Bounce Rate in Google Analytics – Complete Guide

What is bounce rate in Google Analytics?

Bounce rate is the percentage of single page visits (or sessions) in which a person leaves your website from the landing page without browsing any further.

In order to understand the bounce rate, it is very important that you are absolutely sure about the metric called ‘visit’ (or session).

In the context of Google Analytics, a session is a group of hits recorded for a user in a given time period.

A hit is a user’s interaction (pageview, screenview, event, transaction, etc) with your website that results in data being sent to the Google Analytics server.

A user can generate one or more sessions.  A user can start two or more GA sessions in a single day or over the course of days/weeks/months. That’s why the number of visits/sessions reported by Google Analytics is almost always higher than the number of reported visitors.

A single page visit is a Google Analytics session in which a visitor views only the single page of a website and then leaves the website from the landing page without browsing any further.

Following is the more technical definition of a bounce rate:

Bounce rate is the percentage of single page visits in which only one GIF request is sent to the Google Analytics server.

Each time a page is loaded into a web browser, the Google Analytics tracking code (GATC) makes a request for an invisible file called _utm.gif so that it can send the page view data to Google Analytics Server via this file.

The Ecommerce Tracking Code (ETC) can also make a request for this file so that it can send the e-commerce data to the Google Analytics server.

In addition to GATC and ETC, the event tracking code, virtual pageviews and social interaction analytics tracking code can also make a request for this file.

The GIF request is quite long.

Following is an example of a GIF Request in case of Classic Google Analytics:

https://www.google-analytics.com/__utm.gif?utmwv=4&utmn=769876874&utmhn=example.com&utmcs=ISO-8859-1&utmsr=1280×1024&utmsc=32-bit&utmul=en-us&utmje=1&utmfl=9.0%20%20r115&utmcn=1&utmdt=GATC012%20setting%20variables&utmhid=2059107202&utmr=0&utmp=/auto/GATC012.html?utm_source=www.gatc012.org&utm_campaign=campaign+gatc012&utm_term=keywords+gatc012&utm_content=content+gatc012&utm_medium=medium+gatc012&utmac=UA-30138-1&utmcc=__utma%3D97315849.1774621898.1207701397.1207701397.1207701397.1%3B…  

If you are a super geek and wish to understand the various parameters passed via GIF request then head straight to the official Google Analytics documentation on GIF request

In short, the _utm.gif file can send the following type of data to the Google Analytics server:

  1. Page view data (like visits, visitors, avg. time on site, etc)
  2. Ecommerce data (transaction ID, Item code, item value, etc)
  3. Social interaction data (like Facebook likes, tweets, etc)
  4. Details of the tracked events (like click on the video play button, click on an external link, etc)

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How to interpret the bounce rate metric?

Bounce rate can horribly mislead you if you don’t know how to interpret it correctly.

A high bounce rate is not always bad and sometimes even a very low bounce rate can be bad. For example, it is common for blogs to have a high bounce rate as people read the blog post and then leave the website.

If the bounce rate of your website is very low, for example, 10%, then that must be because of some technical issues. There could be some issue with your tracking code implementation or maybe some other website issue which is resulting in more than one GIF request being sent to GA server in a single page web session.

Hence Google Analytics is not considering such visits as a ‘bounce’.

Whenever you interpret bounce rate of any traffic source, keep the following things in mind:

  1. User intent/behavior
  2. Type of website
  3. Type of landing page
  4. Quality of the landing page
  5. Type of content
  6. Type of industry
  7. Quality of traffic
  8. Type of marketing channel
  9. Visitor type
  10. Device type

1. User intent/behavior

How do people usually interact with your website? If your landing page does not satisfy a visitor’s query then the visitor will bounce from the landing page. A visitor can also bounce even when your landing page satisfies a visitor’s query but you did not give him any reason to continue browsing.

2. Type of website

Different types of websites tend to have different bounce rates. For example, if your website is a blog then it is common for your visitors to read and leave and hence a high bounce rate. If you have got a single page website then the bounce rate could be as high as 100%. If you run a website that is purely built-in Flash and you do not track Flash events then your bounce rate could be very high.

