The bounce rate is the number of web sessions where the user left your site after viewing just one page. It is a key measure for landing page engagement.
This is the second article in the Q&A series. As I previous mentioned, I am going to continue answering some of the most-asked questions about Google Analytics and how it works. If you want to get an idea of how this works, you can visit PART 1(Pros and cons of using Google Analytics) of the series and see what questions we answered there.
Here are the questions we will be tackling in this second article of the series:
1) What is the bounce rate in Google Analytics?
2) How is the Bounce rate calculated?
3) What is an ideal bounce rate?
What is the bounce rate in Google Analytics?
The definition of the Bounce Rate as shown in the Google Analytics Help Centre is “the percentage of single-page sessions. Those are sessions in which the person left your site from the entrance page without interacting with any other page”.
Why is this metric important? A high bounce rate shows you may have some problems on your website. Remember that the bounce rate is correlated to the content of your website and should be considered in the context of the purpose of the website. If you have a content website, a services website or an ecommerce website you need to look at the bounce rate in the big picture and analyse it using Advanced Segments to look at a specific category of pages, and see how they’re performing vs other sections.
Some reasons for a high bounce rate are:
- Single page website: where the user never leaves the first page through their whole visit. A high bounce rate, in this case, is actually irrelevant: you should focus on how many visitors. In order to find out how people interact with your website, you can track Custom Events on the page. To get an accurate bounce rate in this case you need to set up the events as “interaction hits”.
- Incorrect implementation: for a multiple page website, in order to track all the pages, you need to add a specific tracking code on all of the pages for a correct read of the data. In case the bounce rate is high, that might show that the tracking code is not correctly applied to all pages of the website.
- User Behaviour: the people that arrived on your site and left without doing anything else, either because they found the information that they wanted on that page and there was no need to access other pages or they simply entered by accident and didn’t find what they needed. Also if a user has a page bookmarked, enters the page and then leaves, that’s also counted as a bounce.
- Site design: when the implementation is done properly then you really might have a problem with the way the content is displayed. In this case consider looking at the landing pages, as they might not do justice to the content. Also, the keywords or ads that you use, might not reflect the content of your website and because of that, you need to optimise either the content or the keywords and ads.
How is the Bounce rate calculated?
In Google Analytics, there are two indicators for the Bounce Rate. There is the Bounce Rate of a Web Page and then there is the Bounce Rate of a Website.
The Bounce Rate of a Website is the total number of bounces across all of the pages on the website over the total number of entrances across all the pages on the website (both over the same determined period of time). This is represented in Google Analytics as a percentage shown in the table of all the pages displayed.
The Bounce Rate of a Web Page is the total number of bounces on a page over the total number of entrances on the page (Both over the same determined period of time). The image above shows the equation for calculating it. This is also represented as a percentage but it is shown in the table for each page separately.
Here is an article from OptimizeSMART in which they show us how to improve our bounce rate.
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3) What is an ideal bounce rate?
As I previously explained, the bounce rate should be as low as possible.
In one of his articles, Avinash Kaushik who is a guru of Analytics tells us what the ideal bounce rate should be: “As a benchmark from my own personal experience over the years, it is hard to get a bounce rate under 20%. Anything over 35% is a cause for concern and anything above 50% is worrying.”
To recap, in this article we managed to see what the Bounce Rate is, how it’s calculated and what is the ideal bounce rate we should strive for with our website.
Make sure to check part 3 out, in which we will answer more questions about Google Analytics.