Learning Google Analytics with Bounce Rate

We’re all guilty of it. Searching for something, clicking-through, and closing out a website. On the other side of that website there’s someone watching their analytics in disbelief with a bounce rate of almost 100% — everyone leaves in a hurry. Learning Google Analytics starts with this fundamental metric you’ll see in almost any digital report. There’s a lot of discussion in how it can be valuable and what it really means.

Bounce Rate: Percentage of total visitors to a page that leave you site.

When learning Google Analytics there’s always a devil’s advocate complex you must develop to truly understand data. There’s one instance where you have a single landing page that's recording micro or macro conversions. This is where bounce isn’t as important since there’s nowhere for a session to go except elsewhere. In this instance time would be more valuable or even event dimensions to see when users complete a certain goal.

Bounce Rate Too High & Low

One case where bounce rate can be helpful is if it’s too high or low. In many cases near 100% bounce rate is going to throw up red flag for suspicious activities. This can correlate to issues with the installation to your code; It’s important when learning Google Analytics to immediately act on those signals in your analysis. The next most common factor is single digit bounce rate. If you’ve verified the implementation and over time the bounce rate is low everything should be fine.

Google Analytics High Bounce Rate

Low Bounce Rate: Users are clicking through to your other web pages and existing the site from a different page.

An instance where a low bounce rate is unusual is this: Say you launched a new website and the tracking snippet was implemented twice. This duplicative code acts as a multiplier and can effectively halve your bounce rate and exit rate. This can be very bad and it will effectively ruin these metrics for reporting purposes. If you witness this, it’s best form to annotate this inside of Google Analytics to be shared with the admin level users

Channel Breakdowns

Google Analytics Channel Breakdown

When clicking over to channel breakdowns you’ll see which channel is most likely to bounce and least likely to bounce averaged throughout the site. If you want more detail when you’re learning Google Analytics you can click-through to a channel and segment it by a secondary dimension of "landing page." This website traffic report will allow you understand which web pages within a particular channel are leading to higher or lower bounce rates.

Google Analytics Channel Source Landing Page

Discover Referral Spam

Google Analytics Referral Spam

Referral Spam: Plague of Google Analytics Reporting.

Finally the most impactful way to apply what you’re learning with Google Analytics website analysis is to review the “Referral” channel and expand the rows down to 50. Try to sort the analytics by bounce rate from highest to lowest and you’ll start to see the picture. Start learning Google Analytics with bounce rate to interpret your data better. There’s no silver bullet to reduce it except understanding how to nudge visitors into different web pages.