Bounce Rate in Google Analytics

Every few months of so, I see a (re)tweet pointing to this infographic from KissMetrics. Here’s a snippet:   Kiss Metrics Bounce Rate Infographic (Update: to learn about content engagement and calculating time on page in Google Analytics, see this post).

The thing that frustrates me the most about this infographic is that the definition of Bounce Rate is wrong.   (Well, at least for GA).  Yes, I know that the definition is directly from the Google Analytics Help Center.  But a bounce in Google Analytics is NOT a visit with a single pageview.  A bounce is a visit with a single engagement HIT.  (Justin Cutroni has a great post explaining these hit types and how to understand Google Analytics time calculations based upon undertstanding how these hit types work).  To briefly summarize here, there are currently 6 types of hits that can be sent to the Google Analytics server.
  • Pageviews (sent via _trackPageview)
  • Events (sent via _trackEvent)
  • Ecommerce Items (sent via _addItem)
  • Ecommerce Transactions (sent via _trackTrans)
  • Social (sent via _trackSocial)
  • User Defined deprecated, though functional (sent via _setVar)
As Justin explains, 5 of these hit types are used in calculating some form of engagement, thereby impacting time on page / time on site calculations as well as bounce rate.  With regards to bounce rate in particular, an additional Pageview, Event which hasn’t been set to non-interactionor Social Media share (that is configured to be tracked in GA) are all things that can impact your bounce rate.
Here is an example of why understanding this technical principal is important when it comes analysis.  In the example below, we see that this client’s Paid Search campaigns have a particularly low bounce rate. bounce rate analysis 1 Continue reading Google Analytics Bounce Rate (actually) Demystified