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European Online Engagement:

“Dwell time” is a measure frequently used in Web Analytics to determine website effectiveness.  The idea is that the more the website visitor is engaged, then the more time they are likely to spend on a Web page.  Obviously this concept has flaws.  A long dwell time may be because the Web page is difficult to read, or perhaps the visitor just goes off to make a cup of coffee, leaving the web page on the screen to time-out.  And a short dwell time might simply be due to the fact that there is little content on a particular page.  Nevertheless, when you have a very large sample of average Web viewing habits, it can provide a useful picture of real consumer behaviour.  As this chart demonstrates, the variances in hours spent online and dwell times are an indication that there are significant cultural differences between countries, even those that are geographically very close together, as in Europe. I calculated this data from a fascinating October press release from comScore which showed that Turkey has, to quote, “the third most engaged online audience in Europe.”  To investigate this claim I used the comScore data to work out the average pages viewed per hour in each country.  This is a straight forward division of the average pages viewed per hour by the average hours spent online in each country.  In the chart, I’ve ranked the results in order, left to right, from the lowest number of pages per hour to the highest.  If we use the assumption used in Web Analytics, fewer web pages viewed per hour means that the visitors are more engaged with the page content.  In order to provide some context to the European data, I’ve also calculated the world wide number of Web pages viewed per hour. The first interesting finding is that Europeans view more Web pages per hour than the global average, and they are also nearly 12% faster at viewing those Web pages than the global average.  This is around the figure that I would expect, as Europeans spent nearly 8% longer online during August compared to non-Europeans.  The world-wide-web (www) is very much a European baby. It was, as I’m sure most of you know, first conceived in 1989 at Cern on the French Swiss border by an Englishman, Sir Tim Berners Lee.   At this stage of the Web’s development the amount of time spent online per person per month is a pretty good indicator of Internet experience (i.e. the number of years, and how intensively, the person has been using the Internet).  In fact the more developed an Internet economy becomes, the more time is spent online.  Perhaps this explains why consumers in the United Kingdom spent an average of nearly 35 hours online in August, (more than anybody else in Europe), and two and a half times longer than consumers in Austria who spent an average of under 14 hours online, less than anybody else in Europe. If you look at the dark red graph line on the chart you can see the great variation in time spent online across Europe.  One might reasonably expect that the more years spent online the faster will be each Web page viewing, but is this so?  Given that comScore’s data was based on the month of August, my first thought was to analyse it for any seasonal effect.  For example, there is an obvious difference between the cooler climate in Northern Europe and the hotter climate in Southern Europe.  The data seems to indicate that this may be a factor, but it also paints a confusing picture:  You can see that the Italians basking in sun-drenched Southern Europe in August only spent 15.8 hours online that month, but in equally hot Spain people spent no less than 23.9 hours online. Why the difference? My second observation is how varied the number of web pages viewed per hour is throughout Europe.  In Spain they view 85 web pages per hour, while at the other end of the scale in Poland they view 116 web pages per hour.  So Polish consumers are viewing 36% more web pages per hour than Spanish consumers meaning that Poland’s actual “dwell time” per page or “on-page engagement” is about one third less than Spain’s.  Could this be a seasonal effect?  I don’t think this is likely because, after Spain, Norway, with its much cooler weather, has the slowest rate of viewing Web pages in Europe and Poland, which also has a Northern climate, has the fastest rate of viewing Web pages. What this data clearly shows is that the United Kingdom stands out as the most engaged Internet audience in Europe.  The British spend the longest time online. They view the most Web pages, 3,205 in a month and, at the same time, they spend longer on each Web page than every other European country except Spain and Norway.  As comScore claims, the Turks certainly spend the third longest time online per month but they also have the second fastest rate of viewing Web pages of any European country.  By using the metric of web pages viewed per hour all we can safely conclude is that the attention span given to each Web page in aggregate is much shorter in Turkey than elsewhere.  Only Poland has a faster rate of viewing Web pages.  Also, to answer my earlier thought, there appears to be no statistical relationship between the amount of time spent online and the rate that Web pages are viewed.  For the technically minded the Pearson R co-efficient between the two sets of figures is -0.22 which indicates a weak negative relationship.  I conclude that evaluating attention span (or online engagement) is a complex phenomenon but it does not seem to be related to the actual time spent online. November 2011
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European Online

