Google Analytics can benefit businesses and marketers who recognize the importance of web traffic and internet marketing tools, but who do not have the proper instruments to calculate return on investment (Tietbohl, 2021). Engagement metrics offered by Google Analytics provide insight into how often users visit a website and how many pages they are visiting. For example, marketers who don’t see a lot of follow-through on their ad campaign may use engagement metrics to determine where customers are exiting the website.
These are four Google Analytics metrics related to engagement, as defined by Tietbohl (2021):
- A Page Exit Ratio is calculated as the number of exits / number of page views for a page.
- Bounces are single page visits to a website.
- A page’s Bounce Rate is the percentage of visitors that leave the website after viewing only that page.
- Pages Per Session is the number of pages visited on average by users.
The Page Exit Ratio indicates how often visitors exit the site after visiting any number of pages on the website (Hotjar, 2020). By monitoring exits, businesses can come to understand the performance of specific pages or groups of pages (Hotjar, 2020). A high Page Exit Ratio may signal a need for improvements on a page, such as better navigation, (Hotjar, 2020), or it could simply mean that visitors are finding what they came for quickly.
A Google Analytics Bounce Rate is the percentage of visitors that leave a website after viewing just one page (Willson, 2020). A high bounce rate may not necessarily be a negative thing and can even happen when a user idles for more than half an hour (Willson, 2020). Depending on website and business goals, a high Bounce Rate may be positive, a low Bounce Rate negative, or vice versa. Typically, a Bounce Rate of 25% or lower could signal a broken webpage or feature, while a Bounce Rate of 70% or higher could also signal something is broken (Willson, 2020). The average Bounce Rate for a website is between 26% and 70%, with the average at 41-55% (Willson, 2020).
Pages Per Session is a metric calculated by dividing the number of page views by the total number of sessions (Malnik, 2020). This metric is especially helpful to marketers that want to increase profits by getting more eyes and more time spent on a website (Malnik, 2020). To dig further into Pages Per Session, Google Analytics provides a breakdown to see which traffic source is bringing in the most engaged users (Malnik, 2020), such as search, social media, or an affiliate link. Malnik (2020) recommends that Pages Per Session be tracked on a line graph to show daily fluctuations in comparison to business milestones, such as sending an email promotion, website redesign, or an influencer retweet.
A number of technical and user experience optimization steps exist that can reduce a bounce rate and increase the number of pages per session (Malnik, 2020). But as Malnik (2020) states: “at the core of bounce rate and low page per session rates is the relevancy (or irrelevancy) of content that you are serving visitors.”
Hotjar. (2020, November 20). Exits and exit rate in Google Analytics. Retrieved from: https://www.hotjar.com/google-analytics/glossary/exits/
Malnik, J. (2020, June 23) What is ‘Pages Per Session’ in Google Analytics & How Do I Increase It? Retrieved from: https://databox.com/what-is-pages-per-session-and-how-do-i-improve-it
Tietbohl, M. (2021). Intro to web analytics and the basics of web analytics [Online]. Retrieved from https://ecampus.wvu.edu/webapps/blackboard/execute/displayLearningUnit?course_id=_155927_1&content_id=_7582539_1&framesetWrapped=true
Willson, A. (2020, November 14). 13 Reasons Your Website Can Have a High Bounce Rate. Retrieved from: https://www.searchenginejournal.com/website-bounce-rate/332439/