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Bounce Rate vs. Engagement Rate - Google Analytics 4

Many marketers are - or should be - aware of the shutdown of Google Analytics’ current version in July 2023, replaced by Google Analytics 4. This meteoric change is expected to have a major impact on the SEO industry.

BH&P’s in-house SEO Executive, Hasan, went to a conference on GA4 to dive deeper into this imminent disruption to make sure we, and our clients, are prepared for this change.

He learned about how the platform will be more focused on tracking user experience and, particularly, the shake-up of measuring bounce rate vs. engagement rate in GA4. Here’s what he found:

Key GA4 Learnings from Brighton SEO 2022

 Hasan Mian, SEO Executive, BH&P

At the end of day one of the UK’s largest SEO conference, Brighton SEO, I received some great insight from Krista Seidan during her keynote on ‘Why SEOs should love (not fear) GA4’.

Here are some of the key takeaways from her lecture:

Better Insights with Machine Learning

Google Analytics 4 incorporates the most recent machine learning (ML) models from Google. Machine learning is comprised of a set of features called ‘analytics intelligence’ to help you comprehend and utilize your data more effectively. While it sounds technical, analytics intelligence has super benefits around answering questions on your insights.

Enhanced Visualizations and Reporting

Although the platform's UI has mostly stayed consistent, there are several new visualizations and reporting features. The added reporting visualizations are a game changer. But existing visualizations, and strong favourites like 'Real Time', have been improved and made more interesting too.

The ‘Analysis Hub’ is a major improvement and simplifies more challenging cross-dimensional metric reporting. It includes a template gallery with pre-constructed charts, including those for exploration, funnel analysis, segment overlaps, and path analysis.

User-Centric Engagement Metrics

The new GA4 ‘Acquisition’ view displays the total number of sessions, users, and user and session behavior. With the transition to GA4, this ‘Behavior’ section saw a significant update.

Metrics like bounce rate, page views per sessions, and average duration rate were used by the former Google Universal Analytics' ‘Behavior’ section to display engagement. Now, the new GA4 ‘Behavior’ metrics show actual engagement actions, like clicks, file downloads and scrolls.

Although there are various improvements to GA4, this article covers the new and improved metrics of engagement rate in GA4.

Google Analytics 4. Don't Wait. Get Ready to Migrate_Download Guide

The New and Improved Engagement Metric on GA4

Even as someone who uses these tools daily, the terminology used in website analytics can be perplexing. Do you genuinely understand, and know, what "bounce rate" means? Wouldn't you prefer to see more information on who uses your website and for how long?

Fortunately, tracking and analyzing engagement rate in GA4 offers improved details on what was a fairly vague piece of data previously. Unlike the soon-to-be-obsolete version, Google Analytics 4 now reports on engagement rates rather than bounce rates.

Let’s clarify the differences between bounce rate vs. engagement rate:

Bounce Rate vs. Engagement Rate

A "bounce," as defined by Google, is a single-page session on your website. The percentage of single-page sessions – bounces - among all sessions is the bounce rate.

Analysts used to examine the bounce rate in Universal Analytics, to gauge user engagement and website behaviour. Yet, it's not necessarily the most useful metric to use.

The bounce rate of your website is more crucial if valuable, lead-generating material exists somewhere on your site.

However, there are some websites that don't require users to visit other pages such as blogs. Consider a scenario where a user searches "how to improve SEO rankings”. They click on one of the links on the Google Search Results page and end up on a blog post.

After reading the blog article, the visitor closes the tab. Hey, wait, stick with us!

Even though the user is happy and has received helpful information, this classifies as a bounce. Blogs typically have a very high average bounce rate because of this. According to CXL, blogs' typical bounce rates can range from 65-90%.

Google added the engagement rate metric in Google Analytics' most recent version (GA4). The visitor must have completed at least one of the following actions for the session to be considered an engagement:

  1. Stayed on the web page for more than ten seconds.
  2. Carry out a conversion.
  3. Viewed two or more pages.

By dividing the total number of sessions by the number of engaged sessions, this calculates the engagement rate in GA4.

Bounce Rate vs. Engagement Rate - Google Analytics 4

Engagement Rate in GA4

Bounce rates are now replaced with engagement rates for websites, mobile apps, blogs, and news sources. The number will probably be the opposite of what you're used to because the engagement rate is typically the opposite of the bounce rate.

For instance, the overall average website bounce rate is roughly 70%. After changing to engagement rate, we would anticipate seeing a 30% engagement rate.

It's time to stop worrying about bounce rates and start utilizing GA4’s ‘Engaged Sessions’' for deeper levels of detail to increase engagement rate. You’ll be able to consider how to include more interesting images, information, and calls-to- action, thanks to this more accurate method of measuring website visitors.

If you’re still unsure how Google Analytics 4’s new metrics differ from previous analytics, or how they affect your day-to-day analysis, check out our free, go-to resource for everything GA4.

In this free guide, we break down the changes on all the new metrics and how to get set up to go back to your day-to-day analysis work, stress-free.

Google Analytics 4. Don't Wait. Get Ready to Migrate_Download Guide