There are many metrics in Google Analytics. The bounce rate is among the most prominent, but it’s also among the most misunderstood. In this post, I will address the bounce rate metric and provide guidance in using it.

Google Analytics includes “Bounce Rate” in many reports under “Audience,” including Audience > Overview.

Audience > Overview.

Bounce Rate is also reported in the “Acquisition” reports.

Bounce Rate is also reported in the
Bounce Rate is also reported in the “Acquisition” reports.

Google Analytics records a bounce whenever a user lands on a page of a website and exits the site without additional engagement hits. Typically, this means the user does not proceed to another page. But engagement hits can also be Events, Ecommerce Actions, and Ecommerce Transactions. All impact the bounce rate.

Analyzing Bounce Rate

I’m frequently asked, “What is an acceptable bounce rate?” Online merchants should keep the bounce rate as low as possible for all traffic, especially paid traffic. Bounce rates over 50 percent typically equate to low conversion rates. But merchants should investigate even a 30 percent bounce rate, especially, again, for paid traffic.

There are exceptions.

Say a user lands on an ecommerce product page and decides to purchase the product. But she wants to call the merchant first. She may purchase over the phone, complete the call, and leave the site without generating another hit. Google Analytics would report this as a bounce. But it was a fantastic session because it resulted in a sale!

Time on Page

High bounce rates will always correspond to a low “Avg. Time on Page” since Google Analytics records Bounce Rate as the percentage of visitors who access a page and leave without navigating to another page or without tripping another engagement metric. A visitor can spend, say, 15 minutes on a single page but if he does not access another page or record an…