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Time spent overview

Various 'time spent' metrics and dimensions are offered across Adobe Analytics products.

'Time spent' metrics

Metric
Definition
Available in
Total seconds spent
Represents the total amount of time visitors interact with a specific dimension item. Includes the instance of a value & persistence across all subsequent hits. In the case of props, time spent is counted across subsequent link events as well.
Analysis Workspace, Reports & Analytics, Report Builder (called ‘total time spent’), Data Warehouse, Ad Hoc Analysis
Time spent per visit (Seconds)
Total seconds spent / (visit-bounces)
Represents the average amount of time visitors interact with a specific dimension item during each visit.
Analysis Workspace, Reports & Analytics, Ad Hoc Analysis
Time spent per visitor (Seconds)
Total seconds spent / unique visitor
Represents the average amount of time visitors interact with a specific dimension item across the visitor’s lifetime (length of their cookie).
Analysis Workspace, Reports & Analytics, Ad Hoc Analysis
Average time spent on site (Seconds)
Represents the total amount of time visitors interact with a specific dimension item, per sequence with a dimension item. It is not just limited to “site” averages as the name suggests. See the "How Time Spent is Calculated" section for more information on sequences.
Note : This metric very likely differs from 'Time Spent per Visit' at a dimension item level due to the differences in the denominator in the calculation.
Analysis Workspace, Reports & Analytics (shown in minutes), Report Builder (shown in minutes), Ad Hoc Analysis
Average time spent on page
Deprecated metric.
Instead, we recommend that you use ‘Average time spent on site’ if average time for a dimension item is needed.
Report Builder (when a dimension is in the request)
Total session length, a.k.a. Previous session length
Mobile App SDK only.
Determined the next time the app is launched, for the previous session. Calculated in seconds, this metric does not count when the app is in the background, only when in use. This is a session-level metric.
Example: We install app ABC and launch and use it for 2 minutes and then close the app. No data is sent about this session time. The next time we launch the app, Previous Session Length will be sent with a value of 120.
Analysis Workspace, Reports & Analytics, Report Builder, Mobile Services UI
Average session length (mobile)
Total Session Length / (Launches – First Launches)
Mobile App SDK only. This is a session-level metric.
Report Builder, Mobile Services UI, Ad Hoc Analysis

'Time spent' dimensions

Dimension
Definition
Available in
Time spent per visit - granular
The total time spent during the visit truncated to the nearest second, and applied to every hit that was part of the visit. This is a visit-level dimension.
Analysis Workspace, Ad Hoc Analysis
Time spent per visit - bucketed
The granular dimension bucketed into 9 different ranges. This is a visit-level dimension. Ranges include:
  • Less than 1 minute
  • 1-5 minutes
  • 5-10 minutes
  • 10-30 minutes
  • 30-60 minutes
  • 1-2 hours
  • 2-5 hours
  • 5-10 hours
  • 10-15 hours
Note : There cannot be buckets higher than this, because a visit expires after 12 hours of activity.
Analysis Workspace, Reports & Analytics, Report Builder, Ad Hoc Analysis
Time spent on page - granular
The total time spent on each hit, truncated to the nearest second. This is a hit-level dimension and includes both page views and link events. Despite its name, it is not limited to the “page” dimension.
Analysis Workspace, Ad Hoc Analysis
Time spent on page - bucketed
The granular dimension bucketed into 10 different ranges; however, the bucketed dimension only counts page views (and excludes link events). This is a hit-level dimension. Ranges include:
  • less than 15 seconds
  • 15 to 29 seconds
  • 30 to 59 seconds
  • 1 to 3 minutes
  • 3 to 5 minutes
  • 5 to 10 minutes
  • 10 to 15 minutes
  • 15 to 20 minutes
  • 20 to 30 minutes
  • more than 30 minutes
Analysis Workspace, Reports & Analytics, Ad Hoc Analysis

How 'Time Spent' is calculated

Adobe Analytics uses explicit values (including link events and video views) to calculate Time Spent.
Without link events like Video Views or Exit Links, time spent on the last hit of a visit cannot be known. For similar reasons, Bounce Visits (i.e. visits with a single hit) also does not have a 'time spent' associated with it.
The numerator in all time spent calculations is total seconds spent.
The denominator is not available as a separate metric in Adobe Analytics. For hit-level 'time spent' metrics, the denominator is sequences. A sequence is a consecutive set of hits where a given variable contains the same value (whether by being set, spread forward, or persisted). 'Spread forward' refers to the persistence of props between page views (i.e. across subsequent link events), for the purposes of calculating time spent.
  • For example, in the case of Page Name or other dimensions at the hit level, the denominator is essentially 'Instances' or 'Page Views', but with reloads and unset values (e.g. link events) counted as a single interaction (a sequence).
  • Bounce and exit hits are also removed from the denominator because 'time spent' cannot be known.

