Why The Return of Bounce Rate in Google Analytics 4 Is Good For Marketing
Some metrics still have value despite changes in a marketing dashboard and analytics offerings
You have to love a movie where a character makes a triumphant return. If analytics were a movie, that character is the bounce rate metric. Bounce rate is a diagnostic metric that is used by analytics practitioners to make decisions on poor performing website pages. Changes in Google Analytics placed a spot on the metric and its value in digital marketing planning.
An interesting development among analytic practitioners is the return of the bounce rate metric. Worries among analytics practitioners rose up when Google removed the metric from the first version of the GA update, named GA4.
But the move proved to be temporary, as Google decided to bring back the metric in the latest version of GA4. Google added a few changes to reflect the evolution of measurement. (I reported the impact of its elimination from GA reports in this CMSWire post). The bounce rate metric is now available in Explorations and Reporting Customization in Google Analytics 4.
What is a Bounce Rate?
Bounce rates are a diagnostic metric. They represent the percentage in which a website page is loaded temporarily in a browser. They were first used for determining which pages were being repeatedly reloaded in error — as if they are repeatedly stuck in the browser. This was at first a technical tool for web development. But as the average person increased their reliance on websites for business, the purposes grew.
When websites incorporated retail and commerce features, the function of bounce rates changed to include how well-appreciated people appreciated web page content. To imagine this purpose, think of someone entering a store by accident, then changing their mind immediately and leaving. That is what the bounce rate represented for an eCommerce site.
For a content site structured similarly to a news site, like the Huffington Post, the interpretation of a bounce rate changes. Bounce rate is imagined as someone seeing a page, not appreciating the content, and then changing their leaving. But usually, blogs and…