What is ‘Bounce Rate’ in Google Analytics?
The digital marketing space is constantly evolving, and yet, one term we never fail to hear is “Bounce Rate”. But what does bounce rate even mean? We’re here to break it down for you.
To utilize this metric effectively, we first have to understand what a ‘Bounce’ is. In the world of Google Analytics, a ‘Bounce’ is a single-page session in which the user leaves without triggering any requests to the Analytics server – put simply, a one-page visit without interactions. So, the bounce rate is the percentage of total sessions that were considered bounces. Makes sense, right? We like to think that a low bounce rate is great, because it implies that users are visiting pages of your site and engaging with your content. A high bounce rate implies that users didn’t connect with your content, because they bounced and left to go do something else without digging deeper into what you have to offer.
Bounce Rate Calculation: “Single-page session divided by all sessions”.
They say practice makes perfect, let’s get practical. Say, for instance, that you stumbled across this page while looking for the definition of bounce rate, read the first paragraph and leave without clicking on anything else – that’s a bounce. Our post answered your question, maybe sparked a few more, and you popped back to Google to continue the search and satisfy your thirst for knowledge. In short, this post did everything we were hoping it would do: answer your questions. So why is the metric being reported negatively? This is, in part, why the Bounce Rate metric is so controversial.
Give it to me straight: is the Bounce Rate important?
At LDM, we believe that the Bounce Rate can be a valuable metric, but it’s not more important than anything else. A bounce rate is valuable when placed in context with business goals, desired site interactions, and other analytics data.
A page with engaging information may have a high bounce rate. A less appealing page may have a lower bounce rate simply because the user happens to interact with the page in one way or another. The importance of bounce rate is entirely arbitrary, because the answer depends on your intentions for the page, your industry, and personal opinion. We recommend using the bounce rate as a guideline metric – it can be a great reflection of how your site is performing, but it should not cause any panic if the metric is not where you want it to be,
Ready for the twist? Bounce Rate can easily be lowered by Google Analytics events.
How can I lower my Bounce Rate?
Google Analytics offers us a variety of tools to measure performance. One method of quickly gathering engagement data is through Google Analytics events.
Google defines Events as “interactions with content that can be measured independently from a web-page”. These interactions can be page views, clicks, downloads, video plays, scroll tracking – just about anything you can think of.
What does this mean for the bounce rate? If you recall, a bounce occurs when a user leaves a single-page session without any interactions. Since events are user-defined, anyone managing the Google Analytics account can easily create events that would cancel a bounce (as long as the event’s is set to: ‘interactive). Time for some manipulation-magic:
We could create an interactive ‘pageview’ event on this blog post – coming to read our jaunty, snarky, yet educational content then leaving to apply your newfound knowledge would no longer be considered a bounce. Just being on this page would actively counteract every session’s bounce, whether or not you decide to take any other action (like checking out our culture or asking a question). We would have a 0% bounce rate on this post.
So, sure: you can decrease your bounce rate anytime you want. But your bounce rate and the metric will become meaningless.
Our advice? Be smart about what matters to your site, and don’t try to compare to other sites and businesses. When you create an interactive event, or if your agency is doing it for you, make sure it’s an important metric that demonstrates key user engagement and aligns with business goals. This will help your Bounce Rate be an accurate reflection of how users are actually engaging on the site. As a baseline, we set up Click, Form Submission, and Image view interactive-Events, as we feel that these are true forms of engagement on our sites.
What is a good Bounce Rate?
With all that you’ve learned, we hope that you can confidently say that there is no such thing as a ‘Good Bounce Rate’. There is no one true universal ideal Bounce Rate range, so focus on benchmarking your own bounce rate from page to page and month to month for analysis; and make sure that you’re setting a fair and reasonable list of interactive-Events. That, more than anything, will show if your digital marketing strategy efforts are paying off!