Turning Visitors Into Leads

Chip Kelly Wouldn’t Like Average Time on Site Either

Eli Robinson
Thursday, November 13 2014

Chip Kelly

Chip Kelly, the current coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, is one of this generation’s great football innovators. Starting with his college coaching days at New Hampshire and then the University of Oregon, Kelly’s offenses were all about speed.

Whether it is Dennis Dixon or Nick Foles, Kelly challenges the leaders of his offenses to simply play faster and faster and faster. So much so that Kelly’s offenses continually ranked at the bottom of the FBS’s rankings in terms of time of possession, historically one of the most important statistics in evaluating a team’s offensive prowess.

When asked about time of possession back in 2013, Kelly said:

“I consider plays run and points scored. I don’t think—I would argue that against anybody. It doesn’t matter how long you have the ball, what matters is what are you doing and your production with the plays you run.  I think it would be silly for us to say don’t throw the ball deep down the field to Riley [Cooper] or DeSean [Jackson] and score touchdowns because you want to milk the clock. The object of the game, offensively, is to score points and the object of the game, defensively, is to stop teams from scoring points.”

Translated into internet speak, Kelly would call time of possession a “vanity metric” – numbers described by Eric Ries in an Harvard Business Review article as “numbers which look good on paper but aren’t action oriented.”

In other words, a vanity metric is a stat that is nothing more than trivial as it doesn’t have anything to do with positive or negative outcomes.


Well, it turns out that we have our own version of time of possession in franchise lead generation, average time on site. The calculation looks something like this:

Total duration of all sessions (in seconds) / number of sessions

Clock on ComputerThe reason that some internet marketers keep a close eye on this stat is that it’s a proxy for engagement. They would argue that the longer that the average user stays on your site, the more engaged they are with the content you are providing.

However, if I were to translate Chip Kelly’s quote, “I don’t think—I would argue that against anybody. It doesn’t matter how long you have the ball, what matters is what are you doing and your production with the plays you run” into an argument against average time on site, it’d look something like:

“I don’t think—I would argue that against anybody. It doesn’t matter how long users are on your site, what matters is what are they do and your production with the actions they take.

Franchise lead generation is about getting users interested in opening one of you locations, not being voyeurs on your website. If you find that a higher average time on site leads to more conversions, then NOW WE’RE TALKING. But if you’re simply trying to keep people’s attention for no reason, then you’re ultimately going to be disappointed with the outcomes.

If you want to have a conversation about raising your conversion rate rather than your average time on site, let’s chat.