Web Analytics - Determining Bounce Rate

If you are a fellow blogger or Webmaster then read on, because this might interest you somewhat. When I first started out blogging, I added Google Analytics to my site to track visitors and stats. It's a great free tool and generally a really accurate service, and I'm certain that millions of people use this service. However, one of the things that I found was that my bounce rate was unusually high. It was and still is sitting at around 80%.

Bounce Rate

Now, if you aren't really familiar with bounce rates Wikipedia gives a great description of this.

"Bounce rate (sometimes confused with exit rate) is a term used in web site traffic analysis. It essentially represents the percentage of initial visitors to a site who "bounce" away to a different site, rather than continue on to other pages within the same site."

The formula used to calculate bounce rate is:

Bounce Rate = Total Number of Visits Viewing Only One Page / Total Number of Visits

Having a high Bounce Rate made me think the articles I was writing weren't getting read - or even worse people were just leaving as soon as they saw the content! A while later, I read a post by Dave Ward at Encosia entitled "How 30 seconds dropped my bounce rate by 78%". In it he explains how bounce rates are measured by Google analytics. For example, if you spend five minutes reading this single post and then leave the site, Google Analytics will report your visit the same as if you left instantly. Now, if you are a blogger - this could make your statistics appear as if people aren't bothering to read your articles. However, if Google or any other site analytics package sent a second request to calculate how long you actually spent on a page, this would make your results appear dramatically different.

After following his advice, I decided to setup and run the same stats provider alongside my Google Analytics tracker. The provider that he uses is called GetClicky. GetClicky is a real time web analytics service - this means that when you login and view your stats, you are seeing up to the minute data on the traffic to your web site. They also use a client side tracking code to "ping" the site every now and then and check if the user is still viewing the page. So, instead of relying on a second page view to calculate bounce rates, it uses the "pinging" instead. After a few months of running the two stats services alongside, this is the difference that I noticed:


Google Bounce Rate


GetClicky Bounce Rate

That's quite a remarkable difference! I definitely recommend trying this service out and seeing if you notice any improvements on your bounce rate. I'm not advising against the use of Google Analytics (I still use it), but if you are getting a low bounce rate on your Google Analytics results you might want to try out this service!