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How to Improve Bounce Rates & Engagement Rates

Bounce rate is one of those key website metrics that has appeared in countless articles and digital agency reports for over a decade, but it has now been dropped by Google Analytics as a key stat. So what was it, is it still important to understand and what has replaced it?

What is Bounce Rate?
When someone lands on a page of your website but then leaves without engaging with the site in any way that is a bounce. Dividing this with the total number of visits to the website will give you the total bounce rate (%).

Generally, a high bounce rate is bad, and a low rate is good. Yet, a high bounce rate can be good for a site like Wikipedia, as it means someone landed on the right page. On the other hand, a low bounce rate is good for Amazon as it means someone has shown interest or has gone on to purchasing.

So from the start, we can see a problem with this metric. Having a low bounce rate for your homepage is great as that means the right customer has come to the website, but then depending on your business aims many of the other pages could be ok with having a high bounce rate.  A terms & conditions page is a prime example here because how many people really engage with that? Overall this will bring up the websites bounce rate, making you think your site is not performing well.

Another issue is the time period that you are measuring. For that monthly website report, the bounce rate might dramatically rise and fall for certain pages, but over a full year, the percentage change could be minimal not really giving you any detail on if a webpage is a bad performer.

homepage bounce rate

homepage bounce rate months
Daily bounce rates for one page becomes hidden when you look at the whole month

What Has Replaced Bounce Rate?

Recently Google launched a new version of Analytics (GA4) that does not include bounce rate,  but instead uses ‘engaged sessions’.
Meaning that it does not focus on those who take no action on a page, but those who visit via certain channels and at least

  • Engages with the page for 10 seconds
  • Completes a conversion
  • Views at least 2 pages

Engaged Sessions will instead give you the power to know if the paid ads or your social media posts are working in bringing in the right people. You can then compare this data with page engagement times and the number of conversions to figure out if improvements are needed.

How to Make Improvements Based on Bounce Rate or Engaged Sessions?

Though bounce rate had been toted as a vital measurement (same can now go for engaging sessions in some respect). The next stage of acting on that information can be difficult as it is predominantly down to user experience.

Here are 3 scenarios that may help you figure out improvements to either metric. And if you are still having trouble give us a call as we have a wealth of experience in improving website user experience and bringing in the best leads for our clients

  • Blog Layout – If someone lands on a page full of words, no paragraph breaks, images, bullet points or headlines; it makes it a difficult read and a more likely automatic bounce.
  • Move The Button – Sometimes the position and colour of the ‘Buy Now‘ or ‘Contact Us‘ button can make all the difference between a successful lead or a potential lead just leaving and going elsewhere.
  • Be Consistent – There is nothing worse than clicking an ad and being taken to an irrelevant webpage. Make sure words, imagery and brand links across all the platforms and ads where you can be found.
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