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Understanding Bounce Rate – And Why It’s Now Obsolete
Kate Gingold
/ Categories: The Sprocket Report

Understanding Bounce Rate – And Why It’s Now Obsolete

Have you heard the latest?

GA4, the latest incarnation of Google Analytics, doesn’t measure Bounce Rate. So what does this mean for your business’s website? 

Digital marketing has come a long way since the first business websites appeared. Remember the crazy busy designs, animated text, and cursor trails that followed you onscreen? You might also remember the big push to update websites so that they worked as well on mobile devices as on desktop computers. 

Today, websites are created to work on phones first with desktop devices as the afterthought. Of course, websites now also do much more than simply provide electronic brochures. To record how these sophisticated applications are used, Google developed GA4 which measures user engagement on what is called App + Web properties. 

The focus of GA4 is Engagement – on which elements the visitor engages, for how long, and where the visitor goes next. Call it a positive spin on website interaction. Bounce Rate only tells you that someone visited your site and then left. That’s a rather negative spin and also not necessarily accurate. For example, if your visitor is only going to your contact page to see where to send the check, that will register as a Bounce, but it certainly completes an important goal!

The new Engagement Rate replaces Bounce Rate and provides better analysis about your visitor’s behavior. Engagement refers to three visitor actions that could take place during a session: time spent, conversion, and page views. 

For GA4 to record how much time was spent on your page, the visitor must be engaging with your site or an app running on your site for at least 10 seconds. A conversion event is recorded if they complete a Call To Action goal that you have set. Finally, if two or more pages are viewed during a session, that number is also recorded in the Engagement Rate. 

Viewing only a single page used to be how Bounce Rate was determined, so you could get a rough estimate of Bounce Rate by reversing the Engagement Rate, but because Engagement also includes the time spent and conversions, it’s really not apples to apples. Besides, isn’t it more uplifting to talk about the positivity of a visitor’s engagement rather than the negativity of a visitor’s exit?

While GA4 has been around for some time, the legacy Google Analytics is also still in force, and most third party applications that use Analytics have not yet made the change to GA4. Keep in mind that if you want to try GA4, it requires a new snippet in your website’s code.

Sprocket Websites is happy to help you get the GA4 code on your site and set up Google Analytics reports for you. We can also interpret the reports and make suggestions on how to improve your Engagement Rate. Just give us a call to get started!

Photo by Marta Wave from Pexels

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Kate Gingold

Kate GingoldKate Gingold

I have been writing a blog with web marketing tips and techniques every other week since 2003. In addition to blogging and client content writing, I write books and a blog on local history.

Other posts by Kate Gingold
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Full biography

I have been writing a blog with web marketing tips and techniques every other week since 2003. In addition to blogging and client content writing, I write books and a blog on local history.


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