3. Type of landing page

If a visitor lands on the ‘contact us’ page then he is most probably looking for contact information and therefore it is highly unlikely, he will continue browsing. So the bounce rate of the web page is going to be high.

4. Quality of the landing page

If your landing page is not visually appealing, full of ads, cluttered with text, looks spammy, doesn’t have clear ‘call to action’ then bounce rate is going to be high.

5. Type of content

If you have got hard to consume content on your landing page then a visitor may bookmark the page and return to your website later, in order to read it in his spare time.

6. Type of Industry

The bounce rate varies from industry to industry. In some industries, like the publishing industry, a high bounce rate (70% or higher) is considered to be normal.

7. Quality of Traffic

If you are getting the wrong type of traffic on your website, like traffic which is not your target audience, then the bounce rate is going to be high.

8. Type of Marketing channel

Different marketing channels send traffic which tends to have a different bounce rate. For example, the bounce rate of the traffic coming via social media sites is generally higher than the traffic coming from organic search.

9. Visitor Type

It is common for new website visitors to bounce more often than the returning visitors, as they are not familiar with your brand.

10. Device Type

The bounce rate can vary from device to device. For example, if your website is not mobile-friendly then the mobile traffic to your website is going to have a high bounce rate.

How to analyze and report the bounce rate metric?

You analyze and report the bounce rate metric in the same way, you analyze and report the conversion rates i.e. by segmenting bounce rate and reporting bounce rate for each traffic source.

So the questions that you should be asking now, are:

Q1. What is the bounce rate of traffic from organic search campaigns?

Q2. What is the bounce rate of traffic from PPC campaigns?

Q3. What is the bounce rate of traffic from a particular website referral?

Q4. What is the bounce rate of traffic from email campaigns?

Q5. What is the bounce rate of traffic from mobile devices?

and not

Q What is the bounce rate of my website?

Why bounce rate is an important metric to consider?

The number 1 way to optimize your website conversion rate is by asking the right questions.

Why is my conversion rate so low?

That is the wrong question.

Why is my bounce rate so high?

That is the right question.

Your conversion rate is low because the majority of people come and leave your website without completing the actions/goals you desired (like making a purchase).

User engagement is the key to making your business more profitable. Unique visitors won’t make your business more profitable, engaged visitors will. If you can figure out exactly why people come and leave then you are one step closer to getting a high conversion rate.

One of the most effective ways to optimize your conversion rate is to optimize your bounce rate. Through the bounce rate, you can effectively measure the quality of traffic on your website.

If you are getting crappy traffic through a marketing channel (SEO, PPC, email, display, etc.) then bounce rate will be the first to shout loud and alert you. Then it all depends upon you, how you interpret this metric, and take actions.

The bounce rate can be a powerful metric to measure the quality of traffic to your website or landing pages.

What is a good bounce rate in Google Analytics? (the acceptable bounce rate)

If I have to do gross generalization then bounce rate between 20% to 50% is generally considered as good. However, the definition of a good bounce rate can vary from website to website, traffic source to traffic source, device to device, and from industry to industry.

For example, it is common for blogs, news, and publishing websites to have a bounce rate of 70% or higher.

However, this is still considered as a good bounce rate because most visitors generally come to the website to read the latest news/article and then leave the website from the landing page as there is no need to browse any further.

So such websites are getting conversions (articles being read) even through bounced visits.

But the same cannot be said about other industries like Finance.

For example, if you run a website which provides ‘car insurance’ and your website bounce rate is 70% then it is considered as a bad bounce rate because if 70% of people come and leave your website without submitting a quote/lead (for car insurance) then you can not generate many sales.

The bounce rate of a website depends upon many factors from users’ intent, visitor type, website type, industry, landing pages to the device (desktop, mobile, tablet) being used to access your website.

So the bounce rate which is considered good in one industry may be considered bad in another industry and vice versa. Similarly, the bounce rate which is good for one website may be bad for another website and vice versa.

What is a bad bounce rate in Google Analytics?

A high bounce rate (higher than 60%) is generally considered as a bad bounce rate in Google Analytics. You should be bothered about a high bounce rate. Here is one strong reason:

A high bounce rate generally indicates that site entrance pages aren’t relevant to your website visitors.

