What is Bounce Rate in Google Analytics
Let us look into the details of what bounce rate is and how can we properly track it.
Bounce rate is defined as the percentage of website visits that have only one pageview. If a visitor leaves the websites after viewing a single webpage, it is calculated as a bounce. For example, if 100 people land on your homepage and 40 of them leave immediately without visiting any other page in site, that's a 40% bounce rate.
For example, you can see the landing page bounce rate in Google Analytics report Behavior -> Site Content -> Landing Pages
What Contributes to Bounce Rate?
Below listed are a few scenarios that can contribute to the bounce rate. A bounce happens when a visitor,
- Clicks the back button (most common)
- Closes the browser (window/tab)
- Click on an external link
- Types a new URL
- Does nothing (session times out after 30min)
Why is this metric Useful?
Bounce rate is considered as a metric to evaluate the user experience and content engagement. For example, if your website has a very high bounce rate, it probably denotes that there are some issues with the usability or content.
How is it Calculated
As mentioned earlier, bounce rate is calculated on the basis of the percentage of visits that saw only one pageview.
Total number of visits viewing one page only
Bounce Rate = ------------------------------------------------------------------------
Total visits to the page
When it Can Not be Representational
In some cases, you need to tweak the analytic configuration to get the correct bounce rate for your website. Let’s checkout some common scenarios where you cannot depend on the default bounce rate.
Imagine you have a video website which offers visitors videos to watch. These videos may be of more than 30 minutes, which means more than default analytics session period. So if a visitor is watching a video which is more than 30 minute duration, the analytics session will expire before the video ends and the visit will be considered as bounce.
How to Fix: Increase the session timeout to more that 30 minutes.
Visitors are checking out the business details in the website home page or which ever page they landed on, and convinced enough to make a quick enquiry. Imagine that they are visiting the website from a mobile device and clicking on the phone number given in the website header. Now they got you in line and discussed about the requirement. The visitor would probably leave the website without visiting any other web page, because they have already made a direct contact with you. By default this visit is considered as a bounce, but is it actually? No, because the visitor has done a desirable action and left. In this case, we cannot consider the visit as a bounce.
How to Fix: Implement event tracking for the phone number click
Why Bounce Rate is Very High and How to Fix It?
There can be many reasons why your website bounce rate is high:
- Website does not meet visitor expectation
- Website is not getting relevant traffic
- Issues with website usability
- Too many external links
How to Fix:
You need to first analyze your website for any usability issues and the traffic relevance. If your website is ranking for irrelevant keywords, that can contribute to a flow of irrelevant traffic to your site, which in turn lead to a hike in bounce rate.
Check website in different devices and browsers: A responsive website is an essential for usability.
Check load speed: No visitor likes a slow loading website. If your website is has slow loading time, chances are big that visitors close the browser.
Too many external links: External links are good if they are relevant. But make sure that the external links open in new window.
Why Bounce Rate is Very Low and How to Fix It?
In some scenarios, you may see that the website bounce rate is too low to believe. Comparing the industry standards, news portal and ecommerce sites have the lowest bounce rate. The reason is obvious, most of the visitors tend to check out related news or products in these cases.
If your website deals with a service based or consulting business, you can expect a minimum bounce rate of 30%, which is considerably a perfect fit in the industry standards. But what if you are witnessing a too low bounce rate like 5% or 10%? It’s not quite convincing, isn't it?
In most of the cases, the low bounce rate happens because of any error in the Google Analytics code:
- Google Analytics code is duplicated: If the Analytics tracking script is present twice in a page, it will trigger two pageviews in each visit. Means zero bounce rate.
- Tag Manager and Google Analytics code: In some cases the issue happens because of the conflict between Google tag manager and analytics script. If analytics is enabled in tag manager, there is no need of an additional tracking snippet in the page. Tag manager act as the tracking script for Google Analytics
Bounce rate is generally considered as an important metric in conversion rate optimization. It is undoubtedly a measure to improve your website conversions and user engagement. To keep up with an optimum bounce rate, make sure that your website is relevant and user friendly to the visitors.