You’ve likely landed on this page because you’re trying to understand bounce rate in Google Analytics 4.
Well, we have bad news and good news for you.
GA4 doesn’t use bounce rate.
So, if you’re looking to check your bounce rate, well, you can’t.
The good news, though, is that you can use other metrics to track your site’s performance that are much more valuable than bounce rate!
So while Google Analytics 4 has done away with bounce rate they’ve replaced it with a metric called engagement rate that allows you to get similar information about user behavior on your site. But we’ve actually found page value to be even better metrics than both of these options.
As you can see, we’ve raved about the benefits of page value in the past, and now with GA4, the page value metric has become even more important.
So, if you’re looking to understand the value of your website and, more specifically, the individual pages, stop stressing about bounce rate and keep reading to learn about page value.
Bounce Rate Alternatives
First, let’s talk about some different ways to determine how well your site is doing. You've got a lot of different options when it comes to analyzing your success.
Again, if you’re reading this post, you're probably interested in bounce rate, which is defined by Google as “a single-page session on your site. In Analytics, a bounce is calculated specifically as a session that triggers only a single request to the Analytics server, such as when a user opens a single page on your site and then exits without triggering any other requests to the Analytics server during that session.”
But Google didn’t completely remove this idea from GA4, instead, they flipped it on its head and introduced the engagement rate metric.
Understanding Engagement Rate in Google Analytics 4
In GA4, Google has replaced the concept of “bounce” with “engaged sessions.” To be considered “engaged,” a session must either result in a conversion, last over 10 seconds, or have multiple screen or page views. When calculating your Engagement Rate, GA4 looks at the frequency of these sessions.
Your Engagement Rate will always be a bit higher than the inverse of your bounce rate because certain sessions that would’ve previously been considered a bounce could now be considered an engaged session (such as if someone lingers on your page for over 10 seconds before clicking away).
But if you want actionable data (and who doesn’t), I don’t think either of these really make the cut. For that, I recommend looking at page value.
Page Value is defined as “the average value for a page that a user visited before landing on the goal page or completing an Ecommerce transaction (or both). This value is intended to give you an idea of which page in your site contributed more to your site's revenue.”
Understanding Page Value
Before we look at how page value is calculated, let’s first discuss exactly what a landing page is and why they’re important in Google Analytics. A lot of people think a landing page is simply a page on your website, and while that is true, it’s not the whole truth.
A landing page is exactly what it sounds like: It’s the first page that a user “lands on” after completing a search result or clicking on a link that brings them to your site (such as an advertisement or a marketing promotion).
This means that, technically, any page on your site can function as a landing page, including blog posts, your home page, or a shop page.
However, the reason why landing pages are a little tricky to understand is that, when it comes to digital marketing, a landing page is something slightly different. Your landing pages are pages that are specifically designed to result in conversions and are a part of your marketing campaign.
In Google Analytics, you can see your landing page conversion rate. However, for standard page views, you cannot. Therefore, to understand how much your pages are worth, you instead need to consider Page Value.
To calculate how Page Value is determined, Google offers this helpful diagram:
The first example above illustrates how Page Value works. Let's say you want to know the Page Value for Page B, and you know the following factors:
Goal page D: $10 (Remember, you assign the value of the Goal page when you first create a goal in the Analytics Settings page)
Receipt Page E: $100 (This page is where the user makes an ecommerce transaction of $100)
Unique pageview for Page B: One
You would then set up your Page Value equation like this:
Ecommerce Revenue ($100) + Total Goal Value ($10)
Number of Unique Pageviews for Page B (1)
Page Value for Page B is $110 since a user visits Page B only once before the goal page during this session.
Consider this second example that Google offers:
Now let's explore how Page Value for Page B is affected when we combine the data from two different sessions. You can see that Page B is viewed only once during Session 1, but during Session 2 it gets two pageviews (we're assuming the two pageviews are from the same user). The total Ecommerce revenue stays the same during both sessions.
Although there were two unique pageviews, there was still only one Ecommerce transaction total for both sessions.
Goal page D: $10
Receipt Page E: $100
Unique pageview for Page B: Two
Your Page Value calculation should be adjusted to look like this:
Ecommerce Revenue ($100) + Total Goal Value ($10 x 2 sessions)
Number of Unique Pageviews for Page B (2)
Page Value for Page B across two sessions is then $60, or $120 divided by two sessions.
Why is Page Value a Superior Metric?
You may be wondering why Page Value a superior metric when compared with bounce rate and engagement rate.
Regarding bounce rate, let’s put it this way: If you’re looking for an optimal bounce rate for your website, you’re just as well off using this handy tool as you are anything that Google has to offer.
Yes, that site just told you: “Also, don't ask “What is a good bounce rate?” It's a silly question. Yes, it is.”
And, we have to agree.
Additionally, when posed with the question “Is high bounce rate a bad thing?” even Google admits: “It depends.”
This is because bounce rate is such a fickle metric. For example, a user may press “play” on a video on your page and then bounce away, but that doesn’t mean this should be considered a “non-event.”
Additionally, someone may linger on your page for a long time rather than bouncing away, but that doesn’t mean they’re actually engaging. (Maybe they fell asleep?)
So, while bounce rate can be helpful, it’s not an accurate way to measure your pages’ success, and it certainly can’t determine their monetary value.
Moreover, while Engagement Rate is an improvement over bounce rate, in our opinion, it’s still not the best metric to determine how effective your site is.
This is because Engagement Rate suffers from the same issues that bounce rate does. Namely, it’s open to interpretation and doesn’t give you a clear view of how effective each page is on your website. Again, a user could linger on one of your pages for more than 10 seconds (which would make that session register as “engaged”), but that doesn’t mean that the user is actively using your site. They may have simply walked away from their computer.
However, Page Value provides you with a clear overview of the success of your website by looking at your individual pages and determining how much they’re worth. Since GA4 made the shift away from bounce rate, understanding why Page Value is your best bet is more important than ever.
Say Goodbye to Bounce Rate in Google Analytics 4
Since bounce rate is such an unreliable metric, Google Analytics has done away with it in GA4. However, this isn’t a bad thing! Try looking at your Page Value instead to understand where the money is flowing on your site.
Follow along with us for more insights on GA4, and let us know if you have any questions in the comments!