WHY HAS BOUNCE RATE BEEN REMOVED FROM GOOGLE ANALYTICS?
The effectiveness of web design needs to be measured by businesses, and it used to be done through bounce rate, which is the percentage of visitors that arrive on a website and leave without interacting. However, there are many factors surrounding bounce rate that make it unreliable, which is why Google has waved goodbye to this age-old metric. Below, we’ll tell you everything you need to know.
Bounce Rate Structure and Examples
When a user doesn’t make a ‘hit’ on a website before leaving, they’ll be added as a bounce statistic. The way this works depends on the structure of a given website, and we’ll discuss this by using two different examples.
First, we’ll look at ‘User 1’, which leaves a bounce during their visit. They arrive at a page because they’re drawn in by an engaging article, and they read it from top to bottom without clicking on any other links. This website has scroll tracking, which reports the session to Google Analytics (GA) as non-interactive.
Next up is ‘User 2’, which does not add to bounce statistics. They arrive at a page and quickly scroll down, but they can’t find what they’re looking for - they leave the site on that same page. This site has scroll tracking activated and is sending GA a hit interaction once the bottom of the page is reached. Even though User 2 didn’t find what they were looking for, it’s recorded as interactive.
The experiences of these two users make it clear that the bounce rate metric is misleading, especially if a website owner doesn’t understand how to use and interpret GA.
Introducing GA4 and Engagement Rate
In October 2020, Google Analytics 4 (GA4) was launched, and it promised to focus more on actions and events, as opposed to Universal Analytics. Given this shift in methodology, there was no longer a need to know when people left the page without clicking, leading to the removal of the bounce rate and an introduction to engagement rate.
For a session to be considered “engaged”, it needs to abide by one of these conditions:
- Has a conversion event.
- Views multiple pages.
- Lasts more than ten seconds.
Naturally, there will always be differences in how websites are set up on the backend, which leads to inconsistencies when it comes to conversion events. However, by including the ten-second session, it means that data becomes much more objective. Essentially, session timeout and full-page readers will always count towards a website’s engagement rate.
How to Get Prepared
If your business isn’t using GA4 by now, it’s something you need to change. Setting it up couldn’t be easier, and it will revolutionise the way you’re collecting and using data. All you need to do to get started on GA4 is use the Setup Assistant wizard.
Instead of relying on page clicks, engagement rate lets you determine which pages are performing the best. Naturally, knowing this information allows you to accurately inform future marketing efforts because you’ll understand the type of content your audience engages with.