If site entrance pages are not relevant to your visitors then you can’t expect any conversion, sales, or leads. If people are not sticking around on your website then it is highly unlikely that they will make a purchase or complete any other conversion.

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However, the definition of a bad bounce rate can also vary from website to website, traffic source to traffic source, device to device, and from industry to industry.

So the bounce rate which is considered bad in one industry may be considered good in another industry and vice versa.

But if your website bounce rate is very low…below 20% or worse 0%…. or extremely high say 100% then it is considered as bad bounce rate not necessarily because it is bad for your website conversions but likely because of some technical issues.

There could be some issue with your tracking code implementation or maybe some other website issue which is resulting in more than one GIF request being sent to GA server in a single page web session.

Hence Google Analytics is not counting such visits as a ‘bounce’.

How does Google Analytics calculate bounce rate? (formula for bounce rate calculation)

Google Analytics calculates the bounce rate of a web page and bounce rate of a website.

Bounce rate of a web page = total number of bounces on a page (in a given time period) / total number of entrances on the page (in the same time period)

Bounces are the number of single page visits resulting from a page and in each visit, only one GIF request is sent to the Google Analytics Server.

Entrances are the number of times visitors entered your site on the page.

Bounce rate of a website = total number of bounces across all the pages on the website (in a given time period) / total number of entrances across all the pages on the website (in the same time period)

 

Bounce Rate in Google Analytics

Bounce Rate in Google Analytics (The Classic Old view where you can actually see the number of entrances and bounces. This view is no longer available.)

# The bounce rate of the page 1 is calculated as: [total bounces (2070)/total entrances (2424)] *100 = 85.40%

# The bounce rate of the home page ( / ) is calculated as: [total bounces (171)/total entrances (416)] *100 = 41.11%

# The bounce rate of the website is calculated as: [total bounces (4039)/total entrances (5400)] *100 = 74.80%

From the calculations above, we can conclude that:

The bounce rate of a web page/website has nothing to do with ‘Time spent on a web page/website’ (a common misconception about marketers and webmasters).

10 main reasons for high Bounce Rate in Google Analytics

Following are the main common causes of a high website bounce rate (as reported by Google Analytics):

#1 Your website is getting the traffic that has nothing to do with the products/services you sell.

#2 Your landing page is not visually appealing.

#3 Your landing page takes forever to load.

#4 Your landing page does not satisfy your visitor’s query.

#5 There is no need to explore your website further.

#6 You are not keeping your promise.

#7 The content on your landing pages is hard to consume.

#8 Your website is using a lot of Ajax/Flash-based contents.

#9 If your website is purely Flash-based then it is most likely to have a 100% bounce rate.

#10 Your website is getting a lot of referrer spam and other fake traffic.

#1 Your website is getting the traffic that has nothing to do with the products/services you sell.

So if the people who are visiting your website are not your target audience then they won’t be interested in the contents on your landing pages and are likely to bounce.

#2 Your landing page is not visually appealing.

You landing page is not visually appealing if it is full of ads, cluttered with text, looks spammy, doesn’t have clear ‘call to action’, etc.

When people do not find a landing page visually appealing they usually bounce.

#3 Your landing page takes forever to load.

If your landing page is taking say 10-20 seconds to load then most people will bounce from your website.

#4 Your landing page does not satisfy your visitor’s query.

If you are getting the right traffic but your landing page does not satisfy the visitor’s query then your website visitors are going to bounce the moment they arrive on your website.

Don’t let your users see something unexpected or unrelated to what they came for.

#5 There is no need to explore your website further.

Every visitor who comes to your website has some purpose (like looking for particular information, making a purchase, etc).

When this purpose is solved or unsolved, he leaves the website unless you give him some other purpose to browse your website further.

#6 You are not keeping your promise.

For example, in your ad copy, you promised to provide free ebook on SEO. But when people arrived on your website they could not find the free ebook to download.

When you break your promise, people immediately leave your website.

#7 The content on your landing pages is hard to consume.

Your content is hard to consume if it is not skimmable, full of jargon, spelling mistakes and or are takes a lot of time to read in one sitting.

#8 Your website is using a lot of Ajax/Flash-based contents.

