Bounce Rate
January 06, 2023 By Kevin Milnes

Ding Dong the Bounce Rate is Dead


Find out why you should abandon bounce rate and use Google Analytics 4’s engagement rate instead.

Here at Liberandum Digital we have never been a big fan of looking too much at bounce rates, despite the fact that it is still the obsession of many marketing departments. So we were delighted to hear that Google Analytics 4 is replacing it with the slightly more positive sounding Engagement Rate. Find out all about Engagement Rate and why we think you should stop looking at your bounce rates.

What is Engagement Rate in GA4?

Engagement rate is simply the percentage of people on your website that do something and is the inverse of bounce rate. For example if someone visits your homepage and does something that would trigger an event, such as clicking on a link, then they would count as engaged and your engagement rate would go up.

Is Bounce Rate still relevant?

OK, at first glance this just looks like a glass half full vs glass half empty debate, but we think focusing on engagement rate will help keep your actions aligned with what your users actually want.

It focuses your actions on increasing engagement and getting the customer to do something positive. The obsession with bounce rate puts you in the mindset that the objective is to just get them to ‘stop’ doing something (i.e. bouncing), rather than to do something (i.e. engage) and this has led to websites introducing bizarre features such as the ‘continue reading’ button.

Bounce rate has been around for a long time and originally just measured the number of people that only viewed a single page before leaving your site. In fact, Universal Analytics still measures bounce rate in this way, unless you set up custom events to track things other than page views. Thankfully this is a thing of the past with GA4, as it will start tracking things like the user downloading a file, reaching the bottom of a page, playing a video or performing a site search without you needing to lift a finger.

We also think that bounce rates have created a bit of complacy in terms of what is considered OK. A good bounce rate is somewhere between 26 and 40 percent and the abstract nature of the metric leads people to think this is good enough. However, flip it the other way and say that only 60 to 74% of people that visit your website do anything and I doubt very much that you will accept it and stop trying to improve things.

Should we not just focus on conversions?

True, your end goal is unlikely to be pure engagement and more likely to be getting someone to purchase, sign up or to contact you. However, GA4 encourages us to think about our customer journeys over time and are not just based on a single visit. Sure, some people might visit and convert in a single visit, but most will make a decision over time. Tracking and acting on your engagement rate, helps you to make sure you are doing a good job at the ‘hello stage’. You will have put a lot of effort (and probably marketing money) into getting people to your site, so you want to make sure they don’t leave empty handed and unsatisfied.

Use engagement rate as part of your sales funnel, right at the top, and then track the key steps along the way to your final conversion (e.g. viewing a product/service pages, starting to check out, etc). As long as you keep improving each step, then the success will continue to flow.

Does Google Analytics 4 still report bounce rate?

Still not convinced to stop looking at the bounce rate? Fair enough, we can’t win them all. If you still want to show bounce rate in your GA4 reports, you just need to edit the report in question and add in bounce rate. Just please don’t think about adding that ‘continue reading’ button to get it down.

If you need any help getting the most out of GA4, why not sign up to our GA4 Switch Newsletter and get a free custom exploration report on us.

About Author

Kevin Milnes

Kevin has a unique background in empowering businesses to realise their digital potential using web analytics and digital data. With over 20 years running digital teams and getting the most out of digital analytics, Kevin has worked with brands such as National Express,, Luxury Cottages, Jennifer Young, University of Birmingham, Shearings Holidays, TourHub and Stagecoach.

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