Google Analytics is a general purpose analytics platform that is extremely powerful. However, out of the box there are a few shortcomings that Matcha sought to address with our own Insights framework.
First, Google Analytics can only measure pages on your website. Because we gather analytics from many sources, we are able to track performance on social, on your site, and on sites you have syndicated content.
Each piece of content has a small snippet of code that enables the Matcha app to gather analytics.
There are three metrics that are measured in the app and are worth covering.
Time on page
Google Analytics measure time on page only if a user visits an additional page after the page in question. It subtracts the timestamp a user leaves the page from the timestamp a user arrives on the page. Because of this limitation, Google Analytics reports many users spending 0 seconds on pages.
Adjusted Bounce Rate
Out of the box, Google Analytics measures bounce rate as a visitor that goes to more than one page in a single session (1 view). GA measures average session duration by measuring the difference. If a user does not go to a second page, an exit event is not triggered, and GA attributes 0 seconds to that visit.
In Matcha, a reader is anyone that spends 15 seconds or more on an article, so Matcha defines a “bounce” as a user that spends less than 15 seconds on a site.
Google’s definition of a bounce, while valid and also tracked in the Matcha app, is a poor indicator of which content in Matcha is useful and engaging.
Matcha measures engagement rate as the percentage of visitors that spend more than 15 seconds on the content page (readers). Matcha measures average reader time as the amount of time a visitor spends on the content page.
Matcha is able to be more literal with those terms than GA because we use a page ping (which pulses every 10 seconds), therefore we don’t rely on an exit event during the session to calculate either metric.
For these reasons, it’s not unexpected to see a high bounce rate and low average session duration in Google Analytics even when content is performing well. You can read more about the specifics of Matcha Insights here.
Out of the box, Google is not able to measure scroll depth. Matcha uses in-page events to track exactly how far a user has traveled down a content page.