In the case of Ajax/Flash-based contents, a lot of user interactions take place on a single web page. So a lot of times, your users don’t need to browse another page(s) on your website.

Consequently, the bounce rate tends to be very high for websites that use a lot of Ajax/Flash-based contents.

#9 If your website is purely Flash-based then it is most likely to have a 100% bounce rate.

#10 Your website is getting a lot of referrer spam and other fake traffic.

In the context of Google Analytics, fake traffic is defined as one or more fake hits sent to your GA property. Referrers with 100% or 0% bounce rate and 10 or more sessions are most likely spam referrers.

Reason of very low bounce rate in Google Analytics

Bounce rate is the percentage of single page visits in which only one GIF request is sent to the Google Analytics server. Bounce rate can horribly mislead you if you don’t know how to interpret it correctly.

A high bounce rate is not always bad and sometimes even a very low bounce rate can be bad.

A very low bounce rate like 10% means that there is probably something wrong with your website tracking. Anything below 20% is generally a cause for concern.

Most likely your event tracking set up is skewing your bounce rate metrics in Google Analytics by sending more than one GIF request to the Google Analytics server in a single page session. Hence Google Analytics is not considering such visits as a ‘bounce’.

When a single page visit is not treated as a bounce, it lowers the website bounce rate

In order to truly understand the reasons for the low bounce rate, it is very important that you are absolutely clear about what is counted as bounce and what is not counted as bounce by Google Analytics.

In any scenario, in which more than one GIF request is made in a GA session (also called visit), the visit will not be treated as bounce by Google Analytics, even if the visit is a single page visit.

In the following scenarios, Google Analytics may not count a single page visit as a bounce:

  1. Event Tracking
  2. Social Interaction Tracking
  3. Auto Execution of Tracked Events
  4. Multiple duplicate Google Analytics Tracking Code firing on a web page

Scenario #1: A visitor lands on your website and triggers an event (that is being tracked via event tracking code) and then leaves the website from the landing page without browsing any further (Event Tracking).

For example, a visitor landed on a web page of your website, clicked on the video ‘play’ button (which you are tracking via event tracking code), and then left the website from the landing page without browsing any further.

The reason why Google will not treat this single page visit as a bounce is because two GIF requests were made during the session.

One GIF request was made by the Google Analytics tracking code (to send the pageview data) and the second GIF request was made by the event tracking code (to send the details of the tracked event like the number of clicks on the video ‘play’ button).

Needless to say, if you have implemented an event tracking code on web pages, it can dramatically reduce the bounce rate of your web pages and even your whole website.

So you need to keep this in mind when you are analyzing the bounce rate of a web page.

Scenario #2: A visitor lands on your website and triggers a social event (that is being tracked via social interaction analytics tracking code) and then leave the website from the landing page without browsing any further (Social Interactions Tracking).

For example, a visitor landed on a web page of your website, read a blog post, shared it via social sharing button (which is being tracked), and then left the website from the landing page without browsing any further.

The reason why Google will not treat this single page visit as a bounce is because two GIF requests were made during the GA session.

One GIF request was made by the Google Analytics tracking code (to send the pageview data) and the second GIF request was made by the social interaction analytics tracking code (to send social interaction data).

 

Scenario #3: In case, a tracked event is automatically executed, each time a page is loaded by a web browser then the single page visit won’t be considered as bounce, as more than one GIF request has been made (Auto execution of tracked events).

For example, if you visit a web page and the video embed on the page automatically starts playing and you are tracking the click on the play button via event tracking code then more than one GIF request will be made.

One request will be made by the Google Analytics Tracking Code and the second GIF request will be made by the event tracking code.

 

Scenario #4: Multiple duplicate Google Analytics Tracking Code firing on a web page

If a web page contains more than once instance of the same Google Analytics tracking code (like one tracking code in the header and one in the footer) then at least two GIF requests will be made. Consequently, the single page visit won’t be treated as a bounce. So make sure you have only one Google analytics tracking code firing on your web pages.

100% Bounce Rate in Google Analytics Explained

If Google Analytics is reporting 100% bounce rate then it means that every single person who visited your landing page left your website from the landing page without browsing any further. However, this is not always the case.

