Is Google Analytics’ Bounce Rate Correct?
Google Analytics is a great tool, no doubt about it. It’s also pretty complex and therefore the F.A.Q. list will be big. Most of the questions will have an answer in the Google Analytics Help Center, but there will always be questions you probably won’t find the answers at all. I call them F.U.Q. – Frequently Unanswered Questions.
Let’s take a look at the bounce rate report. Mainly, bounces are defined as a single page visits to your website. Bounce rate will apply to your landing pages (the destination URLs of your PPC or banner campaigns or search results in search engines, emails, etc).
If you have content that is accessible only by login into your account or if your checkout pages are accessible only from previous pages, how can they have bounce rates? How can a page that is not accessible without coming from a previous page have a “bounce rate”? It should ony have an exit rate, isn’t it?
If the order confirmation page or the thank you page is only accessible after visitors log in into their accounts there shouldn’t be any bounce rate! Really? Take a look at the Top Content report and see if any of your secure/checkout pages are displaying bounce rates:
On a recent conversation with Avinash Kaushik, I asked his opinion on the issue and he was kind enough to share some of the thoughts in a nice post (one step ahead of me) . I just added some ways to minimize the fake bounce effect:
- bookmarks (make sure your secure pages or password restricted areas are not directly accessible by typing their URLs in the broswer). You can also use Awstats to predict a “added to bookmark rate”.
- internal traffic (make sure to exclude your internal traffic from data collection)
- email or other marketing campaigns (do not set your checkout or restricted pages as landing pages for your marketing campaigns)
- organic traffic (make sure you exclude those pages in robots.txt and also in meta tags)
Other reasons that may influence the bounce rate on “unbounceable pages” can be:
- visits longer than 30 minutes (when visitors spend more than 30 minute on those page and then reload the pages they will start having a bounce rate).
- cookie and privacy settings changes while visitors are navigating on your website.
To fix them you need to dig deeper and identify the reasons. If any page has a bounce rate bigger than 0% then it means the page is a landing page and you should be able to find it in the “Top Landing Pages” report (not always, but in this account that page is there):
While the Bounce Rate report shows 1737 unique page views with a bounce rate of 25.25%, the Landing Page report shows only 49 entrances to this page. So, something must be wrong. Either our client’s account is not setup properly, or Google Analytics has a bug, I can’t tell at the moment.
If you encountered the same and you found a solution for it, let us know.
Pitstop Media offers ROI based internet marketing services results oriented web analytics services. With the use of Google Analytics we’ve helped companies reduce paid advertising cost by 148% while we increased their conversion rates by as much as 410%. Let us increase your conversion rates, too!