How To Track and Use Pages Per Visit: GA4 Guide

Wondering how to keep your website visitors engaged and exploring for longer?

Look no further than pages per visit (PPV), a web analytics metric to measure the average number of web pages users interact with per session.

Sometimes known as pages per session, it’s an important metric that indicates how well your website captivates its target audience.

But monitoring PPV is just the beginning.

To dig deeper, you should understand how to use PPV data with other key metrics. Then you can unlock valuable insights into user behavior, website traffic quality, and your content’s effectiveness.

Have questions?
We’ve got answers.

This Article Contains

Let’s begin!

How to Measure Pages Per Visit with a Simple Formula + Tool

Before diving into the PPV formula, let’s get familiar with two key terms:

  • Total page views: This metric reflects the overall number of web pages viewed. Whenever users visit and load (or reload) specific web pages, it counts as a page view. Total page views include all page views, whether by individual visitors or multiple users.
  • Total visits: This metric represents overall website sessions, including new and returning website visitors, regardless of pages viewed. It measures the volume and frequency of user engagement.

Note: “Total visits” isn’t the same as total unique visitors (TUV). TUV reflects the number of individual visitors interacting with your site.

To calculate PPV properly, you shouldn’t count individual visits. 
Use the total number of visits. 

The formula is:

PPV = Total no. of pageviews / Total no. of visits

Now, let’s work through the formula for calculating PPV.

Let’s say your website gets 500 total visits in a month, and the total number of page views is 1,000. Then, your PPV would be:

PPV = 1,000 / 500 = 2

Note: Remember to look at the average PPV for each channel (i.e., organic and paid search) to gauge how they impact user engagement.

Can’t you just find PPV in Google Analytics?
Nope, it’s gone!

It was available on Universal Analytics, but Google Analytics 4 (GA4) has ditched the ol’ pages per session metric.

Google believes other metrics align more closely with its vision of a user-centric digital landscape — more on that later.

However, if understanding PPV provides crucial insight into your website analysis, fear not!

There is still a way to still track it in GA4.

How to Build a Custom Dimension for PPV in Google Analytics 4

While GA4 doesn’t offer PPV as a built-in metric, you can set up custom dimensions to track it. 

You can do so by following these steps:

Step 1: Navigate to Admin on the bottom left side of your Google Analytics dashboard.

Step 2: Ensure you’re on the right property and select Custom definitions.

Step 3: Click Create custom dimension.

Step 4: Name this custom dimension something clear, like ‘Pages per Visit’. Under Scope, select User. Under User property, enter the parameter pages_per_visit.

Double-check that you’ve entered these details correctly, then click save.

Note: While you can always change the dimension name later, you can’t change the scope or user property.

Once you set up your custom dimension, you can leverage the Analysis Hub, Exploration report or create custom reports to analyze and visualize PPV rates.

So you’re good to go, right?
Well, not exactly.

Imagine GA4’s custom dimension as your trusty storage shed. It provides a convenient place to store your precious PPV data, but it won’t do the tracking and calculation for you. That’s a little beyond the standard GA4 functionality.

Tracking PPV on apps gets even more complicated since you can’t rely on cookies like with web-based analytics.

For accurate and automated reporting, you’ll need some custom development or scripting magic. Whether you’re tracking by desktop or mobile device, we recommend consulting a skilled developer to ensure proper implementation of the tracking logic.

This way, you can have precise and reliable visitor data regardless of the platform.

… Is tracking PPV even worth the effort?

Let’s find out!

Is Pages Per Visit Still An Important Metric?

As GA4 has shifted to a more user-centric approach, the pages per session metric might seem like a relic of the past.

Instead of PPV, GA4 focuses on alternative metrics, like:

  • Engagement rate: A metric that measures how actively users interact with certain content or platforms, usually represented as a percentage.
  • Screen views per session: These reflect the total number of screens a person views in a single session, regardless of whether they are different pages or repeated views of the same page.
  • Average engagement time: Represents the average timespan users spend actively interacting with your site on a desktop or mobile device (e.g., watching videos, reading articles, or browsing).

