Reverting Back to Original "Average Time on Site" Calculation Today

Wednesday, September 12, 2007 | 10:52 AM

We recently introduced a new way of calculating "Average Time on Site" that removed visitors who "bounce" from your website (people who hit one page of your site and then leave). This updated calculation attempted to give you a better idea of how long engaged visitors spend on your website. However, many of you prefer the original calculation: the total time on site for all visits divided by the total number of visits. So today we are changing it back.

Effective immediately, all current and historical Average Time on Site metrics are calculated using the original methodology. This ensures that your data-set is consistent. So if you compare data from today or tomorrow with data from two weeks ago, it will be an apples to apples comparison.

Two other updates in this release...

The number of Absolute Unique Visitors displayed in the Visitors Overview report previously did not match the number of unique visitors in the Absolute Unique Visitors report. This is because the Absolute Unique Visitor report shows data over time and was therefore summing daily unique visitors. The Absolute Unique Visitors report no longer sums the day by day totals but instead displays the absolute unique visitors metric that is displayed in the Visitors Overview.

Careful, this one's a bit geeky. We recently changed the way we ordered URL parameters. Why is this important? Take a look at the following two URLs:

www.google.com?rooms=3&beds=2
www.google.com?beds=2&rooms=3

Instead of considering these two URLs as a single URL: www.google.com?beds=2&rooms=3 (i.e. alphabetically ordered parameters), we now consider these as two separate URLs (i.e. without reordered parameters). We made this change to accommodate those of you with filters or goals dependent upon parameter order.

We are always seeking to improve the value you get from Google Analytics. We try to be right 100% of the time, but we're human.