Is there a technical word to reference the total time a user spends on a website in one session? Something like "Time-on-Site (TOS)"?

  • 2
    Google Analytics provides a "Time on Site" report. The report lists the average time that website visitors remain on your site. That's probably as technical a term as you need. It's also quite interchangeable with "Length of Visit" or "Length of Stay".
    – rlsaj
    Sep 22, 2011 at 1:16
  • 5
    Using TOS as an acronym is not likely to be a good idea; it'll be generally recognised as "Terms of Service". Sep 22, 2011 at 4:03
  • I'd go with TS, there. Now everyone, use it.
    – andrewk
    Jan 11, 2013 at 18:20

4 Answers 4


As Jaslr's, Chris' and Todd's answers point out, the best word differs in different contexts. Answer these questions to help us sharpen our answers: What are you measuring, exactly? Articulating this may point to the best term. Why are you measuring that? What's your larger purpose? Again, looking for the root purpose, meaning or intention behind your question. Who is your audience when using this term? Unless your case is to teach, figure out what term would be most clear to your audience.

So, no, not really. Observing and measuring users is not scientific, not precise and so there is no single convention. If I had to pick one, "session" because its plain and in common use amoung developers and usability pros.


It's often called a 'session' or 'session length', though the exact meaning can differ depending on who you talk to.

In some cases a session will refer to the period of time before a person has to sign in again, where for other people it lasts as long as someone has the window open and is on the site, and that a new session starts as soon as you leave/close the window and come back.

If in doubt, 'time on site' or 'length of visit' seem very clear to me and won't get you into trouble.

  • I agree with this. Using clear, human, natural language over technical is preferable as more people will be able to understand it. Jan 11, 2013 at 17:34

Apart form the suggestions made so far, one term that I like is duration of visit or length of visit.

To me, it feels less technical and more something that actual humans do - visit websites.

If you have a specific audience, use the term they are familiar with, though. For people familiar with google analytics, that would be Visit Duration, and Avg. Visit Duration respectively.


it is called stickiness. it is an advertising term for websites.

  • 2
    Any references you may have?
    – Mohit
    Jan 11, 2013 at 17:33
  • en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sticky_content seems more of a fit for things that make users return - Id say stickiness is a valid term, but its really vague if you ask me.
    – Nrgdallas
    Jan 11, 2013 at 18:39
  • I agree with @Nrgdallas. Stickiness is a larger, subjective concept and distinctly different than the objective measurement of the time on site. Jan 11, 2013 at 18:40
  • I think this answer could need some expanding. What makes you think it is called like that? Any articles, services, references that call it like that?
    – kontur
    Jan 11, 2013 at 20:53

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