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Optimizing A Flash Site


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12 replies to this topic

#1 Nataliya

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 09:22 PM

I have recently built a few websites using Flash and I have noticed a huge difference in my Analytics reports. For an average site not build in Flash my bounce rate is about 30% and for a Flash website it is about 90%. I am not to concerned about the site's performance as a website because looking at the average time on site I can see that people are still spending a good amount time on it. But I am concerned about SEO and that Google might think that the site is under performing.

Does anyone have any suggestions, tips or tricks to deal with this issue?

#2 Jill

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 09:30 PM

Don't worry about your bounce rate in terms of SEO. Worry about it in the fact that it means your users aren't finding what they're looking for.

#3 Yoshimi

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 03:53 AM

QUOTE(Nataliya @ Mar 24 2009, 02:22 AM) View Post
For an average site not build in Flash my bounce rate is about 30% and for a Flash website it is about 90%. I am not to concerned about the site's performance


This statement shocked me, what you are saying is that people will look at lost of pages for a html site but when it's flash they will only look at one, you then go on to say that people spend lots of time on a flash site, but don't seem to have considered the reasons why...people find flash sites harder to use, they are often stuck due to not having the right software installed, or due to high load times. Flash sites often have poor navigation (not necessarily structurally but in that links aren't always as clear as they are in HTML) and they are not as accessible as they otherwise could be (remember flash is one big image)



#4 Jill

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 09:00 AM

Actually, now that I think of it if the site is made up of only an embedded flash presentation, it will appear as if it only has one page since the URLs will not change. Which would account for what looks to be a high bounce rate.

#5 Yoshimi

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 09:53 AM

QUOTE(Jill @ Mar 24 2009, 02:00 PM) View Post
Actually, now that I think of it if the site is made up of only an embedded flash presentation, it will appear as if it only has one page since the URLs will not change. Which would account for what looks to be a high bounce rate.


In that scenario though Jill, the OP is essentially blind when it comes to what visitors are doing on her site, so if you have accounted for the bounce rate stat, there is still no way to determine if users are getting to the right place, and if that were the case wouldn't there be a 100% bounce rate (where would the other 10% of customers be going if there is only 1 URL for the site?)

#6 Nataliya

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 10:01 AM

For some reason my other replies didn't post here and now I can't find the, Oops.

I think that bounce rate depends not only on how many pages were visited but also on the time spent on the site, I've noticed that the more time someone spends on the site the lower the ounce rate.

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#7 Gerry White

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 10:24 AM

so your not tracking within the flash ?

Ah....

its quite easy to do and then you will see what your bounce rate is ... When it comes to Flash - bounce is easy to mis-interpret...

#8 Nataliya

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 11:06 AM

QUOTE(Gerry White @ Mar 24 2009, 11:24 AM) View Post
so your not tracking within the flash ?

Ah....

its quite easy to do and then you will see what your bounce rate is ... When it comes to Flash - bounce is easy to mis-interpret...

how would I track it inside of Flash?

#9 Jill

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 11:28 AM

QUOTE
I think that bounce rate depends not only on how many pages were visited but also on the time spent on the site,


No, that is incorrect.

Bounce rate means all those visitors who only visited one page (the one they landed on) and never clicked elsewhere within your site.

No way to measure how long they actually stayed on that one page, that I know of.

#10 Nataliya

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 11:40 AM

Google Analytics shows me how long they stayed on the site, of course there is no way to know exactly on which page cause it's all under the same URL ie index.html page. If I segment a page it also shows me the average time spent on that particular page.

#11 Jill

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 01:51 PM

But if they are only at one page, how can GA know hfor how long? Someone has to click something to register as time on the site. Although, I do think they can tell if the browser is still open to that page, which may be where you're getting that number from.

#12 Randy

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 04:41 PM

ahh, the old time on site and time on page conundrum. Gotta love it!

Nataliya, I assume all of your questions revolve around Google Analytics, so I'm going to stick to how they calculate things. There are other ways to do it (say for instance with a javascript driven timed callback) but to my knowledge this is how GoAn calculates things. They're all intertwined (Time on Site, Time on Page and Bounce Rate) which is why it can get really screwy.

Basically GoAn sets a timestamp when someone first hits a page. So say for instance someone hit your flash index page at 11:03:00. If and when that person moves on to another page another timestamp is set. So say for instance this movement took place at 11:04:22. The math for time on page (one) works out like:

11:04:22 - 11:03:00 = 1 minute and 22 seconds.

That's all well and good. And the process continues as long as the visitor then moves on to a Page 3 visit, where another timestamp gets set.

The problem though, as you've noted, is that GoAn simply can't get the time spent on the last page a visitor visits. There is no trigger to set the final timestamp. So in GoAn's view that last page visited ends up being 0 seconds, even though technically it's an Unknown value instead of 0. Meaning someone could spend 5 minutes reading the last page and it would still register as a 0 value.

It's a conundrum for sure. The opposite would be true if they tried to give the Last Page Visited some sort of arbitrary value, or even a value of the average of that visitor session. No matter what you do it would be wrong. It would even be wrong if you had some sort of callback feature built into your analytics tool because if someone left their browser window open but wasn't actually viewing the page the Time on Page and Time on Site would be grossly over estimated.

And then you get into the whole question of what happens if a group of people visit your site and have cookies disabled, since this timestamp information is saved to a Google Analytics cookie.

And of course we also have your situation where the first page hit is the only page being hit a significant percentage of the time. With no second click this is the last page visited, so the actual time on page and time on site is an Unknown.

Then if you want to add to the confusion consider that Google has changed the way Analytics calculates these values a couple of times. At one time everything went into the hopper, including single page visits that they showed as 0 second visits. Then they removed those from the math, basically turning Time on Page and Time On Site into metrics for interested visitors that saw two or more pages. But then some people got riled up by the changes and Google changed it back. The whole fiasco created and continues to create a lot of uncertainty.

At the end of the day about all I can tell you is you shouldn't put too much stock in Time on Page, Time on Site or even the Bounce Rate for that matter. They're all open to significant skew, given the right circumstances. So a grain of salt approach is most definitely called for.

#13 Nataliya

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Posted 31 March 2009 - 01:29 PM

Awesome, thanks for the explanation.





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