Engagement:

“Dwell time” is a measure frequently used in Web Analytics to determine website effectiveness.  The idea is that the more the website visitor is engaged, then the more time they are likely to spend on a Web page.  Obviously this concept has flaws.  A long dwell time may be because the Web page is difficult to read, or perhaps the visitor just goes off to make a cup of coffee, leaving the web page on the screen to time-out.  And a short dwell time might simply be due to the fact that there is little content on a particular page.  Nevertheless, when you have a very large sample of average Web viewing habits, it can provide a useful picture of real consumer behaviour.  As this chart demonstrates, the variances in hours spent online and dwell times are an indication that there are significant cultural differences between countries, even those that are geographically very close together, as in Europe. I calculated this data from a fascinating October press release from comScore which showed that Turkey has, to quote, “the third most engaged online audience in Europe.”  To investigate this claim I used the comScore data to work out the average pages viewed per hour in each country.  This is a straight forward division of the average pages viewed per hour by the average hours spent online in each country.  In the chart, I’ve ranked the results in order, left to right, from the lowest number of pages per hour to the highest.  If we use the assumption used in Web Analytics, fewer web pages viewed per hour means that the visitors are more engaged with the page content.  In order to provide some context to the European data, I’ve also calculated the world wide number of Web pages viewed per hour. The first interesting finding is that Europeans view more Web pages per hour than the global average, and they are also nearly 12% faster at viewing those Web pages than the global average.  This is around the figure that I would expect, as Europeans spent nearly 8% longer online during August compared to non- Europeans.  The world-wide-web (www) is very much a European baby. It was, as I’m sure most of you know, first conceived in 1989 at Cern on the French Swiss border by an Englishman, Sir Tim Berners Lee.   At this stage of the Web’s development the amount of time spent online per person per month is a pretty good indicator of Internet experience (i.e. the number of years, and how intensively, the person has been using the Internet).  In fact the more developed an Internet economy becomes, the more time is spent online.  Perhaps this explains why consumers in the United Kingdom spent an average of nearly 35 hours online in August, (more than anybody else in Europe), and two and a half times longer than consumers in Austria who spent an average of under 14 hours online, less than anybody else in Europe. If you look at the dark red graph line on the chart you can see the great variation in time spent online across Europe.  One might reasonably expect that the more years spent online the faster will be each Web page viewing, but is this so?  Given that comScore’s data was based on the month of August, my first thought was to analyse it for any seasonal effect.  For example, there is an obvious difference between the cooler climate in Northern Europe and the hotter climate in Southern Europe.  The data seems to indicate that this may be a factor, but it also paints a confusing picture:  You can see that the Italians basking in sun-drenched Southern Europe in August only spent 15.8 hours online that month, but in equally hot Spain people spent no less than 23.9 hours online. Why the difference? My second observation is how varied the number of web pages viewed per hour is throughout Europe.  In Spain they view 85 web pages per hour, while at the other end of the scale in Poland they view 116 web pages per hour.  So Polish consumers are viewing 36% more web pages per hour than Spanish consumers meaning that Poland’s actual “dwell time” per page or “on-page engagement” is about one third less than Spain’s.  Could this be a seasonal effect?  I don’t think this is likely because, after Spain, Norway, with its much cooler weather, has the slowest rate of viewing Web pages in Europe and Poland, which also has a Northern climate, has the fastest rate of viewing Web pages. What this data clearly shows is that the United Kingdom stands out as the most engaged Internet audience in Europe.  The British spend the longest time online. They view the most Web pages, 3,205 in a month and, at the same time, they spend longer on each Web page than every other European country except Spain and Norway.  As comScore claims, the Turks certainly spend the third longest time online per month but they also have the second fastest rate of viewing Web pages of any European country.  By using the metric of web pages viewed per hour all we can safely conclude is that the attention span given to each Web page in aggregate is much shorter in Turkey than elsewhere.  Only Poland has a faster rate of viewing Web pages.  Also, to answer my earlier thought, there appears to be no statistical relationship between the amount of time spent online and the rate that Web pages are viewed.  For the technically minded the Pearson R co-efficient between the two sets of figures is -0.22 which indicates a weak negative relationship.  I conclude that evaluating attention span (or online engagement) is a complex phenomenon but it does not seem to be related to the actual time spent online. November 2011
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