Jason Cook

In June’s Third Thursday Tip, Brafton’s Director of Account Management at the West Coast office, Jason Cook, reveals that bounce rate isn’t always the best way to evaluate a page’s content. A lot of variables come into play that require marketers to truly delve into their website analytics. Watch our video below to learn when to and when not to use the traditional bounce rate metric to grade your content campaigns.


When it comes to site metrics, Bounce Rate can be an extremely useful tool for marketers. It not only helps them understand the quality of their traffic, but can help identify quality content on their sites. One thing many marketers may not realize is that the bounce rates they are looking at in Google Analytics may not be telling the whole story.

In Google Analytics, a “bounce” is calculated when a user enters the site and then leaves without visiting another page. For many pages, such as an ecommerce product page, this metric is sufficient in identifying if the content was effective. It’s also a great way to assess the strength of Calls to Action on a page. However, this metric can be highly deceiving.

What if a user comes to the site on a blog post, stays for 5 minutes reading the entire article and learning all about the company, then leaves? Was that visit more successful than someone who came and left without reading any of the article? How about a visitor who comes to a client testimonial on the site, reads through the post, calls the phone number placed as a CTA, but then leaves the page?

Many marketers would identify these situations as highly successful, yet if they looked at the bounce rates of those pages, they would appear as failures. In extreme cases, this bad data could even cause marketers to make changes to content that’s performing well. How can marketers avoid this potential metric pitfall? The answer is ‘Adjusted Bounce Rate’.

Adjusted Bounce RateGoogle has provided a way for webmasters to customize how a bounce is tracked in their profiles. By slightly adjusting the Google Analytics code, marketers can change the definition of their sites bounce to someone who has left the site within a certain time frame of entering, such as 30 seconds. All they need to do is have their webmasters insert an updated line of code on all web pages they want to apply the new bounce rate to.

This new method can help marketers better understand if the content on their site is truly engaging. For those worried that the adjusted bounce rate might affect how they measure their sites’ SEO value – Google’s evaluation process is more sophisticated than how marketers measure their sites analytics. So a minor adjustment to reporting won’t make a difference in how Google decides PageRank.

On a final note, it’s important to review your SEO & Marketing Goals before deciding to move toward an adjusted bounce rate, in order to ensure that the shift indeed supports your current strategy. Check out the code below from the Google Analytics Blog:


  var _gaq = _gaq || [];

  _gaq.push([‘_setAccount’, ‘UA-XXXXXXX-1’]);


  setTimeout(“_gaq.push([‘_trackEvent’, ’30_seconds’, ‘read’])”,30000);


  (function() {

    var ga = document.createElement(‘script’); ga.type = ‘text/javascript’; ga.async = true;

    ga.src = (‘https:’ == document.location.protocol ? ‘https://ssl’ : ‘http://www’) + ‘.google-analytics.com/ga.js’;

    var s = document.getElementsByTagName(‘script’)[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(ga, s);