Guide to User Engagement Metrics in Google Analytics

User Engagement Metrics in Google Analytics 4 Feature

Do you know what user engagement metrics are and how they can benefit you? User engagement metrics show you important details about how visitors use and interact with your website.

We’re going to show you how to find these statistics, and how you can use engagement metrics to improve your site’s performance.

Ready? Let’s find out what user engagement is and why it’s important.

What Is User Engagement in Google Analytics?

User engagement in Google Analytics refers to certain user behaviors on your website. For example, the length of time that an average user spends interacting with your site is called Average engagement time.

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Other engagement stats measure things like user scrolls, page views per user, and so on.

Top Engagement Metrics in Google Analytics

Google Analytics reports a number of default metrics to measure user engagement. The top ones are:

  1. Engagement Rate
  2. Average Engagement Time
  3. Conversions
  4. Engagement Time per Page

You may want to note that Google Analytics does not report bounce rate (the percentage of visitors who land on your site but don’t take any action like scrolling, clicking a link, or similar) as a default statistic. Instead, you’ll need to pay attention to a metric called Engagement Rate. That stat measures what percentage of visitors did at least one of three things:

  • Stayed on a page on your site for at least 10 seconds, OR
  • Viewed at least two web pages, OR
  • Completed any type of conversion.

When users are engaged, that means they’re actually reading your content, clicking menu links, or interacting in some other way. So, many user engagement metrics are based on the number of engaged users and engaged sessions.

Now, let’s get started with our complete guide to engagement metrics in Google Analytics!

We’ll start by describing the most important user engagement metrics you’ll need to know in Google Analytics.

1. Engagement Rate

The engagement rate is the number of engaged sessions divided by the total number of sessions. This is supposed to tell you how many of your visitors are actively engaged with your site. To see the engagement rate metric in Google Analytics, click the Reports icon in the left sidebar, then click Acquisition » Traffic Acquisition.

GA4 Traffic Acquisition

Now, you’ll see a couple of graphs and a table that show details about where your traffic came from. That is, how many visitors came from an email link, a search engine, a paid ad, and other sources.

In the graph on the bottom half of the page, Google shows you the number of total website users, total sessions, engaged sessions, and the engagement rate, among other metrics.

GA4 User Engagement Rate Metric

While engagement rate can be seen as the opposite of bounce rate, it’s measured in a different way. Still, higher engagement rates are definitely better than lower.

How to Use the Engagement Rate Metric

What do engagement rates tell you? Well, in the graph above, you can see that the engagement rate for traffic that came from email engaged at a rate of 79%. On the other hand, users who came from paid searches were only engaged 49% of the time.

This stat shows that visitors who came from an email link were more engaged than traffic from other sources. Those users already have a relationship with your site, so they may be expected to show more interest and stay longer.

These numbers might also tell you that you need to do better audience targeting in your ad campaigns. Perhaps you’re not really reaching the right people if only half of those who click your ad want to interact. Or, perhaps your ad copy is misleading, and people click thinking your website is about something it’s not.

These are some of the potential issues that you can diagnose and fix with the help of the engagement rate metric.

2. Average Engagement Time

Now, let’s look at a metric called average engagement time. You’ll find this stat in Google Analytics in the Reports » Engagement » Overview screen.

GA4 Average Engagement Time Metric

The average engagement time is something you should watch, to see how it changes over time. Generally speaking, you want this number to be increasing or remaining stable.

That’s because people who stay on your site longer are more likely to turn into paying customers, subscribers, or fans. So, how do you get people to stay longer? There’s no magical answer, except to improve your visitors’ experience as best you can.

That’s why average engagement time is a valuable metric. It’s kind of like an overall measure of how much users enjoy interacting with your content. And while there’s no standard for what a “good” average engagement time is, what’s important is how it’s trending over time.

3. Conversions

The next critical user engagement metric you should know is conversion rate. You’ll find the conversion numbers for different events on your website in the Engagement » Conversions report screen (although you’ll also find conversion in other reports, like the Traffic acquisition report).

GA4 Engagement Conversions

Here, you can see every conversion event and how many users out of the total performed that action. The classic example of a conversion occurs when someone completes a checkout form to buy a product on your site. In Google Analytics terms, this is called a purchase event, and it’s automatically tracked as a conversion by Google.

