Bounce Rate Google Analytics: Complete Guide

The Bounce Rate is one of the most complex and misunderstood metrics from Google Analytics. At the same time, it is one of the most useful metrics, as it allows you to effectively measure the quality of a website’s traffic and the quality of its landing pages. Let’s find out everything there is to know about it.

  • What is Bounce Rate: Definition
  • How does Google Analytics calculate bounce rate?
  • Is there an optimal Bounce Rate?
  • How to analyze the bounce rate?
  • What is a good Bounce Rate?
  • How to Lower the Adjusted Bounce Rate
  • How to improve your bounce rate
    1. Create landing pages that satisfy users’ search intent
    2. Insert clear and consistent call to action on the landing page
    3. Identify the acquisition channels and campaigns that bring low quality traffic
    4. Create the need to further navigate your site
  • Conclusions

1. What is Bounce Rate: Definition

The Bounce Rate in Google Analytics is a metric that represents the percentage of sessions on a single page in which there have been no interactions with the page itself.

Explained in a simpler way, it means: the percentage of visits to a single page in which the user, once landed, leaves your site without navigating to other pages or without interacting with the page on which he landed (for example without making events).


2. How does Google Analytics calculate bounce rate?

Google Analytics calculates both the bounce rate of a single web page and at the level of the entire site, there are therefore two types:

Bounce rate of a web page = total number of bounces on a single page (in a given period of time) / total number of hits on the page (in the same period of time).

Bounce rate of a website = total number of bounces on all pages of the site (in a given period of time) / total number of hits on all pages of the site (in the same period of time).

The term Rebounds means: the number of visits to a page that produced a single GIF request to the Google Analytics servers.

The term Accesses means: the number of times visitors have entered your site through a page.

Practical example: a specific page of our site has registered 1000 hits of which 500 are bounces.

The Bounce Rate of this page will be calculated as follows: (Bounces / Hits) * 100 = (500/1000) * 100 = 50%.


3. Is there an optimal Bounce Rate?

Bounce rate can be terribly misleading if you don’t know how to interpret it.

high bounce rate is not always negative, while a very low bounce rate can sometimes be negative.

For example, it is common for blogs to have a high bounce rate, as users reading the blog post tend to leave the site once their informational goal has been reached (especially in the case of articles dealing with complex or technical topics).

In these cases, even high values ​​should not cause concern.

A different situation, however, is the low bounce rate on an e-commerce site. In this case, by way of example, it may mean that:

  1. Users do not find the products they are looking for and therefore do not continue with the purchase process.
  2. The user experience is not very gratifying, to allow users to continue browsing.
  3. Web marketing campaigns bring traffic that is not relevant to the products on sale.

If, on the other hand, the bounce rate of your site is very low, for example with a value around 10%, it could depend on some problem with the implementation of the tracking code or some other technical problem of the site for which more than one is carried out GIF request in a single session and therefore Google Analytics does not consider these visits as bounces.

0% bounce rate ensures that we have a glitch or a problem in the tracking code, as it is statistically unlikely.

Therefore, a low value does not always equate to good, just as a high value does not always equate to negative.


4. How to analyze the bounce rate?

First you need to segment the bounce rate for each traffic acquisition channel. The questions you should ask yourself are:

  1. What is the bounce rate of traffic from the SEO campaign?
  2. What is the bounce rate of traffic from AdWords campaigns?
  3. What is the bounce rate of traffic from Newsletter campaigns?

Also, whenever you analyze the bounce rate of any traffic channel, you need to focus on these aspects:

User intent / behavior: that is how users usually interact with your site and how it should be navigated according to its final purpose.

Negative example: If your landing page doesn’t match the visitor’s query, the chances are high that it will bounce once they land, as they didn’t find what they were looking for and therefore their search intent is not met.

Positive example: If your landing page meets the visitor’s query, they may still leave the site if they are not given another reason to continue browsing.

It is the typical example of a page that contains all the information on a topic: the user learns what he was looking for and leaves the page.

Even in this positive case, a bounce will still be recorded since the user does not browse other pages of the site.

Type of site: different types of sites have very different bounce rates.

For example, if your website is a “single page website” so it only has one page, your bounce rate will always be 100%.

Landing page quality: the bounce rate will be high if your landing page is not graphically well aligned, if it is full of advertisements, if it has a lot of text, if it does not contain a clear “call to action” action).

Type of traffic: If you receive traffic on your site that is not relevant to the topics you are dealing with, the bounce rate will be high.

Acquisition Channels: The different traffic acquisition channels tend to have quite different bounce rates.

For example, the bounce rate of traffic from social media is generally higher than that from organic traffic.

User type: As a rule, new visitors tend to bounce more than returning visitors who are familiar with your site.

Device Category: Bounce rate may vary from device to device.

For example, if your website isn’t mobile-friendly, mobile traffic will have a higher bounce rate than desktop traffic.


5. What is a good Bounce Rate?

The bounce rate therefore depends on many factors: the user’s intent, the type of visitor, the type of site, the business, the type of landing pages and the device, so it is impossible to label a bounce rate as low. , medium or high, without an in-depth analysis of the data, nor can there be an ideal a priori bounce rate.

Consequently a question like: “Does the bounce rate have to be high or low?” it makes no sense if it is not first contextualized in a specific case.

In general, a bounce rate below 30% can be considered good or otherwise acceptable, while above 50% will need consideration, as it could mean that we are acquiring poor quality traffic, or that the entry pages to your site are few. relevant to our visitors or out of target to what visitors are looking for or expect to find.

If the landing page is not relevant to your visitors, either because the subject matter is out of target with respect to your target audience, or because it is not treated correctly, you cannot expect any conversion (sales or lead) from your site.

