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Do you (really) understand Bounce rates?

The mighty single page visit, holy grail of website analyses and actually interpreted completely wrong by most companies (and agencies!)

First of all what is the bounce rate, well according to the Google Analytics documentation it is

Bounce Rate is the percentage of single-page sessions

Now when you open your Analytics the most common report is that of the Audience overview, this report will tell you the number of visits, pages viewed and of course the bounce-rates

However, making business decisions on this data is not completely fair and here is why.

1.Bounce rates are and can only be calculated based on the number of Entrances.

This means that it calculates the bounce-rates based on users entering a page and not going anywhere else. To put this in context, have a look at the below screenshot.

As you can see the average bounce-rate is 62% with some pages reaching a bounce-rate of 83%. Now if we look at the first page in the screenshot you will see a bounce-rate of 70.11%. This does not actually reflect that from the 2408 page views 70% bounced but actually 70% of the 87 Entrances bounced on that page.

2.Your dealing with averages so certain pages can dramatically increase the bounce-rate.

For example the contact us page is infamous for being high in bounce. Why? Well simple a visitor is using Google to find out your companies Contact Information. Google will give them the most relevant result which is your Contact Us page and they pick up the phone or email you. Mission Accomplished. There is no additional reason for the user to keep browsing your website and you provided them with a good user experience (hopefully). Now if this happens a lot your overall bounce average will be increased.











3. Spam! Over the years I’ve seen big increases in Spam traffic going to my clients websites. These pesky spam robots will often have a 100% bounce rate and a 0 second average duration on site. This of course will increase your bounced averages.

The best approach to make sense of your data is filtering out the spam, customizing how Analytics deals with bounce rules and adding in additional tracking to remove bounces based on behavior.

If you found this article useful don’t forget to share it and if you need any help deciphering your data get in touch

Antonie@seditio.ie / www.seditio.ie