May 23, 2013

jumpBounces are bad. Bounces indicate that someone visited your website, felt that it did not meet their expectation of what they were looking for, and immediately left your website without taking any other action. Or do they indicate something else? Do they indicate that your finely-tailored web page answered your visitors’ questions so precisely that there was no need for them to look elsewhere for their answers? How can you tell what is really being measured by your Google Analytics bounce rate? More importantly, if you are paying for Google ads, a higher bounce rate will cause you to have to pay more for each click.

Type of website matters

Whether or not you need to be concerned with the bounce rate statistics for your website depends greatly upon what type of website you have. If you are directing people to a landing page, the bounce rate will accurately depict the number of people who leave your landing page without taking action on your offer. For these types of websites, the bounce rate matters, and a lower bounce rate is preferable. If people enter your website as a result of organic searches, and may arrive at your home page, a landing page, an interior page describing your products or business, or a posting on your blog, the bounce rate as calculated may not matter. In those situations, it is more important to know if the person is engaging with your content, taking time to read it over before leaving the website. The simple bounce rate is not a meaningful measurement in this case, since it does not tell you the difference between someone who leaves your page immediately and someone who spends 5 minutes perusing everything you wrote about a subject. That second visitor, even if they have no other interaction with your website, will recognise your name as a subject matter expert, and have more trust in you when they encounter you again.

Using a different bounce rate calculation

In order to incorporate information about how long someone stays on your website before leaving, even if they do not interact in any other way with your website, you need Google to consider only those visitors who leave within a certain timeframe as true bounces. This can be done by adding some customised code to the Google Analytics script. The customised code uses the Google Analytics API to create events, or something that Google interprets as a website visitor interacting with your website. As a result, they are no longer considered bounces. An added side benefit of this is that the Google Analytics measurement of the average time each visitor spends on your website will also increase to more accurately reflect real visit lengths. Using this new calculation for bounce rates, you will be able to differentiate between true bounces and people who engaged with your content without taking additional action on your website.

Before I sign off, here are some more useful articles on using Google Analytics to your advantage:



Sean McPheat

Managing Director

The Internet Marketing Academy

(Image: Morguefile)

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