Bounce Rate: A Misunderstood Analytic
Your platform’s bounce rate, as determined by Google Analytics, reflects your content’s ability to connect with your audience. Lower rates indicate that your audience stays on your platform and interacts with your content. Higher bounce rates indicate that your viewers don’t linger; maybe your content isn’t aimed at the proper audience, or it isn’t answering audience questions adequately.
Regardless of industry, however, average platform bounces range between 20 and 70 percent. With that wide spread in mind, should you consider your bounce rate as a valuable metric of site engagement—or is it just a vanity metric?
Defining a Bounce
A “bounce” describes audience behavior. A user will bounce from your platform if he or she clicks on your URL and then leaves your site without interacting with any of your other links or pages.
When a user bounces from your platform, Google Analytics receives no data from that person and, in turn, registers no engagement between that user and your content.
Calculating Bounce Rate through Google Analytics
You find your platform’s bounce rate in your Google Analytics overview report. The rate that Analytics displays will reflect your site-wide bounce rate, as opposed to the metrics for individual pages.
Google Analytics determines your overall site bounce rate by averaging all user visits that resulted in an immediate click-away. That number, divided by the number of visits your platform has received over time, is your calculated bounce rate.
Bounce Rate Differentiation
So how do you tell if that rate is good or bad? Your industry and type of business both contribute to determining whether your site is under-performing.
With Google Analytics, it’s easy to research industry averages by setting up benchmarks. You can do so via these simple steps:
- Click “Account Settings” under your Google Analytics admin section.
- Find the checkmark next to “benchmarking” and click it.
From here, you’ll be able to compare industry averages by utilizin the “Site Content” tab. Then, find and click on “landing pages.” Google Analytics will display site-wide bounce rates here.
Want to get more specific in your assessment of industry averages? Use the “advanced filter feature” or “content drill-down” feature to dive deeper.
Reducing Bounce Rate—is it Worth it?
The benefits of utilizing bounce rate as an engagement metric depend upon that bounce breakdown through Google Analytics. Some pages on your site, such as archives or hyper-specific content, are going to see more transient traffic due to their nature.
Use Google Analytics to create a segment that covers how many new visitors come to your site. If this statistic is higher than your industry average, then consider re-configuring your content for better appeal and retention.
Your bounce rate is a useful metric when applied appropriately. Utilizing Google Analytics’ segments will help you determine whether your pages are under-performing, or if a high bounce rate is merely reflective of the nature of your site.