Since the redesign of eBox platform, our bounce rate increased dramatically. After a short investigation, it made sense: our new website was just the homepage and news, and the rest of the content was on different domains (trac, eBox Technologies, …).
So our bounces were either real bounces, or people visiting our other sites (which I wouldn’t count as bounces).
My solution: track outgoing links.
I searched for a solution and found this article, but it wasn’t exactly what I wanted.
It’s a good first approach, but tracking external links as pageviews makes the analytics reports more confusing. Events Tracking API to the rescue! This API was conceived to track actions that don’t match a page view, like video plays and other application interactions.
So, with events we could track our exits separately, get the information we need, and get a more accurate Bounce rate.
The extra code:
The original article used
rel="external" to mark the links to track. There is an easiest way: searching for absolute URLS in the
href attribute. Also, I’m using the action parameter to differentiate between internal (our other websites) and external (facebook, twitter,…) links.
What we are tracking, and will be able to see on the Analytics reports is:
- Category: Exits. Could have been called ‘outbound links’, or any other variation
- Action: external or internal
- Label: the destination URL
- Value: not using it. This could be useful for other kind of events, like tracking video load times
Warning: your bounce rate will probably drop by tracking events. For us, it reflects our visits more accurately, but that might not be your case.
This is what google has to say on bounce rate impact:
In general, a “bounce” is described as a single-page visit to your site. In Analytics, a bounce is calculated specifically as a session that triggers only a single GIF request, such as when a user comes to a single page on your website and then exits without causing any other request to the Analytics server for that session. However, if you implement Event Tracking for your site, you might notice a change in bounce rate metrics for those pages where Event Tracking is present. This is because Event Tracking, like page tracking is classified as an interaction request.
For example, suppose you have a page with a video player where the bounce rate is historically high, and you have not implemented Event Tracking for the page. If you subsequently set up Event Tracking for the player, you might notice a decrease in the bounce rate for that page, because Analytics will record user interaction with the player and send that interaction to the server as an additional GIF request. Thus, even though the same percentage of visitors to the page might still exit without viewing any other page on your site, their interaction with the video player triggers Event Tracking calls, which disqualifies their visit as a bounce.
In this way, “bounces” for your event-enabled pages means something slightly different: a single-page visit that includes no user interaction on tracked events.