With the launch of Google Analytics 4, you've got a whole new world of exciting metrics to choose from!
One of the more interesting options is engagement rate.
While bounce rate is no longer available, you now have several engagement-based metrics at your disposal. One of the most popular is engagement rate, which can help you see how often users meaningfully interact with your website and mobile app.
Keep reading to learn all about engagement rate, where you can find it, and how it can help you measure your site’s success.
What is Engagement Rate?
Google Analytics has done away with the popular (and somewhat infamous) bounce rate metric in its newest edition, GA4. In its place, we now have engagement rate.
Engagement rate is arguably more helpful than bounce rate. It provides valuable information about how often visitors stay on and interact with your website or mobile app rather than just showing how often they leave.
For a session to be considered engaged, a visitor has to do one or more of the following:
- Engage actively on your website or mobile app for over 10 seconds.
- Have two or more screen or page views.
- Fire a conversion event.
Are There Other Engagement Metrics?
Yes, in addition to engagement rate, you’ll be able to see other metrics in GA4 that are based on engagement. These metrics include:
- Engaged Sessions: How many sessions resulted in one or more of the criteria mentioned above.
- Engagement Rate: Number of engaged sessions / total number of sessions.
- Engaged Sessions Per User: Number of engaged sessions / total users on your site and mobile apps.
- Engagement Time: The sum total of engagement time on your website and mobile apps.
Where Do I Find Engagement Rate in GA4?
You can find your engagement rate and other engagement data easily in GA4. Just follow these steps:
1. Go to “Acquisition” under “Reports” on the left-hand side.
2. Click “View user acquisition.”
3. View your “engagement rate” and other engagement data.
Can I See Engagement Rate Without Updating to GA4?
If you’re still using Universal Analytics, you won’t be able to see the new engagement metrics.
Instead, in Universal Analytics, you can view your bounce rate and average session duration metrics to see how long people are on your site and how often they bounce away.
The reason you can’t see engagement rate in Universal Analytics is that GA4 automatically tracks how long your website or mobile app is active in the foreground for a user. At various intervals, Google Analytics records this data as engagement time.
Engagement time is not the same as average session duration, though. In Universal Analytics, average session duration is recorded as: Total duration of all GA sessions in a time period / Total number of GA sessions in the same time period.
Unlike engagement time, average session duration records how long someone has had your website or mobile app open in the foreground or background.
Certainly, plenty of users keep websites open in tabs, but that doesn’t mean they’re actively engaging with your site. That’s why Google Analytics 4 has done away with both bounce rate and average session duration in favor of the engagement metrics.
How Can I Test That My Engagement Rate is Accurate?
To test that your engagement rate is being recorded accurately in GA4, you can use the debug view. Simply visit a page on your website or mobile app, and then immediately move that tab to the background on your browser. Because a session is not considered engaged if the user isn’t actively interacting with your website or app, your page view shouldn’t be recorded as an engaged session.
How Can I Use My Engagement Rate Data?
Engagement rate is very helpful for understanding how users are interacting with your website and mobile apps. In particular, this metric is integral when setting up custom segments to see how users arrived at your site.
This will help you determine which entrance source is working well for you when it comes to users being actively engaged on your site or app. For example, you might find that a particular ad campaign or certain referrals are resulting in a lot of engaged sessions. In this case, you might want to focus your efforts over the next quarter on the same marketing campaign or a similar one.
Engagement rate can also give you insight into the quality of your website content. If users are visiting your site from a particular entrance source but not resulting in an engaged session, you may want to revamp the content on the page(s) you’re directing them to.
You can set up custom segments in GA4 by following these steps:
1. Click “Analysis” on the left-hand side.
2. Click “Segment overlap.”
3. Click the “+” sign next to “Segments.”
4. Create a custom segment.
Is Engagement Rate Reliable?
Your engagement rate data is reliable in that it will always record engaged sessions the same way. However, it’s up to you to decide how valuable it is. Engagement rate certainly appears to be a more helpful metric than bounce rate, and it is more accurate than average session duration because it doesn’t record data when someone is lingering on your site but not interacting with it.
However, keep in mind that engagement rate does not differentiate between different kinds of engaged sessions, some of which you may find more important than others. That’s why it’s helpful to use your segments to look at the engagement rate data that you really find valuable, such as when it’s coming from a particular source (like an ad campaign).
Engaging Users is Key!
The engagement rate metric can be helpful to understanding user behavior and the quality of your website and entrance sources. It is a superior metric to both bounce rate and average session duration because it only counts when users are actively interacting with your site in the foreground.
Engagement rate and your other engagement metrics can give you keen insight into which marketing campaigns are working for you, so you know where to invest your time, effort, and funding.
What your thoughts on engagement rate?