Google Analytics Expert: Bounce Rate Breakdown

By: Paul Hickey, Founder and Lead Strategist

Yo Yo, check it out. Time to spit some game about some geeky stuff. Today’s topic is perhaps the most important metric for a Google Analytics Expert – Bounce Rate.

What is bounce rate? It is a metric that Google Analytics created to measure the quality of a session / user. When you log into Google Analytics, you see a dashboard that shows you Sessions, Users, Pages per Session, Average Session Duration and Bounce Rate.

Sessions and Users represent how much web traffic you get. Pages per Session, Average Session Duration and Bounce Rate measure the quality of the website traffic.

What is the difference between a Session and a User? Well, from a simple math perspective, you can break it down to this simple fact. Users can have multiple sessions. So, if you visit a website three times in one day, you’ll likely be counted as one user, but three sessions.

Boom. It’s that simple.

I think businesses and people have a tendency to look at how many users they get. Well, if you get 100 users in a day, but have a 90 percent bounce rate, that really only means you had 10 users.

90 percent of your users bounced, so that should begin to define bounce rate, and it should tell you how to read the metric (i.e., the lower the bounce rate, the better).

Now, what exactly constitutes a bounce?

Most people actually think that when a web page loads and user clicks on a link that takes them to another page, that it is a bounce. No, that is incorrect, my friends. That is an engagement. If someone scrolls or hovers or clicks anywhere on that page, even if it’s to an outbound link – that is an engagement, not a bounce.

A bounce occurs when a user “x’s” / closes out of the browser window immediately after the page loads, or if the user goes to the URL address bar and types in another web URL right away.

In short, a bounce is a horrible thing. Each page has it’s own bounce rate, and each referral source has it’s own bounce rate.

If you have an “About Us” page, a “Contact Us” page, a “Services” page and a Homepage, they all have their own metrics indicating how successful they are at engaging users.

To see this view in Google Analytics go to Behavior, Site Content, All Pages, show all 500 or 5,000 pages on your site, and it will be sorted by sessions. You can click each column to sort. Sort by lowest bounce rate to see the most engaging pages on your site. This is the best “apples to apples” comparison. The pages on your site with the lowest bounce rate should inform you of the immediate best pages to send traffic to via marketing campaigns and model future page type designs after.

Paul Hickey has created and grown businesses via digital strategy and internet marketing for more than 10 years. His sweet spot is using analytics to design and build websites and grow the audience and revenue of businesses via SEO/Blogging, Google Adwords, Bing Ads, Facebook and Instagram Ads, Social Media Content Marketing and Email Marketing. The part that he’s most passionate about is quantifying next marketing actions based on real data.