Google Analytics Bounce Rate – Is it your Actual Bounce Rate?

We have talked a lot about bounce rate in the past (Bounce Rate = % of Single page visits, Read What is bounce rate and how to reduce it?). Many times, I have referred to bounce rate in the context of blog design, mobile device support, landing page optimization etc.

This time, we are going to talk about the REAL Google Analytics Bounce Rate data with the help of the most important factor that you should care about in your site analytics viz. Audience Engagement. Let me explain the two dimensions of engagement namely visit duration and page depth with the help of the pictures below (Click the pictures to enlarge):

The visitor engagement

The following picture is shows the visitor engagement data from one of my niche blogs that is converting reasonably well.

google analytics bounce rate - visit duration

Now let us analyze the data in the above picture.

Essentially, 79.72% of the visits to the particular niche blog did not stay for more than 10 seconds!

The second picture below shows one page depth of 77.43% and this is nothing but the bounce rate in Google Analytics overview page.

google analytics bounce rate - page depth

From the above two information, it is pretty much clear that even though the one page visits are only at 77 percent (which anyhow is not a good figure) or so, for practical purposes, the visits that stayed for a lesser duration are much higher. i.e. Almost 85% of the visits are less than 30 seconds long. This essentially means that your actual bounce rate is much higher!

What is an acceptable bounce rate range?

Well, it depends on your website type.

If you have a content rich blogs, news site or rich information sites then something like 50% of bounce is acceptable, and up to 75% would mean that you are probably running a site with not-so-interesting content and more than 75% or 80% is probably disastrous. In other words, a content rich blog should have a very good page depth values for 2+ page visits and duration of visit should be higher as well.

However, in the case of a niche blog that has affiliate links or ads right on top, it may not be bad to have a high bounce rate. Before establishing this theory though, you need to analyze top outbound-click areas using a proper analysis tool. If your conversion rate is as good as 30% or 40% then having a bounce rate of 80% is not at all bad. For a niche blog, if the page depth and duration of visit are high, but still have low conversions, then there’s nothing to boast about a low bounce rate value anyhow.

In essence having a high bounce rate is NOT necessarily bad! At the end, it all depends on the bottom line that you are targeting with respect your blog or site content. These bottom line attributes could be money, goodwill, readership, list building etc.

At the same time, if none of your goals are met and you still have high bounce rate, you are basically not going anywhere. You may be having some serious problem with your blog in that case. These could be the site performance, too many or intrusive ads, poor typography, design or readability, poor support for multiple device and browser type and most importantly poor content. Fortunately Google Analytics provides extensive data on what type of technology, content or geography has resulted in high bounce rate. You may want to delve deeper into such data than just worrying about what is shown as your Google Analytics bounce rate %.


  1. So is it good to have a good bounce rate with less visitor time according to google?

    • I did not say it’s good to have. But it is not bad if you still get conversions. i.e. Someone lands on a page, and exit the same page after clicking an ad or affiliate link. You still make money in that case :)

  2. Well, my bounce rate is 82.5%, and though I think it’s content rich, I also know that it’s not a niche blog so I can deal with it. Traffic stays up, but I think people see a topic, pop over to read, then leave. That’s why I often try to find ways to link to other posts on the blog to try to keep people around longer.

    Just checking my analytics, on my top 25 visited posts in the last month, only 4 of them have bounce rates over 80%. One of them is at 100% and says people spent no time on it, which is odd but so be it.

    • @Mitch, my BR had gone up all the way till 90% at some point. Right now it’s hovering between 70% and 80%. I would love to reduce it to 50% or so some day purely because that difference adds up to several thousand page views.

      However, the later part of your comment sounds very good. i.e. Out of 25 top visited posts, 20 of them are having BR below 80. That’s a real good statistic.

  3. Tariq :

    Nice post..
    this post guided me how to reduce my bounce rate.
    i think its all about that how much you take interest in your website. if you make a website and leave it for visitors. Its nothing.. you have to work and find out solutions

  4. Ajith –

    It is worth noting that ALL visits that are recorded as a bounce will have 0.00 seconds time on page / time on site reported based on the way GA calculates those metrics. It is quite possible that the niche blog you referenced above indeed has people reading the content and then leaving, although GA doesn’t report that out of the box.


  5. Rohit :

    Nice information about bounce rate, can any one tell me what percentage bounce rate is best for web site

Speak Your Mind