Following are the main reasons why Google Analytics is reporting 100% bounce rate:

#1 Your website is purely flash-based. In the case of a purely flash-based website, the bounce rate will be 100% all the time (provided the user interactions are not tracked with virtual pageviews or event tracking).

#2 You have a single page website.  If your website has only one page then your users can not browse other pages on your website. In that case, Google Analytics will always report a 100% bounce rate.

#3 You are getting lot of bot traffic to your website. Referrers with a 100% bounce rate are most likely spam referrers.

#4 Your landing page is using ajax/flash-based content where all user interactions take place on a single web page. So if your users don’t need to browse another page(s) on your website then the bounce rate will be 100% all the time.

Is high Google Analytics Bounce Rate always bad?

Bounce rate is the percentage of single page visits (or sessions) in which a person leaves your website from the landing page without browsing any further. Bounce rate can horribly mislead you if you don’t know how to interpret it correctly.

A high bounce rate is not always bad and sometimes even a very low bounce rate can be bad. Whether a high bounce rate is considered bad or normal depends upon your industry/niche.

For example, it is common for blogs, news, and publishing websites to have a bounce rate of 70% or higher.

If your landing page fully satisfies your users’ query and there is no reason to browse your website further, it is going to have a very high bounce rate. But that does not mean that it is not performing well.

For example, a person looking for information on your company may leave your website from the landing page if the landing page fully satisfies his query about your company.

So if visiting the ‘About us’ page is one of your goals then you can get a 100% conversion rate but with a 100% bounce rate. This is one of the reasons why even top landing pages have a high bounce rate.

0% Bounce Rate in Google Analytics Explained

If Google Analytics is reporting 0% bounce rate then it means that every single person who visited your landing page browsed other pages of your website. However, this is generally not the case.

Most likely there is some tracking issue because of which Google Analytics is reporting 0% bounce rate.  Event tracking is known to negatively impact the bounce rate.

If you don’t want your event tracking implementation to negatively affect the bounce rate calculations of your web pages/website then set ‘nonInteraction’ to true or 1.

The ‘nonInteraction’ event is used to designate an event as interactive or non-interactive. This field object can have a value of true or false.

The default value is false, which means by default an event is considered as interactive and it impacts the bounce rate calculations. If you want to make an event non-interactive so that it doesn’t impact the bounce rate calculations then set the nonInteraction value to true.

The {‘nonInteraction’: true} is used to designate an event as non-interactive. You can also use {‘nonInteraction’: 1} to designate an event as non-interactive.

For example:

If you are using the analytics.js library:

ga(‘send’,’event’,’videos’,’Play’,’chappy’,100, {‘nonInteraction’: 1});

ga(‘send’,’event’,’videos’,’Play’,’chappy’,100, {‘nonInteraction’: true});

If you are using the gtag.js library:

gtag(‘event’, ‘Play’, {
‘event_label’: ‘chappy’,
‘event_category’: ‘videos’,
‘value’: 100,
‘non_interaction’: 1
});

gtag(‘event’, ‘Play’, {
‘event_label’: ‘chappy’,
‘event_category’: ‘videos’,
‘value’: 100,
‘non_interaction’: true
});

For Google Tag Manager:

Step-1: Login to your Google Tag Manager account.

Step-2: Edit a tag of type ‘Event’.

Step-3: Set ‘Non-Interaction Hit’ to ‘True’:

Step-4: Save the tag.

11 methods to reduce Bounce Rate in Google Analytics

Following are 11 methods to lower the bounce rate of your website/landing pages:

#1 Adjust the bounce rate of your website

#2 Reduce the bounce rate of the web pages in the profit index

#3 Stop targeting keywords/marketing channels which are sending low-value traffic

#4 Create landing pages which satisfy visitor’s query

#5 Create landing pages which prominently display your call to action

#6 Make your call to action relevant to your landing page

#7 Develop contents which can be consumed in a short span of time

#8 Use Virtual Pageviews or Event Tracking for Ajax/Flash-based content

#9 Create landing pages which are visually appealing and load fast

#10 Develop a need to explore your website further

#11 Run page level surveys

Method #1. Adjust the bounce rate of your website

The most powerful way to reduce bounce rate is to adjust it by calculating the time spent on a page.

