different purposes that different pages in your site may serve. You want to make sure that you're measuring similar types of these pages together.

For example, in the Behavior > Site Content > All pages report that you see here, we can see that the average time on-page for the homepage, which is row 2, and the email sign-up page, which is row 1, are significantly lower than the average time on-page for our blog page for Google Tag Manager, which is row 3. 

Now, it makes sense that these would logically be analyzed separately, since they're very different types of interactions and lead to different insights that we may take from this information.

Bounce Rate

As a content site, you may have people who are driven to single long-page articles like our blog site, read the whole thing, and then leave. Normally, this would count as a bounce, but this is where you can use the scroll depth tracking event that we mentioned earlier as an interaction event to help you understand site engagement in a better way.

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