How To Internet

Is your bounce rate real?

Posted .

Bouncing Boxer

Google officially defines the bounce rate as “the percentage of visits that go only one page before exiting a site”. A bounce rate of about 80% is typical for a blog. 40-60% is reasonable for other content sites and apps. 10-40% is excellent. If your bounce rate is under 10%, this is probably due to an error in your configuration.

The most common reason that your Google Analytics may be reporting a crazy low bounce rate is because you have accidentally included your Google Analytics code twice. This means that when someone loads a page from your site, the code on your page sends two page views back to Google Analytics. The other side effect of this mistake is that your page views and page views per visit will be doubled.

Here’s how to tell if you have such an error:

  1. Go to your site, make sure you are not logged in as the admin (some Google Analytics plugins are smart enough to not add the code if you are logged in as the site owner) and view the page source. (In chrome, this option is in the right click menu.)
  2. Search for “trackPageview”. If this appears twice, your site is tracking twice the page views it should.

The second reason your bounce rate may be a lie is more complicated and has to do with Google Analytics events. Google Analytics allows you to track more than page views — you can use a command to tell Google that someone pressed a button, or loaded a video, or that any small piece of JavaScript ran. Even if you’ve never heard of Google Analytics events, some plugins you have installed could be tracking events. To see if this is the case, go to “Behavior” -> “Events” -> “Overview” in your analytics. If there’s anything there, something on your site is reporting events.

Events affect the bounce rate when they are counted as interactions with your page. When someone visits only one page, and their visit triggers an event that counts as an interaction, Google Analytics doesn’t consider that a bounce. Yes, that means the definition of bounce rate on Google’s own help center page is misleading!

To see the real percentage of people who visit only one page, go to “Audience” -> “Behavior” -> “Engagement” and click on “Page Depth”. You’ll see a bar chart that shows visitors versus number of pages. Divide the number of 1-page visits by the number of total visits.