Google Analytics 4 Bounce Rate (GA4)

Google Analytics 4

After months of complaining from frustrated users, you can now find bounce rate in Google Analytics 4.

Bounce rate did not exist in Google Analytics 4 until July 2022.

It was a useful stat in UA because it told you the percentage of users who left your site after viewing a single page and not performing any other activity. This was especially helpful when analyzing inbound search traffic.

Google Universal Analytics Bounce Rate Example
How bounce rate appears in Google Universal Analytics.

Bounce rate, however, has a different definition in Google Analytics 4.


1. GA4 Bounce Rate Definition

  • What is an engaged session in GA4?

2. Bounce Rate Report in GA4

  • Bounce Rate in Customized Reports
  • Bounce Rate in Explore

3. Typical Google Analytics 4 Bounce Rate

4. Why is My Bounce Rate High?

  • Bounce Rate Factors: Any Site or App
  • Bounce Rate Factors: News Publishers
  • Bounce Rate Factors: Shopping

GA4 Bounce Rate Definition

What does bounce rate indicate in Google Analytics 4?

“Bounce rate is the percentage of sessions that were not engaged sessions.”

This means that it’s the inverse of engagement rate. (I recently discussed this in more detail in my newsletter.)

Also see: How To Lower My Bounce Rate in GA4

What is an engaged session in GA4?

A Google Analytics 4 engaged session is one in which a user completes one or more of the following actions:

  1. Spends at least 10 seconds on the site/app
  2. Views two or more screens (app) or pages (web)
  3. Completes one or more conversion event

Therefore if a user did NOT complete one of these actions, they are considered to have “bounced” from your website or app.

Also See: Change Your Engaged Sessions Timer to Something Other Than 10 Seconds

Your bounce rate and your engagement rate should always add up to 100.

For example, if your bounce rate is 45 percent, your engagement rate should be 55 percent. Google calculates this for your automatically, so no action is required.

Bounce Rate Report in GA4

You can find Google Analytics 4 bounce rate data in two places: customized reports and the Explore section.

Bounce Rate in Customized Reports

While in the Reports tab (the first one below the “Home” house on the left sidebar), you can customize most reports. Here’s how:

1. Click the pencil in the top-right portion of the screen

Google Analytics 4 customize reports

2. Click the > across from Metrics

GA4 Customize Report Metrics

3. Click the + Add metric button and scroll down to select bounce rate. (In the following screenshot, I have already added it. You probably won’t see if in your list if you haven’t added it yet)

GA4 custom reports add metric

4. Drag the different metrics from top to bottom to order them. The ones up top will appear the furthest to the left in your report

5. Click the blue Apply button

6. Click the blue Save button and choose one of the two options

GA4 Save Custom Report

You should now see bounce rate in the report you customized. Remember, you can add this (and other custom metrics) to almost any of your Reports in Google Analytics 4.

Bounce Rate in Explore

To add bounce rate to an Exploration, click the + next to METRICS.

Type “bounce rate” into the search bar at the top, check off the box next to it, and click “Import.”

Add Bounce Rate to GA4 Explore Report

You should now be able to use it in your Exploration by adding it from the METRICS section.

Also Read: What is a Bad Bounce Rate Google Analytics 4?

Why is my bounce rate so high?

As discussed, bounce rate is relative to each industry and niche. A high bounce rate for you could be a pipe dream for a competitor.

If you believe your bounce rate is high across many pages on your site, it’s worth addressing.

Remember, a user bouncing in GA4 means they left your site/app in less than 10 seconds without completing a conversion event or going to a second page/screen.

Do You Want a High or Low Bounce Rate?

It’s usually better to have a low bounce rate, but that’s not always the case.

Is a High Bounce Rate Always Bad?

No. It’s possible to have pages with high bounce rates, yet nothing be wrong.

When is a High Bounce Rate Good?

A high bounce rate in Google Analytics can be considered “good” if a user is able to quickly find what they needed on your site or app.

Let’s look at an example.

The USDA website has very little content for its “What is bacon?” page. At the same time, it probably tells most people everything they need to know about the pork product.

A high bounce rate from this page may not necessarily be a problem.

But what if someone searches “best way to cook bacon” because they’re looking for detailed instructions? A high bounce rate here might indicate that your recipe isn’t very helpful.

Here are some reasons why users might be likely to bounce from your site.

Bounce Rate Factors: Any Site or App

You’re probably not the only website or app in the world providing your service or information.

That means users are more impatient than ever to find what they want.

Avoid these pitfalls to decrease your bounce rate:

  • Slow load times
    The longer your page/screen takes to load, the more likely a user is to bounce
  • Too many ads
    Bonus (negative) points if it’s difficult to distinguish the ads from the content
  • Too many popups
    Cookie preference permissions are typical these days. But if someone has to close multiple elements before they can access your content, you’re begging them to leave
  • Autoplay video (with sound!)
    This is one of the worst ways you can “welcome” a user

Bounce Rate Factors: News Publishers

Not only are you competing with other news sites, but also social media, email and real-life interactions.

If a user has come to your site, it’s probably because they want to go deeper on a particular topic. The headline in the push alert wasn’t enough. They’re hungry for quality journalism.

To keep them around – and coming back for more – don’t do these things:

  • Newsletter sign-up popups
    This might be their first time on your site. How do they know they want to subscribe to your newsletter before they even see what you offer?
    Set this to occur after multiple visits, or at least keep it from triggering until they scroll down the page a bit
  • Any other pre-content popup
    Again, aside from legal obligations, like having users accept/reject cookies, don’t put anything between the user and their news
  • Burying the lede
    This isn’t just journalism 101, it’s also bounce rate 101.
    An enticing, draw-you-in opener for a feature story is fine. But if there’s been a big election or a tragic event, don’t leave people guessing about the details. Invert the pyramid and go from there
  • Unappealing layout
    Don’t let your choice of fonts, colors and design distract from the content. Be as minimal as possible, and think of how a user is going to experience the story on a phone, not merely desktop

Also review the list in the previous section, as many news sites are guilty of those errors.

Bounce Rate Factors: Shopping

If you run an ecommerce site, you already know that not every visitor is ready to buy. But that doesn’t mean their bounce rate has to be high, too.

Here are some ways to scare off potential customers:

  • The price was too high
  • The product was out of stock
  • The product wasn’t what the user expected
  • The product page took too long to load
  • You didn’t have their desired size/make/model
  • You didn’t have their desired color(s)

Also See: Experiment with the GA4 Demo Account

Leave a Reply