This way, you can get a true bounce rate.

There are many situations in which you can get conversions through bounced visits. For example, it is pretty common in case of blogs, news and publishing sites for the visitors to come and leave from the landing page without browsing any further.

These visitors generally come to the website to read the latest news/article and then leave the website from the landing page as there is no need to browse any further. But since the visits are single page visits, Google Analytics will show a 100% bounce rate.

When a visitor converts on your website then his visit should not be counted as a bounce even if that visit is a single page visit. This is because our primary reason for running a website is to get conversions and not to optimize bounce rates.

That is why you need to adjust your bounce rate.

Once the adjustment has been made, you will see a drastic reduction in your site’s bounce rate esp. if you run a blog, news or publishing website.

You can learn more about adjusting your bounce rate from the articles below:

  1. Adjusting Bounce Rate in Google Analytics
  2. Adjusting Bounce Rate via Google Tag Manager

Method #2. Reduce the bounce rate of the web pages in the profit index

Profit index is a database of all the profitable pages on your website.

Profit index contains all those web pages which are most frequently viewed prior to conversions or transactions. If these web pages have got a high bounce rate then it is going to significantly impact the conversion volume and conversion rate of your website.

You need to reduce the bounce rate of the pages in the profit index in order to improve conversions.

Without profit index, you will remain busy optimizing the bounce rate of a large volume of random webpages which may or may not impact your business bottom-line.

But when you are using profit index, you are guaranteed that your bounce rate optimization is going to impact the business bottom-line.

If you are not sure how to create profit index in Google Analytics then check out this article: Google Analytics For Content Marketing – Advanced Content Analysis

Once you have created profit index and go to profit index report in Google Analytics and sort the table in decreasing order of Page Value:

Now click on the ‘compare to site average’ button at the top right of your Profit Index report:

 

Select ‘Bounce Rate’ from the drop-down menu:

Your report should now look like the one below:

From the screenshot above we can conclude that there is one web page in the top 10 pages whose bounce is way higher than the website average. You now need to find the reason for such a high bounce rate.

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Method #3. Stop targeting keywords/marketing channels which are sending low-value traffic

If your website is getting the traffic which has nothing to do with the products/services you sell then the website visitors are going to bounce the moment they arrive on your website.

Determine the traffic sources which are sending poor quality traffic and then either stop the campaign or target the right keywords/ landing pages.

Method #4. Create landing pages which satisfy visitor’s query

If you are getting the right traffic but your landing page does not satisfy the visitor’s query then the website visitors are going to bounce the moment they arrive on your website.

For example, a visitor is looking for information on ‘courses on business management in London’ and if your landing page gives general information about business management courses then the visitor is likely to bounce.

Method #5. Create landing pages which prominently display your call to action

If your landing pages lack a ‘Call to Action’ (CTA) or do not prominently display a CTA, then you will have a hard time keeping visitors on your website.

Headings, sub-headings, and directional clues (to guide visitors to your CTA) are excellent ways of prominently displaying your CTA.

For example, this blog post is about reducing bounce rate and this is prominently displayed through h2 heading.

Method #6. Make your call to action relevant to your landing page

Your call to action (CTA) can cause users to come to your website but then bounce.

For example, if your banner ad on a website reads ‘Download your free SEO book now’ but then on a click takes a visitor to the home page of the site instead of the landing page which offers free download then expect a high number of bounces.

This call to action can be in the form of a button, banner, video or link. In the case of organic search, the call to action can be in the form of title tag and meta description tag of the landing page. In the case of paid search (like Google Ads) the call to action can be in the form of title and description of your ad copy.

You need to fulfill the promise you made to your website visitors in your search engine listing/ad copy or expect a high bounce rate.

So make sure that your CTA is relevant to your landing page.

Method #7. Develop contents which can be consumed in a short span of time

If your landing page perfectly satisfies the visitor’s query but the content on the landing page is hard to consume in a short span of time then expect a high bounce rate.

Even if some visitors are still interested in your content, they are still most likely to bounce as they may bookmark your page and choose to return later in a different visit to consume the rest of the contents. So aim to develop contents that can be consumed in a short span of time.

