Bounce Rate, specifically the Bounce Rate Metric in Google Analytics, is the percentage of single-page visits to total visits of a certain Dimension. For example, say you are looking at your Organic Traffic and sort by search engine. You follow the row across and see that Bing is delivering a 75% Bounce Rate. This means that 75% of the visitors coming from Bing to your website during the date range you have selected are visiting one page and leaving your site. Depending how your Google Analytics account is set up, this may include closing the browser, directly typing in a different site’s URL into their browser’s navigation bar, or clicking on a link to one of your social media sites or off-site blog. This third case is important to note, because unless Google Analytics has been set-up to track these off-site channels as part of the account, a visitor will be considered a Bounce even though they are still interacting with channels your brand controls.
IS A HIGH BOUNCE RATE BAD?
A high Bounce Rate typically indicates that a visitor did not find the page they landed on relevant to their interests or it did not fulfill their drive to click-through on the referring link. This is not always the case. If your blog is being tracked by Google Analytics and a visitor lands on one of your blog posts and the information they seek is clearly available, they may have no further interest in diving deeper into your website. A low Bounce Rate, on the other hand, does not necessarily mean your users are happily engaged with your site. If you pair a low Bounce Rate with a high number of Pageviews and low conversions, your visitors may be frustrated and unable to find what they are looking for even after searching and are leaving your site unfulfilled.
If you are looking for ways to improve your bounce rate, read our blog post: Down about your Bounce Rate? Do these five things to improve it today!
KISSmetrics has an interesting infographic about Bounce Rate that includes an equation, Bounce Rate metrics by industry average, and a number of tips to improve your Bounce Rate.
BOUNCE RATE vs. EXIT RATE (% EXIT)
Bounce Rate is the percentage of single-page visits to total visits, whereas Exit Rate (% Exit) is the percentage of site exits that occur. A visitor, who visits your website, loads one page (or blog post) and leaves is considered in both your Bounce Rate and your Exit Rate. A visitor who visits your website, loads one page (or blog post) and continues on to another blog post or another page on your site, is considered in only your Exit Rate.
To view the Exit Pages for your website — the pages where visitors are leaving your site from, go to the Exit Pages report under Content > Site Content > Exit Pages.
The following is a basic Google Analytics configuration checklist for when you start using the platform (or when there have been changes on your site and you want to make sure everything is setup and working properly).
1. Google Analytics Tracking Code
What version of the Google Analytics Tracking Code (GATC) is currently being used if any and where is it placed? Is data currently being populated in the account? Is the GATC on all pages of your website (including 404 pages, footer pages such as disclaimer, terms of service, or other similar pages, etc).
2. Sub-Domain and/or Cross-Domain Tracking
Do you have multiple sub-domains? Do you have access to change the source code for the pages on all sub-domains and are all webmasters on board with the change? If not, realize that Google Analytics can only track the sub-domains that include the GATC. Do you have multiple domains that you want to track? Realize that the links between them will need to be set-up correctly. If in the future you wish to add any additional sub-domains or domains, make sure that they are properly set up as well.
3. Goal Configuration
You can have a maximum of twenty goals, sorted into four sets of five goals each. While setting up goals, you can also setup funnels. Goal funnels can help you visualize the path that a visitor took to completing the goal. They can also help you see from what part of the funnel process visitors are exiting and if they are leaving the site entirely or navigating to a different page.
4. E-Commerce Configuration
If you have an e-commerce site, you will want to make sure your e-commerce code is tracking correctly. It should be noted that the e-commerce GATC replaces the standard GATC.
5. Google AdWords Linking
If you currently use Google AdWords, linking your account with a Google Analytics account can allow you to better understand your data.
6. Google Webmaster Tools Syncing
If you are currently use Google Webmaster Tools, syncing your account with Google Analytics can reveal a wealth of knowledge about your website in the easily manipulated Google Analytics interface.
7. Event Tracking
Coding your site to track specific events (such as a PDF download) can help you better understand how visitors interact with your site. Additionally, events can be set up as goals. This allows you to set up a funnel for an event.
8. Social Tracking
Google Analytics offers social tracking reports so you can better understand how social media impacts your website.
9. Site Search Configuration
If you have onsite search setup, Google Analytics can help capture what your visitors are searching for. Consider looking to this report for navigation change or new pages about topics that are often searched for on your site.
10. A Word About Filters
Google Analytics allows you to add filters to your data — however, it should be noted that once a filter has been added, the data that has been filtered over a time period can not be unfiltered. For example, if you create a Google Analytics account in January and then add a filter February 1st — but realize on March 1st that the filter was written incorrectly and would exclude some data you wanted to include you will not ne able to get the February data back. Unfortunately, even if you delete the filter going forward, any reports that cover the February time period will only be able to show the filtered data.
The Social Visitors Flow report in Google Analytics, located under Standard Reporting > Traffic Sources > Social > Social Visitors Flow, allows users to obtain a deeper understanding of their website visitors who arrived through social sources. You can assign a date range, compare a date range to the past, select a segment, or increase or decrease the number of connections between steps in the flow. The more connections, the longer the social flow report will take to load, but the more information you can see visually.
If you click on one of the boxes or nodes in the flow, three options appear. The first option, “highlight traffic through here,” allows you to highlight all traffic that originated from a specific social source or passes through a specific page (depending on which node you click on and select it from) and grey-out all other nodes and pathways.
The following is an example of a highlighted path of traffic that originated from the social source: Blogger.
The other two options, “View only this segment” and “Group details,” allow you to further customize the social flow visualization report to see the data that is most helpful to you. The first will delete all nodes not related to the selected node (a cleaner view than the highlight/graying solution under “Highlight traffic through here”) and the second brings up an option box where you can view the data (displayed visually in the flow) in table form.