Like PPV, these metrics give you insight into your content’s performance and what interests users.

So what sets them apart?
Well, these metrics provide crucial additional context. For example, average engagement time helps you see whether users actively engage with your website or just have your page open in another tab.

However, monitoring PPV still has its merits. It can help you with:

  • Content quality and relevance: Analyzing the number of pages a person visits within a single session helps you see what resonates with them and holds their attention. This can guide your search engine optimization and marketing efforts.
  • Website design and navigation structure: By analyzing the sequence of pages viewed, you can identify patterns in user behavior, popular pathways, and potential bottlenecks.

    This knowledge allows you to improve website navigation, layout, and overall user flow.
  • Traffic source analysis: You can segment PPV based on each ad campaign or traffic channel (i.e., organic search, paid advertising, social media, or referral traffic).

    Assessing which sources drive more views, clicks, and engaged visitors helps you to allocate resources more effectively and optimize your marketing efforts accordingly.
  • Conversion rates: A higher PPV often ties in with more conversions. The more pages a potential customer explores, the more opportunities they have to engage with CTAs (calls to action).

    This ultimately increases signups, purchases, or other desired actions.

For these reasons, PPV might still have a role to play as part of your web analytics strategy.
So how can we put this valuable data to work?

We’re glad you asked!

How to Use PPV Data to Enhance User Engagement

Here are actionable strategies to help you maximize your PPV insights:

  • Optimize your content: Pages with high visit rates are good indicators of what your users enjoy. Use this insight to enhance keyword research, improve existing pages, and create new engaging posts that encourage further exploration.
  • Improve website navigation: Low PPV rates can suggest potential issues with certain pages, such as difficult-to-find links or confusing menus. You can identify issues via A/B testing or feedback forms to improve user experience.
  • Refine your internal linking strategy: Identify pages that serve as entry or exit points for a visitor. Add relevant links within these pages that guide users to valuable pages (e.g., a pricing or landing page).
  • Analyze each important traffic source: Evaluate the quality of website traffic driven by different ads, campaigns, organic search, etc.

    From this, you can see which sources generate higher engagement and conversions and capitalize on that success.
  • Score your best leads: A high PPV indicates that the people who have visited your site have good reasons to stick with it. Spot a potential customer who might be a good fit so your digital marketing teams can initiate them into the company’s sales funnel.
  • Conduct a conversion funnel analysis: Understand where website visitors drop off in the sales funnel by tracking key conversion metrics for each stage. You can pinpoint and optimize specific steps where a potential customer isn’t progressing as desired.

By implementing these techniques based on PPV insights, a website owner can enhance their content’s performance, optimize the user experience, increase conversions, and drive overall business success.

But the work’s not done yet.

Businesses should consider multiple metrics to gain a complete picture of user behavior and website performance. 

We’ll also highlight two other metrics you should track for a more comprehensive web analytics strategy.

The Relationship Between PPV and Other Critical Metrics

Here are some related metrics every website owner can use to sharpen PPV analysis:

  • Engagement Rate: Usually, you can calculate this metric by considering valuable interactions like likes, shares, or comments.

    It’s important to note that you can measure engagement for various industries and platforms in various ways. For simplicity’s sake, let’s focus on the engagement rate for B2B websites or apps.

    First, you’ll need to know who your monthly active users (MAU) are. MAU refers to unique visitors who perform specific actions with your product, website, or mobile app within a month.