Method #8. Use Virtual Pageviews or Event Tracking for Ajax/Flash-based content

In the case of Ajax/Flash-based contents/website, a lot of user interaction (like clicking on an image/link; loading of a page/flash video/pop up, etc) takes place on a single web page. So in the majority of cases, users do not need to browse another page(s) on your website. Consequently, the bounce rate is very high.

In the case of a purely Flash-based website, the bounce rate will be 100% all the time provided the user interactions are not tracked with virtual pageviews or event tracking. So you need to track user interactions through virtual pageviews or event tracking.

Method #9. Create landing pages which are visually appealing and load fast

According to recent research, a visitor decides in 8 seconds or less whether to stay or leave your website.

Following are some of the main reason people leave your website from the landing page without browsing any further:

# Poor webpage design (use of poor contrast: like a black background, yellow text)

# Poor navigation

# Not using a responsive layout. So landing pages become hard to read on devices with different screen resolutions.

# Cluttering of ads or too many ads above the fold.

# Too much text

# Poor formatting (not using bold, italics, underline, etc)

# Little to no spacing between lines and paragraphs.

# Lack of headings and sub-headings. Your very first headline must highlight the benefit of reading any further.

# Landing pages that take forever to download. If this is the case then expect 100% bounce rate all the time.

# Audio/video contents that auto-play as soon as the page loads. This is very annoying for visitors. Avoid it at all costs.

Use a tool like ‘optimizely‘ to test different versions of your headings and landing pages.

Method #10. Develop a need to explore your website further

Every visitor who comes to your website has some purpose (like looking for particular information, making a purchase, etc). When this purpose is solved or unsolved, he leaves the website unless you give him some other purpose to browse your website further.

For example, a person looking for information on your company may leave your website from the landing page if the landing page fully satisfies his query about your company.

So if visiting the ‘About us’ page is one of your goals then you can get a 100% conversion rate but with a 100% bounce rate. This is one of the reasons why even top landing pages have a high bounce rate.

Whether or not your landing page satisfies the visitor’s intent, you must always provide a few more options to continue browsing. 

For example, “If you like this article you may like these articles too” or “similar products” or “related posts” etc.

Similarly, provide options to continue browsing ‘post-sales’ like by placing links to browse further on the ‘thank you’ page or the ‘Order confirmation page’. 

Method #11. Run page level surveys

If everything else fails and you can’t figure out what is wrong with your landing pages then you need to run page level surveys.

You can also add a thumbs up and thumb down button at the bottom of the landing pages (which don’t require a login to be used) to get instant feedback from visitors regarding their reason for bounces.

If your landing page has got a lot of thumbs down, then there is a problem with the content quality. Use a customer feedback tool like Qualaroo to get instant feedback through page level surveys.

Difference between Bounce Rate and Exit Rate in Google Analytics

Bounce rate and exit rate metrics in Google Analytics are often used interchangeably. But they are not the one and the same thing.

Bounce rate is the percentage of single page GA sessions in which a person leaves your website from the landing page (entry page) without browsing any further.  Whereas exit rate is the percentage of exits on a page.

Bounce rate applies to the entry page (the first page a person visits when he lands on your website). Whereas, exit rate applies to the exit page (the page from which a visitor leaves your website). In the case of the exit rate, it is not necessary for a visitor to leave the website from the entry page. He may have browsed a lot of web pages prior to his exit.

Google Analytics report on the bounce rate of a web page and bounce rate of a website. Similarly, Google Analytics report on the exit rate of a web page and exit rate of a website.

Bounce rate of a web page = total number of bounces on a page / total number of entrances on the page 

Here,

Bounces are the number of GA sessions that ended with an entry page.

Entrances are the number of GA sessions that started with a page (also called the entry page).

Exit rate of a web page = total number of exits on a page / total number of unique pageviews recorded for the page 

Here,

Exits are the number of GA sessions that ended with a page.