FAQs

Q1: Can all 'time spent' metrics be applied to any dimension?
A: The 'time spent' metrics that can be applied to any dimension are:
  • Total seconds spent
  • Time spent per visit (Seconds)
  • Time spent per visitor (Seconds)
  • Average time spent on site (Seconds)
Q2: Which time spent dimension is best used in breakdowns with other dimensions?
A: The Time Spent on Page – granular dimension is a hit-level dimension. Breaking this down by another dimension will tell you the seconds that a hit lasted where the breakdown dimension was also present. In the example below, the search term “classifieds” is associated with hit times of 54 seconds, 59 seconds, etc, perhaps indicating visitors are spending time reading content returned for that term.
Q3: What metric is appropriate against the dimension of Time Spent on Page – granular?
A: Any metric. The dimension will show the time spent on the exact hit where the event occurred. Higher time spent means a visitor stayed longer on a page (hit) where the event occurred.
Q4: How does Average Time Spent on Site differ from Time Spent per Visit?
A: The difference is the denominator in the metric:
  • Average time spent on site uses the sequences that include a dimension item.
  • Time spent per visit uses the visit count
As a result, these metrics may yield similar results at a visit level, but will be different at a hit level.
Q5: Why do breakdown totals with Average Time Spent on Site not match the parent line item?
A: Because Average Time Spent on Site depends on unbroken sequences of a dimension, and the inner report doesn't depend on the outer report when calculating these runs.
For example consider the following visit.
hit#
1
2
3
Seconds spent
30
100
10
Page Name
Home
Product
Home
date
Jan 1
Jan 1
Jan 1
When calculating the timespent for the Homepage it would be (30+10)/2=20, but breaking that down by day would give (30+10)/1=40 since the day has a single unbroken run of January 1st.
As a result, these metrics may yield similar results at a visit level, but will be different at a hit level.

Examples of Time Spent calculations

Assume the following set of server calls are for a single visitor within a single visit:
Visit hit#
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Visit elapsed time (in sec)
0
30
80
180
190
230
290
Seconds spent
30
50
100
10
40
60
-
Hit type
Page
Link
Page
Page
Page
Page
Page
Page Name
Home
-
Product
Home
Home (reload)
Cart
Order confirmation
prop1
A (set)
A (spread forward)
not set
B (set)
B (set)
A(set)
C (set)
prop1 seconds spent
30
50
-
10
40
60
-
eVar1
Red (set)
Red (persisted)
(expired)
Blue (set)
Blue (set)
Blue (persisted)
Red (set)
eVar1 seconds spent
30
50
-
10
40
60
-
Based on the table above, time spent metrics are calculated as follows:
prop1
Total seconds spent
Time spent per visit
Time spent per visitor
Count of sequences
Average time spent on site
A
30+50+60=140
140/1=140
140/1=140
2
140/2=70
B
10+40=50
50/1=50
50/1=50
1
50/1=50
C
0
0
0
0
0
Unattributed time
100
-
-
-
-
eVar1
Total seconds spent
Time spent per visit
Time spent per visitor
Count of sequences
Average time spent on site
Red
30+50=80
80/1=80
80/1=80
1
80/1=80
Blue
10+40+60=110
110/1=110
110/1=110
1
110/1=110
Unattributed time
100
-
-
-
-
Time spent per visit (granular): 290 Time spent on page (granular): 10, 30, 40, 50, 60, 100
Some additional notes in support of the example:
  • All time spent calculations are based on the visit elapsed time which starts at zero on the first hit of the visit.
  • “Seconds spent” is the difference between the timestamp of the current hit and the timestamp of the next hit. As a result, the last hit of the visit (and bounces) have no time spent.
  • A “sequence” is a consecutive set of hits where a given variable contains the same value (whether by being set, spread forward, or persisted). For example, prop1 “A” has two sequences: hits 1 & 2 and hit 6. Values on the last hit of the visit do not start a new sequence because the last hit has no time spent. Average time spent on site uses sequences in the denominator.
    • For the purposes of time spent only, props are “spread forward” from page hits to subsequent link hits as shown above for prop1 on hit 2. This allows the value that was set for prop1 on hit 1 (“A”) to accumulate time spent on hit 2.
    • eVars accumulate time spent on any hit where the eVar is set or persisted. eVar persistence is defined by the eVar settings in Analytics > Admin.