Want to Increase Revenue? Focus on Activity

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Slickstream publishers sometimes ask me why we use "activity time" as one of our key engagement metrics. The answer is easy. It is directly correlated to revenue -- and everyone wants to know how they can increase revenue.

First, let me explain what I mean by "activity time". This is the active time that a viewer spends on your site. Don't confuse this with session duration. That is a metric that you'll see in Google Analytics. But for a variety of reasons, it is a very poor measure of engagement. (Just think about someone who opens one of your pages and then goes out to lunch while leaving that page open in their browser.)

Activity time, as we define it, tells us how much time a viewer is really reading and interacting with your site. If you use Slickstream and you're wondering how we measure this, we monitor every scroll and click from every user on every pageview on your site. Any 10 second interval in which the viewer is active is added to their activity time. (When they go to lunch, that will all count as zero.)

Okay. Now you know what I'm talking about. But does it matter?

Yes! Here's my proof. We pulled all of the data from one of our larger sites for a full week starting 11/17/2019. We are able to use header bidding data to give us an estimate of the amount of revenue being generated within each pageview. Then we placed each viewer into a bin based on that viewer's total activity time on the site during that week. Here's what we found:


RPM vs. Activity


As you can see, the more active time a viewer spends on your site, the more revenue you make! That makes sense because active users will tend to see more ads, and that will naturally lead to more revenue.

You might be wondering if this is really just because viewers who have more activity are consuming more pages and these additional pageviews are leading to more revenue. So we tested that theory. We took the same data, and focused only on viewers who had a single pageview during the week. (We ignored those who never engaged at all.)


Single-Page RPM vs. Activity


Sure enough! Those single-page viewers generate more and more revenue as they stay longer -- even if they never click through to another page on your site.

So don't trust someone who tells you that SEO is all that matters. Engagement also plays a huge role in determining your total revenue. The data proves it.

Engage your visitors. They'll be happier and you'll make more money.

You might also be interested in reading about how bounces affect revenue.