You Say Tomato…

Over at Coffee, Sun & Analytics, Xavier has a couple posts on session length. Some good thoughts there, but I was surprised at the statement

Session length = number of pages users viewed during their session on the site.

Call me old school, but I thought session length was the amount of time a user spent.

I can’t find any definitive phrase for what Xavier is talking about. At Accrue we called it Session Depth or Visit Depth (we said a session was user-centric: a user may visit many sites during a session). At Yahoo there’s no new term, it’s just “pageviews per session.”

Argh. Here we have two people with a lot of experience in web analytics and we’re not even speaking the same language. What a mess!

You Say Tomato…

3 thoughts on “You Say Tomato…

  1. For the amount of time spent, we call that “session duration”. To your point, I think the confusion goes beyond semantics actually – take the example of “conversion rates”, a fundamental metric for any transactional site. I can think of at least 3 or 4 other names for this which are commonly used – close ratio, session completion rate, book to viewer ratio, etc – AND worse, the formal definition for this metrics varies across vendors (sessions/orders? unique daily visitors/orders? etc). So what does it mean to have a 3.4% conversion rate?

    I think we would all embrace some kind of standard definitions for the 10-15 key metrics we all use. But I wonder who would lead this effort – WAA? A research firm like Jupiter, Forrester or Aberdeen?

  2. Agreed that we as an industry are all over the place — I’m hoping the WAA standards committee will tackle this.

  3. kd says:

    my idea is inline with u bob. toll date my equation is something like this,

    session length/time/duration = total time spend by the user in the same site.

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