What you should know about bounce rate in Google Analytics

A lot of people think that a bounce in Google Analytics is a one-page-long session. It’s not quite true. A bounce is a one-hit-long session, which means that if a user triggers any event during his single-page session, it won’t be considered as a bounce. Below I show why it’s good to keep it in mind.

Bounce rate inflation

A couple of days ago we noticed a huge surge of bounce rate on the website — 15% to 85% overnight. All the bounced traffic was landing on the product pages, which haven’t been changed for a while. Neither were our marketing campaigns

After checking all the links, buttons, pictures, and other elements on the product page, we made a guess that it had to do with the page load time.

However, it wasn’t the case — there was no correlation with the bounce rate surge

Eventually, it turned out that just a couple of days ago the JS code on the product page stopped sending user interaction events to Google Analytics. You can see how red and yellow lines suddenly turned to zero on May 7th

Although users behavior hasn’t actually changed, from Google Analytics point of view, it has. I call it bounce rate inflation.

An alternative way to prove that the product page’s UX hasn’t changed is to look at the exit rate

As you can see, it’s still the same.

Conclusion

Bounce rate ≠ percentage of single-page sessions. It is determined by the events your site is sending to Google Analytics. Which means that you can make it ridiculously low by sending frequent events, like page scrolls. It is called bounce rate inflation. Be aware of that when comparing bounce rates of different websites.

 147   2019