As you can see in our example, there were 2,182 users who made a purchase, out of 65,437 total users. If we divide those numbers we get a purchase conversion rate of 3.3%. That’s the percentage of total visitors who ended up buying something.

Tracking Other Conversions

However, conversions don’t have to be monetary. In fact, you can define many different activities as conversions. You can set a conversion when a visitor downloads a file, subscribes to your list, or clicks an affiliate link on your site.

To set up other conversions besides purchases in Google Analytics, go to the Configure screen.

GA4 Configure Menu

There, a table shows you a number of different events that you can track as conversions. Simply flip the switch for any event you want to add to your Conversions report.

GA4 Mark Conversion Event

In this example, we’re marking the add_to_cart and generate_lead (which is usually form submission) events as conversions, in addition to the purchase event that’s turned on by default in Google Analytics.

Now, you’ll be able to track the conversion events that are important to you and figure out your conversion rates in the Conversions report.

4. Engagement Time per Page

The average engagement time per page simply tells you the average time that active users spent on an individual web page. To find out how much time your visitors are spending on each page of your site, click the Pages and screens item in the Engagement menu.

GA4 Engagement Metrics Time on Page

At the top of the Average engagement time column, you’ll see the average time users are active on your entire site. Below that, you’ll find the average time that visitors spend on each of your pages. The page titles are shown in the left column.

Now, you can see if any of your numbers are surprising or unusual. For example, if you have product pages with significantly lower engagement times, what’s different about those pages compared to more successful pages? Are product descriptions and images below standard, or is there a link leading people away from those pages?

There you go, those are our 4 top user engagement metrics in Google Analytics that we recommend you’re familiar with, as a start.

More Google Engagement Reports

Google Analytics offers several other engagement reports that may be useful for more advanced users:

Events Report – Under Reports » Engagement » Events, you’ll find a complete list of the events Google is tracking on your website. Many of these events aren’t very useful or meaningful, but if you want to track a specific event, you’ll find it here.

User Stickiness – In the Engagement Overview screen, there’s a chart titled User Stickiness. This chart shows the ratios of daily, weekly, and monthly active users in comparison. It shows how many active users are recurring visitors over time. Higher ratios mean your site is more “sticky,” or in other words, it tends to attract more return visitors.

Google Analytics 4 Engagement User Stickiness

How to View User Engagement Metrics in WordPress

If you run a WordPress site, you don’t have to log in to Google Analytics every time you want to see stats on user engagement. When you use ExactMetrics, the best premium WordPress plugin for Google Analytics, you can see engagement stats right in your site dashboard.

The Overview report in ExactMetrics gives you instant access to sessions, total users, and average session duration.

ExactMetrics Overview Report Engagement Metrics

You can also see engagement metrics for your Top Landing Pages in the Publishers Overview report, such as the average session duration and bounce rate for your top landing pages. Quickly view your average scroll depth here as well.

scroll tracking

To dig deeper into your landing page engagement metrics, head to the Top Landing Pages report under Traffic. Here, you can quickly see which landing page has the most engaged sessions, pages per session, conversions, and more.

Top landing pages report - ExactMetrics

Want to see which posts and pages have the highest engagement? Just head to the Pages report to easily see the number of engaged sessions and bounce rate for your top pages.

ExactMetrics Pages Report

Using ExactMetrics, you can also find engagement metrics, conversion rate, and more in your WordPress reports for:

Plus, when you use ExactMetrics for eCommerce tracking, you get instant insight into your Conversion Rate, Average Order Value, and Top Conversion Sources, among other critical stats.

ExactMetrics eCommerce Report At-A-Glance

The plugin sets up eCommerce tracking in one click, so you don’t have to do any custom setup in Google Analytics. If you use paid ad campaigns, you can easily track your Google Ads performance with ExactMetrics’ Ads addon.

ExactMetrics also tracks other user engagement events inside WordPress, including affiliate link clicks, add-to-cart events, file downloads, and more.

If you want to see the user engagement stats that matter inside the WordPress dashboard, ExactMetrics is a better option than Google Analytics. And, beginners will find it much easier to set up and get the information they need.

All right, that’s all for our guide to user engagement metrics in Google Analytics, we hope you learned something new. If you liked it, check out this article on analytics metrics that every business should track.

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