Consider the following single sessions days on your website:

Monday: Page A > Page B > Page C > Exit

Tuesday: Page A > Exit

Wednesday: Page B > Page C > Page A > Exit

Thursday: Page A > Page B > Exit

Bounce Rate and Exit Rate calculations for Page ‘A’

Number of entrances for page ‘A’ (i.e. number of GA sessions that started with page ‘A’) = 3

Monday: Page A > Page B > Page C > Exit

Tuesday: Page A > Exit

Thursday: Page A > Page B > Exit

Number of exits for page ‘A’ (i.e. number of GA sessions that ended with page ‘A’) = 2

Tuesday: Page A > Exit

Wednesday: Page B > Page C > Page A > Exit

Number of bounces for page ‘A’ (i.e. number of GA sessions that ended with page ‘A’ as the entry page) = 1

Tuesday: Page A > Exit

Number of unique pageviews for page ‘A’ = 4

Monday: Page A > Page B > Page C > Exit

Tuesday: Page A > Exit

Wednesday: Page B > Page C > Page A > Exit

Thursday: Page A > Page B > Exit

Page ‘A’ Bounce Rate = Number of bounces for page ‘A’ / Number of entrances for page ‘A’ = 1 / 3 = 33%

Page ‘A’ Exit Rate = Number of exits for page ‘A’ / Number of unique pageviews for page ‘A’ = 2 / 4 = 50%

Bounce Rate and Exit Rate calculations for Page ‘B’

Number of entrances for page ‘B’ (i.e. number of GA sessions that started with page ‘B’) = 1

Wednesday: Page B > Page C > Page A > Exit

Number of exits for page ‘B’ (i.e. number of GA sessions that ended with page ‘B’) = 1

Thursday: Page A > Page B > Exit

Number of bounces for page ‘B’ (i.e. number of GA sessions that ended with page ‘B’ as the entry page) = 0

Number of unique pageviews for page ‘B’ = 3

Monday: Page A > Page B > Page C > Exit

Wednesday: Page B > Page C > Page A > Exit

Thursday: Page A > Page B > Exit

Page ‘B’ Bounce Rate = Number of bounces for page ‘B’ / Number of entrances for page ‘B’ = 0 / 1 = 0%

Page ‘B’ Exit Rate = Number of exits for page ‘B’ / Number of unique pageviews for page ‘B’ = 1 / 3 = 33%

Bounce Rate and Exit Rate calculations for Page ‘C’

Number of entrances for page ‘C’ (i.e. number of GA sessions that started with page ‘C’) = 0

Number of exits for page ‘C’ (i.e. number of GA sessions that ended with page ‘C’) = 1

Monday: Page A > Page B > Page C > Exit

Number of bounces for page ‘C’ (i.e. number of GA sessions that ended with page ‘C’ as the entry page) = 0

Number of unique pageviews for page ‘C’ = 2

Monday: Page A > Page B > Page C > Exit

Wednesday: Page B > Page C > Page A > Exit

Page ‘C’ Bounce Rate = Number of bounces for page ‘C’ / Number of entrances for page ‘C’ = 0 / 0 = 0%

Page ‘C’ Exit Rate = Number of exits for page ‘C’ / Number of unique pageviews for page ‘C’ = 1 / 2 = 50%

Other articles related to Google Analytics Bounce Rate

Frequently Asked Questions About Bounce Rate

Does a bounce count as a session?

In Google Analytics, a bounce is counted as a session that triggers a single GIF request to the Google Analytics server.

Does bounce rate include scrolling?

Yes provided the scroll tracking is being tracked via Event tracking and the nonInteraction' is set to false. By default event tracking negatively impacts the bounce rate calculations.

Does Bounce Rate Affect SEO?

No bounce rate does not directly affect your website rankings.

How can I exclude event tracking from impacting bounce rate calculations?

If you don’t want your event tracking implementation to affect the bounce rate calculations of your web pages/website then set ‘nonInteraction’ to true or 1.

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Himanshu Sharma

Digital Marketing Consultant and Founder of Optimizesmart.com

Himanshu helps business owners and marketing professionals in generating more sales and ROI by fixing their website tracking issues, helping them understand their true customers' purchase journey and helping them determine the most effective marketing channels for investment.

He has over 12 years of experience in digital analytics and digital marketing.

He was nominated for the Digital Analytics Association's Awards for Excellence. The Digital Analytics Association is a world-renowned not-for-profit association that helps organisations overcome the challenges of data acquisition and application.

He is the author of four best-selling books on analytics and conversion optimization:

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