Analysing Parallel and Passive Web Browsing Behavior and its Effects on Website Metrics

Abstract

Getting deeper insights into the online browsing behavior of Web users has been a major research topic since the advent of the WWW. It provides useful information to optimize website design, Web browser design, search engines offerings, and online advertisement. We argue that new technologies and new services continue to have significant effects on the way how people browse the Web. For example, listening to music clips on YOUTUBE or to a radio station on LAST.FM does not require users to sit in front of their computer. Social media and networking sites like FACEBOOK or micro-blogging sites like TWITTER have attracted new types of users that previously were less inclined to go online. These changes in how people browse the Web feature new characteristics which are not well understood so far. In this paper, we provide novel and unique insights by presenting first results of DOBBS, our long-term effort to create a comprehensive and representative dataset capturing online user behavior. We firstly investigate the concepts of parallel browsing and passive browsing, showing that browsing the Web is no longer a dedicated task for many users. Based on these results, we then analyze their impact on the calculation of a user’s dwell time – i.e., the time the user spends on a webpage – which has become an important metric to quantify the popularity of websites.

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