4 Elements About Bounce Rate For Google Analytics
Where page views is a simple count of how many pages were viewed, Bounce Rates are actually a calculation.
Let’s us understand what actually bounce rate mean: Bounce Rate is the percentage of single-page sessions (i.e. sessions in which the person left your site from the entrance page without interacting with the page).
Bounce Rates measures the number of people that arrive on your site, hit a page, and then leave. To make that definition more accurate, we just have to change one word.
Bounce Rate is the percentage of single-INTERACTION sessions (i.e. sessions in which the person left your site from the entrance page without interacting with the page).
Let’s see some facts about Bounce Rates for Google analytics:
1. Interactions Affect Bounce Rate
With the most simple, default implementation of Google Analytics, we’re only tracking page views. However, there are other things that can be tracked – like Events and Virtual Page views. This will also affect the Bounce Rate, as they’re indications of a second interaction.
Often, we use events to track user-initiated actions on the page like scrolling, video plays, form fields, or download. Unless specifically configured not to count as an interaction, these will all affect your Bounce Rate which sometimes is ok.
2. Bounce Rate is Personal to You
Here is a very important takeaway. You get to decide whether Events on your website count as interactions or not, and so you have the power to decide what should be bounce and what should not be a bounce.
At the heart of Bounce Rate is a perceived negative experience. What we’re trying to quantify with Bounce Rate is the following: Someone arrives at your site and doesn’t do anything.
By default, that negative action is that they didn’t visit a second page. You get to decide if that should be different.
Remember that the Bounce Rate measurement inside of Google Analytics is not affecting your search engine rankings in anyway. This is a number that is meant for you and your analysis.
3. Changing Behavior vs. Measurement
Keep in mind, Bounce Rate is a measurement. Most articles you read about decreasing Bounce Rate are actually talking about changing what is tracked, or more importantly, changing the definition of Bounce Rate. This is much different than changing the behavior of the people coming to your site.
By adding interaction Events, you’re moving people from the Bounce category (single interaction) to the engaged user’s category (multiple interactions).
It hasn’t changed how users interact with a site, people aren’t necessarily staying longer or diving deeper, it’s just clarifying what we consider to be a Bounce, which is still a valuable exercise.
4. The More Specific, the Better
Let’s think about when Bounce Rate is important to use for analysis. Since the Audience Overview is the default report, it’s one of the first things that people see when they log into Google Analytics.
This particular measurement is showing us the site-wide Bounce Rate. If we take a good look at the content on a site, does it all fit into the same category? Clearly user behavior is going to be different on each section of the site, so averaging all of it together into a single number doesn’t really tell us much.
Rather, try looking at Bounce Rate in granular reports. Use Advanced Segments to narrow your website to a specific category of pages, and see how they’re performing vs. other sections.
Take a look at your Landing Pages report and look at the Bounce Rate on specific pages. If you have 5 landing pages that you’re sending traffic to, and if your goal is to get them to visit another page, then focus on the one with the worst Bounce Rate.
Take a look at your Channels report or your Campaigns report. If you’re sending traffic to your site, which ones are getting users to stay longer or indicate that they’re engaged in some way?
So that’s it! There’s no magic number you have to hit, you aren’t being judged by the Google Analytics for your poor performing site.
Remember to make it personal to you and to make sure you understand how it’s being tracked. Compare against yourself and make educated decisions if you decide to alter the way you measure engagement on your site.
Once you agree on the measurement, and then start tackling the user experience. Focus on pages that perform poorly and cut out traffic segments that seem disinterested.