The REAL Definition of a Bounce and the Problem with Google Analytics

Just read an awesome blog post explaining the REAL meaning behind the Bounce Rate measurement in Google Analytics. Bounce Rate has always been one of those mysterious metrics that no one really understands. Is it a good thing or is it a bad thing? What is a good benchmark for my site? I find myself explaining the concept to every client and prospect I meet. Now I have even more ammo in my pouch. The post also provides a really good fix/hack so that Google Analytics only picks up the REAL bounce rate of your site. The following are the main points from the article, click below if you’d like to read the whole thing.

  1. If someone visits a page on your site and then exits that page without visiting any other page on your site then that is a bounce
  2. Search engines use a metric called dwell time to determine whether a bounce is a “good” bounce ie. the user found what they were looking for or a “bad” bounce ie. the visitor leaves within 10 seconds because your page sucks
  3. Google Analytics calculates bounce rates and time on site through pageviews.  This means that if someone “bounces” off your page then it’s always reported as 0:00:00 time on site no matter how long the visitor stays for.
  4. Event tracking can be used to manipulate the bounce rate metric so that bounces are only recorded if a visitor leaves after less than 30 seconds example script above
  5. Both Woopra and Clicky are great alternatives to Google Analytics for more accurate data.

via When a Bounce isn’t a Bounce and Why Google Analytics is Misleading – IM Impact.

Pretty cool huh? So if, a visitor has been on your home page for 2 minutes and got the info that they needed that would be considered a bounce… Time to rethink things my fellow GA users. Is this new info to you? How do you use bounce rate in the analysis of your site. Does this change things?

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