Reporter Browse Time: What is it and how is it calculated?

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Article ID: 170919

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Updated On:

Products

Reporter-S500 Reporter-VA

Issue/Introduction

What is browse time and how does Reporter calculate it?

Resolution

Some reports provide a datapoint called Browse Time. The intention of this statistic is to estimate how long a user spends browsing a particular website or category of a website.

Reporter calculates this by matching each source IP address and each user in the logs with a website. After a match occurs, Reporter tracks the activity of each user as seen in the access logs.

As Reporter processes each log line in each log file, it finds and adds up browse time for each client IP address. If Reporter determines a request is a page view, the transaction is assigned 30 seconds of browse time. However, if another page view is discovered within 30 seconds in the Page View Combiner (PVC) cache time window (10 seconds by default), Reporter subtracts the time of the previous page view from the next and counts the result. If the next page view occurs more than 30 seconds after the previous page view, the previous page view remains 30 seconds.

Reporter calculates browse time in real time during log processing. Furthermore, Reporter can only subtract the time difference from the last page view if it still exists in the PVC cache. For example, if a Reporter administrator sets the default browse time to 60 seconds per page and leaves the PVC cache time windows to 10, the 60 second value applies by default unless another page view is found for the same client IP address and user agent within the 30 second PVC window. Therefore, you could have pages with anywhere between zero and 30 seconds or 60 seconds of browse time. Typically, the default browse time is set to 30 seconds by default, which means all pages have a browse time from zero to 30 seconds, but never more.

Keep in mind that browse time has always been a best effort "guess" as to how long a user was browsing the web. Because http is not a persistent connection, there is no accurate way to calculate browse time.

In order for us to attempt to calculate browse time, we have to first determine that there was an actual page view. For this to happen, the following criteria must be met:

  • The request must be HTTP.  Reporter cannot calculate browse time on HTTPS sites.
  • The "sc-status" log field is "200"
  • content type is "text/html"
  • The verdict does not begin with the string "Denied"
  • The "sc-filter-category" log field is not "Web Advertisements" or "Non-viewable".