How to Use Google Analytics to Improve Visitor Engagement.

Do you know how many visitors are engaging with your content?

Do your pages have a high bounce rate?

Does your blog have an even higher exit rate?

With webmasters focusing on the number of unique visitors and conversions, the bounce rate metric is often neglected. This is erroneous as it can be a key indicator of how the website is performing.

Bounce rate is defined by Google as “The percentage of single-page sessions (i.e. sessions in which the person left your site from the entrance page without interacting with the page).” In simpler terms, it is the percentage of visitors that viewed only one page before exiting.

One glance at that definition and you may become focused on getting your ‘website bounce rate’ to 10% or even less. Slow down as that may not always be the best thing. Before you make a decision based on bounce rate metrics, it should be examined in the wider marketing context.

On one hand, having a high bounce rate may actually be  better, as it depends on the function of the page in question.

  • If the goal of a page on your site e.g. a short-form sales page, is to get a visitor to complete a sale, having a high bounce rate can be a good thing.
  • If the target of the page is engagement, like on a content page where the goal is to foster a discussion, a lower bounce rate shows that visitors are engaging with the content.
  • If taken out of context, bounce rate can mislead a webmaster. If a visitor lands on your homepage, sees your phone number and rings up your business for further enquiries, that page has done its job. But in Google Analytics, the visit would be registered as a bounce, because the visitor visited only one page, yet the visit converted into a sale.

It is important that you know your bounce rate, but also realize that no two pages or bounce rates are exactly the same.

We’ve shown how bounce rate can vary by page, but it can also vary by industry. Data from digital analytics platform, Kissmetrics reports that an acceptable bounce rate for a retail site is around 40%. With that of landing pages estimated around 90% and content websites at 60%, you can see that what is acceptable varies widely by industry.

A more holistic way to look at bounce rate is based on the function of the page and the level of engagement it generates. For pages where you need to have a low bounce rate, studying your Analytics data can tell you if it’s meeting its goals or not. For pages that should have a low bounce rate, you can track how visitors engage with the content using Google Analytics.

Search & More suggests that webmasters track the following statistics so they can get a clearer view of how much engagement a blog generates

1.The number of Returning Visitors – The number of subscribers is one metric that can show the quality of your blog content, they often make up a small percentage of overall traffic. To track visitors that come back to your blog because they like your content and find it useful, check the Frequency and Recency data.

This tab can help you track the performance of a type of content, over time. In the Analytics dashboard, under the “Behaviour” tab, select Frequency and Recency. This displays how many people return to your site over a period. The data is grouped by number of days between visits and the percentage of returning visitors, in that time. Monitoring this data, on a weekly or monthly basis (depending on the frequency of posting) can help webmasters tailor content that encourages first-time users to return.

2.Engagement Rate – You can see how much long visitors spend on your site and use as a yardstick for engagement. But be wary of making a snap judgement using this stat alone, as Google records this in a skewed manner.

If a visitor visits only one page, regardless of how long they spend there, Analytics registers them in the 0 – 10 second category. Google only measures engagement when they visit multiple pages on your site. With that in mind, remember to always look at these stats alongside other metrics. One way to increase this metric is by interlinking of pages; take a cue form Wikipedia.

3.  The Big Three (Page per Visit, Time on Site, Bounce Rate)

Some webmasters regard these metrics as the only ones they should track, but on their own, they simply can’t provide all the data required to make marketing decisions.

  • The Average Pages per Visit view shows how many pages visitors go to. You can increase the amount by linking to other pages on the site, either with a related posts plugin or simple interlinking.
  • By monitoring the time on site, you can see how much time visitors are actually spending. This must be examined alongside another metric i.e. if the number of pages per visit is low and time on site is high, it means visitors are engaging with the one page they landed on and leaving. Whether this is good or bad depends on the goal of that page.
  • Since a high bounce rate can be interpreted in many different ways, it should also be measured alongside other metrics, to get a comprehensive view.

It’s easy to assume that the likelihood of making conversions is by keeping visitors on site, but remember that it’s relative. On a sales page, the longer visitors spend, the less likely they are to buy; the inverse is the case with a blog post.

By selecting the metrics that apply to your business, creating goals and tracking them in Google Analytics, you can tweak and adjust their pages for optimal conversion. New to Google Analytics? Contact Search & More today to learn more about how we optimize campaigns for maximum ROI.

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