The metric of page depth o pages per session (also pages / session or average page depth) indicates the average number of pages visited by a user within a session. This metric is a standard alternative to Google Analytics that can be used to understand visitor behavior and make the most of the site with the knowledge acquired. If the pages per session are displayed in isolation, they only provide information about the number of pages per session. However, if this metric is combined with the predefined dimensions of Google Analytics, a more detailed analysis of the content, user behavior and the web portal in general can be carried out, which goes far beyond the purely quantitative recording of the page depth.
The average page depth can be viewed under the main menu item Target group> Overview. In addition, other metrics are shown. If a specific time period is selected, the data for that time period will be displayed. Additional metrics can be clicked and compared to each other at the top of the data view. The overview also shows new visitors and returning visitors, as well as various aspects such as demographics, languages, and system characteristics of the user device.
How does it work
Google Analytics generally distinguishes between dimensions and metrics. These form the basis of the numerous reports. Dimensions are characteristics of the data that is collected. That could be, for example, the city from which a page call originated. Metrics are quantitative data that can be tracked with Google Analytics. These include page views, sessions, and pages viewed per session.
The page depth is a value that indicates the average number of pages that have been visited in a session. It is indicated with a decimal number, such as 1.51 or 5.73 pages per session. In addition, repeated page views are recorded in the same session (loopbacks). For the sake of completeness, all current metrics are listed here:
- Bounce rate
- Average session time
- New sessions in %
- Pages / sessions
- Page views
To achieve meaningful reports, individual metrics are combined with different metrics or dimensions, such as demographic characteristics or the characteristics of the system that the user uses. Both primary and secondary dimensions are possible, although not all combinations are useful and available in all reports. For most data tables, the applicable alternatives are located at the top edge so that they can be changed quickly.  Another interesting feature is the comparison between different metrics, since in this way metrics such as page depth they can be compared to dwell time or bounce rate.
Based on different metrics in general and in terms of page depth In particular, several conclusions can be drawn about the potential for optimization. For example, the average page depth indicates how much interest users have in the subpages of the web portal.
- To what extent are users immersed in the information architecture of the web?
- How many page views were generated by this click and read behavior?
- What is the percentage of new and old users?
The answers to these questions can be interpreted as indicators of optimization. For example, low values of page depth they are an indication of an information architecture that does not attract users far enough in the offering. But having a lot of page views doesn't necessarily mean that the information architecture is good. The deciding factor is what the web portal is supposed to accomplish and whether readers can find what they are looking for.
A high percentage of returning visitors indicates that remarketing or retargeting is useful (for example, through smart lists). Therefore, recurring visitors can be directly targeted to offer them incentives, for example to enable them to complete a purchase or request a newsletter. In this way, Google Analytics reports can also be used to make initial decisions about lead generation or to examine landing pages. But in the case of landing pages and affiliate programs, despite everything, the values of average page depth it should be low, since visitors are generally redirected.
Relevance for web analysis
Informational data is the basis for reasonable web analysis. With its different dimensions and metrics, the Google Analytics tool allows numerous analytical methods that prove their effectiveness once used in practice. Even though Google offers a lot of help and explanations, the power of the functions can only be realized when all the relevant aspects are taken into account. For example, to draw solid conclusions from the average page depth, the nature of the web portal, its structure and its business objectives must be clear. Only then will questions arise about visitor behavior or the performance of a particular target group. For e-commerce websites, these aspects can be very different from news magazines or blogs. In any case, it seems that the medium depth it should not be considered in isolation and should always be categorized in a global context, since the questions that the GA can answer are very diverse.
- General definition of average page depth
- Beginner's Guide to Google Analytics
- API / Dimensions and Metrics Explorer