Exposed: Why your Google Analytics Bounce Rate is Wrong

why your google analytics bounce rate is wrong -

Say you have just launched a new landing page, which has been designed and developed with best practices in mind. You would expect your Google Analytics data to report strong traffic numbers and impressive levels of engagement.

However, there is every chance you will be greeted with an extraordinarily high bounce rate. Unfortunately, this is an all too common occurrence for several marketers, who will then go back and change their landing pages even if nothing is wrong.

The problem lies in the way Google Analytics measures your bounce rate. Along with throwing off your website data, this can also cause unnecessary effort and expense.


Related Post: Is your Conversion Rate Lying to you? 


The Importance of Bounce Rate

Even though the secrets of Google’s algorithm are not fully known or understood by everyday online users, bounce rate is just one of many factors that can have an impact on your search engine results page ranking.

If Google sees that your site doesn’t interest or engage visitors, it will assume your content isn’t good or relevant enough to rank in a prominent position. Therefore, your site will be pushed down into results page obscurity. In Google’s opinion, high bounce rates mean low-quality web pages.


The Methodology Behind Bounce Rate

Google calculates bounce rate as “the percentage of sessions/(visits) where only one interaction occurs.” A website hit is the initial action, but if there isn’t a second interaction within 30 minutes, it becomes a bounce.

So, if someone arrives at your site from a marketing campaign, Google will automatically record a page view, which is the initial action. Then, if that visitor does not interact with your site a second time within 30 minutes of their page view, it counts as a bounce.

But this doesn’t factor in the possibility that the visitor actually found your on-page content useful, interesting, valuable, or relevant. They could have scrolled down the page, consumed everything you had to offer for 29 minutes, and maybe even clicked a pricing tab or watched a video. Google would still consider this a bounce when in reality it was an interaction.


Receiving a More Accurate Bounce Rate Insight

As opposed to Google’s bounce rate methodology, Ruler Analytics uses visitor level analytics instead. This monitors and measures the journey of each user, giving you a more accurate bounce rate and a more insightful overview of website performance.

On top of that, Google Analytics will show bounce rate as an overall percentage, ignoring the behaviour of individuals that could be finding, consuming, and enjoying your content. But this isn’t the case with Ruler Analytics, as we record how many visits each user makes along with the pages they looked at and the duration of browsing.

Using our earlier example of a landing page, we can also match real customer data against the exact marketing source from which it was generated. Whereas Google Analytics’ bounce rate can throw your marketing efforts out of whack, Ruler Analytics will enable you to calculate a definite ROI for every channel or campaign.


Related Post: 4 Things Google Analytics can’t tell you


Decreasing your Bounce Rate

Even if you choose to use Ruler Analytics for more accurate bounce rates, you still need to do something about Google’s penchant for penalising content-rich pages, as this could adversely affect your search engine ranking.

One option is to encourage visitors to click on other links within your website. Unfortunately, this won’t work with landing pages. But seeing as Google counts two types of interactions in its bounce rate, you should forget about the pitfalls of ‘page views’ and concentrate on ‘events’ instead.

Events track how a visitor engages within your pages, such as when they watch a video, download a document, or sign-up to a newsletter. Therefore, they are perfect for increasingly popular long-form landing pages.


Adding Events to your Website

You can add events to any action on your website where a visitor might interact, such as menus, links, or buttons. On a landing page, events can be added for watching videos, viewing features, or a sign-up button.

You can also add events for scrolling down or even when a page is loaded. This might sound extreme, but the influence events can have on your bounce is dramatic.

So, by combining Ruler Analytics’ individual user analysis with events for important interactions, you can overcome the obstacles associated with Google’s incorrect measurement of bounce rates. Don’t forget you can still sign up for a free 30-day Ruler Analytics trial so what’s holding you back?


Written by

Marketing executive at Ruler Analytics with a background in SEO, analytics, content marketing and paid social. I help people (like me) close the loop between marketing-generated leads and revenue.