The same goes for the traffic we are acquiring: if, for example, the SEO campaign does not bring us qualified traffic, or the keywords selected for AdWords are not correct, we are investing budget in unprofitable activities.

In both cases, the commercial purpose of our website is nullified and changes will have to be made to get it back on track.


6. How to Lower the Adjusted Bounce Rate

The best way to lower your bounce rate is to first establish a correct value for your site.

For example, my site deals with complex topics related to Search Marketing and consequently to be able to explain techniques and concepts correctly, I must necessarily develop rather long and structured content.

Consequently, when a user lands on a page of my site it means that he is looking for information on a complex discipline and in addition he will have to read an article of at least 1000 words.

Logically, my site’s bounce rate should be pretty high leaving the default Google Analytics settings.

At this point, to measure the correct bounce rate of my site, I assume that if a user stays on my site at least 5 minutes he has found what he was looking for and therefore I cannot consider it a bounce even if he does not continue browsing other pages afterwards. .

From a technical point of view, to measure the user’s stay for at least 5 minutes, I will have to create a Google Analytics event that is activated when the user’s session realizes this condition (in technical jargon this operation is called Adjusted Bounce Rate ).

Please note : If you are unfamiliar with Google Analytics Events, we recommend that you read the article How to track events on Universal Analytics before proceeding.

To do this, I’ll go through these steps via Google Tag Manager:

a) Activator Creation:

  • Activators> New> Activator configuration;
  • Activator Type: Timer;
  • Event name: gtm.timer;
  • Interval: 300000 milliseconds (or 5 minutes);
  • Limit: 1 (to activate the timer only once);
  • Enable when: Page Path matches the regular expression:. * (In this way the tag will be activated on all pages of my site when the condition occurs);
  • Activate on: All timers;
  • Rename the Activator for example “Timer 5 minutes”;
  • Save the activator.

b) Tag Creation:

  • Tag> New Tag> Tag Configuration;
  • Tag Type: Universal Analytics;
  • Tracking Type: Event;
  • Category: set the name you deem most suitable, for example “Timer”;
  • Action: set a description that represents the event, for example “Visit 5 minutes”;
  • Label: enter {{Page Path}} to display the path of the page where the event occurs in the Google Analytics Events reports;
  • Non-interaction hit: enter the False parameter, to affect the bounce rate;
  • Google Analytics Settings: enter the {{gaID}} Variable (if you have created it). Alternatively, enable the override and in the tracking ID enter your Google Analytics Property ID;
  • Tag trigger options: select Once per event;
  • Activation: select the previously created activator, in my example “5 minute timer”.
  • Save the Tag, with the name “GA – Event – Timer 5 minutes”.

c) Check the tag is working with preview mode and publish the tag.

After these steps, every time a user stays on a page of my site for more than 5 minutes, an event will be triggered which will consequently lower the bounce rate.

Now you know a practical method on how to decrease the bounce rate and above all you have an idea on how to collect this value more correctly based on a specific case.


7. How to improve your bounce rate

Lowering the bounce rate, as we have seen, is a technical matter.

Improving the bounce rate is, on the other hand, a strategic and much more complex issue (practically if you do not have high web analytics skills , you can hardly understand the KPIs on which to intervene to improve it). In general, the aspects to work on are:

a) Create landing pages that satisfy users search intent

If you are receiving relevant traffic but your landing page does not fully meet the visitor’s information needs or provides information that is too general, it will tend to bounce.

For example, if a visitor is looking for information on a ” Google Analytics course” and your landing page provides general information about web marketing courses, the visitor is likely to bounce since you are not providing them with a generic page and not what really needs.

b) Insert clear and consistent call to action on the landing page

If your landing pages don’t have “Call to Action” or don’t display them in an engaging way, then you will have trouble keeping visitors on your website.

The same is true if your landing pages feature Call to Actions, but they are not consistent with what the user can actually do on your site.

For example, if the title of your page is “Download the free guide in pdf” but then the free download is not offered on the landing page, a high number of bounces is certainly expected.

So make sure your call to action is consistent and relevant to your landing page.

c) Identify the acquisition channels and campaigns that bring low quality traffic

If your site is receiving untargeted traffic, i.e. not related to the products and services sold on the site, visitors will bounce when they arrive on your site.

It is therefore necessary to determine which are the traffic sources that bring poor quality users to your site, and stop the campaigns connected to them or, for example, start investing in the positioning (organic and paid) of keywords more related to your business online.

d) Create the need to further browse your site

Each visitor who arrives on your site has a goal, such as looking for information on a topic, making a purchase, requesting a service, etc.

When this goal is met or not, the visitor tends to leave the site unless some other purpose is given to continue browsing the site further.

For example, if a user searches for information about your company and lands on the “About Us” page, they can leave your site from the landing page if they fully satisfy their questions about your company.

As a result of the “About Us” page, you can record a very high bounce rate while still addressing the user’s needs.

So, regardless of whether your landing page meets the visitor’s intentions, you must always provide other options to continue browsing.

For example, “related posts”, “similar products”, etc. This increases the chances of improving your bounce rate.


Conclusions

Bounce rate can be a very reliable metric for measuring the quality of traffic to your website and the quality of your landing pages.

If, for example, you are acquiring poor quality traffic through a marketing channel (SEO, AdWords, DEM, Facebook Ads, etc.), the bounce rate will be the first kpi to let us know.

This is why it is one of the main aspects on which I focus my web analytics consultancy.

Consequently, the success of your web project depends on you, on the competence of the people you rely on, on how this metric will be interpreted and above all on how you will subsequently act to remedy any problems.

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