    These actions might include submitting forms, interacting with specific features, or downloading e-books.
  • Formula: Total no. of MAU / Total no. of downloads * 100
  • How often to measure: It may be beneficial to assess rates daily or weekly on social media platforms. However, you can track engagement rates for certain posts or pages on a monthly or campaign-specific basis.
  • Benchmark: A good engagement rate estimation for B2B websites is around 63% or more.
  • Application: A higher PPV usually means higher engagement rates — but not always. For instance, pages may have a high PPV and low engagement rate, indicating opportunities for content quality improvement.
  • Bounce Rate: Bounce rate is the percentage of users who leave your site after viewing one page.
  • Formula: Total no. of single–page visits / Total no. of visits
  • How often to measure: You can measure bounce rates weekly or monthly.
  • Benchmark: According to Semrush, the average bounce rate is 26-70%, although these figures vary by industry, page type, and traffic source. For example, a healthy bounce rate for B2B websites is anything below 55%.
  • Application: PPV and bounce rate have an inverse relationship. A higher PPV usually means lower bounce rates because visitors explore and engage with multiple pages.
  • Time on site: Time on site is the total time individual visitors spend navigating your website.
  • Formula: Total time spent on your site / Total number of visits
  • How often to measure: You can measure time on site monthly or quarterly.
  • Benchmark: The Contentsquare 2023 Digital Experience Benchmark report analyzed over 35 billion sessions. They found that, in 2022, the average time spent on page in the software industry was 3.5 minutes.
  • Application: Higher PPV often correlates with longer session durations. A visitor exploring multiple pages suggests they’re sticking around and spending more time engaging with your website.

Still got questions?

Let’s clear up any doubts and get you up to speed.

Demystifying Pages Per Session: Answering Your Top 4 FAQs

1. What Are Some Strategies to Improve PPV?

Here’s a brief look at some methods you can use to drive PPV:

  • Optimize your mobile app or web pages for faster load speeds.
  • Make your platform user-friendly and simplify navigation as much as possible.
  • Conduct keyword research to discover every relevant keyword for search engine optimization.
  • Create well-written copy (without keyword stuffing) that inspires a person to keep reading.
  • Place relevant internal links within web pages that lead to other interesting or related pages.
  • Personalize the user experience with tailored suggestions based on visited pages, such as related articles or “You may also like” sections.
  • Implement visually appealing design elements (e.g., arrows, buttons, or banners) and clear calls-to-action (CTAs) to encourage a visitor to explore further.

2. Why Does Your Site Have a High Number of Page Visits?

A higher-than-normal PPV rate isn’t always good and might occur due to several reasons. 

For example, some e-commerce sites use fancy tricks like automated content loading to make everything smooth and get you to visit multiple pages in a single session.

But here’s the thing, sometimes, those fancy tricks can backfire, pushing users to click through more pages to find what they’re looking for.

Factors like intrusive pop-up ads or complex website structure can also push users to visit more pages out of confusion or frustration rather than interest.

So, gathering feedback and monitoring metrics like bounce rate and time on site is essential. A high number of page visits, combined with a high bounce rate or shorter time on site, indicates underlying issues rather than genuine enthusiasm.

3. How Often Should You Track PPV?

The frequency depends on:

  • Traffic volume
  • Business size
  • Resource availability
  • Website changes or updates 

For example, small and medium-sized businesses with low or moderate traffic can track PPV weekly.

However, as a website owner, you’ll want to track PPV more frequently (almost daily) if your company is:

  • Running a new ad campaign
  • Launching new features
  • Making significant content changes
  • Receiving a higher volume of traffic

In this case, your support team manager can closely monitor the daily or weekly statistics and flag any potential downward trends.

4. What Is a Good PPV Benchmark?

In 2022, the average PPV was 2.6.

But what does a high number look like?
If you’re getting a PPV higher than 4.0, you can rest assured that your site keeps people engaged.

Still, it’s not just about getting lots of clicks. It’s about guiding your target audience to your most important pages (e.g., a high-converting landing page).

Unlock the Power of PPV to Drive Engagement, Conversion, & Digital Success

The pages per session metric provides valuable insight into your users, marketing efforts, and website performance.

So, by keeping an eye on PPV rates and jazzing up your website, you can capture your target audience and create an awesome user experience.

And there’s a secret weapon to engaging users: Effective SEO and keyword research.

Contact a specialist at Startup Voyager to create powerful conversion-driven content and keep your visitors exploring!

About the author

Startup Voyager is a content and SEO agency helping startups in North America and Europe acquire customers with organic traffic. Our founders have appeared in top publications like Entrepreneur, Fast Company, Inc, Huffpost, Lifehacker, etc.