Adjusted Bounce Rate: A Complete Guide to ABR (Adjusted Bounce Rate)

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The Adjusted Bounce Rate, or as it is called in jargon "Adjusted Bounce Rate" allows you to bypass some limitations of the "classic" bounce rate by providing a more accurate interpretation of user engagement.

In this article we see:

  • What is Bounce Rate and the problems that can arise when interpreting bounce rate;
  • 4 good reasons to switch to ABR, the modified bounce rate;
  • how to implement the adjusted bounce rate in Google Analytics;
  • after how long to set the Timeout, with a data-driven;
  • how to implement the bounce rate adjusted with WordPress and Google Tag Manager;
  • beyond the Adjusted Bounce Rate: an approach that also uses PageScroll for Track even more precisely the engagement of a blog's content.

Definition of Bounce Rate (Google Analytics bounce rate)

Let's start with Google's definition of bounce rate:

the percentage of all sessions on your site in which users viewed only one page and triggered only one request to the Analytics server.

https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/1009409?hl=it

This opens a problem. The bounce rate is recorded when:

  • the visitor to your website leaves it without visiting another page;
  • the visitor to your website leaves it without performing a tracked action (i.e. an event or conversion) on the page.

So, If your visitors don't make the conversion or the desired event (fill out the form, click on a call to action...) or click on a link to another page, we have a bounce.

The problem with the bounce rate

A high bounce rate might suggest that the visitor hasn't found what they're looking for, but...are we sure?

If a user visits a page and then leaves the site without visiting another page, it is considered a bounce: but the same user might have a satisfactory experience on the website, finding all the information they needed (for example in a blog post) and then leaving the website.

Bounce rate isn't automatically a bad thing: if your visitor finds the answer to all their questions in your content, they may not need to click to another page.

Even if the blog post conversion is thenewsletter subscription, you can track better engagement of content with the modified bounce rate, as a micro conversion.

4 good reasons to switch to modified bounce rate

The Adjusted Bounce Rate (ABR) defines a time limit after which a visitor can be considered engaged and no longer counted as a bounce (Bounce Rate and Dwell Time).

Adjusted bounce rate is not a completely new concept: Google itself, many years ago, published information about theAdjusted Bounce Rate Tracking in Google Analytics.

So let's take a look at some good reasons to switch to the modified Bounce Rate:

  • Google Analytics reports the time spent on a web page only when a visitor navigates to another web page on the site: you will never know how much time is spent on a specific page and whether the default bounce rate shown is good or bad;
  • in some cases, the "classic" bounce rate could be a misleading metric, for example for blogs without a "standard" conversion or tracked events, but simply aimed at educating, building trust and credibility;
  • the Adjusted Bounce Rate could provide a more accurate representation of how users are responding to your content and assess the true quality of your traffic as well as matching the query: consistently poor engagement metrics were noted on pages affected by Panda;
  • the modified bounce rate can help drastically reduce the bounce rateI recommend reading these 2 case studies:

Implement adjusted bounce rate in Analytics

The modified bounce rate uses JavaScript's setTimeout function to trigger an event in Google Analytics after a specified period of time.

When a page view exceeds a predefined time interval, the event is triggered in Google Analytics so the user is no longer considered a bounce, even if they don't visit another page.

To implement the Adjusted Bounce Rate, you need to modify the Google Analytics code with an additional line (the line starting with "setTimeout" and marked with an "additional line" comment in the code).

How long should I set in my timeout?

As you can see in the line added to the Analytics code, the time has been set to 30 seconds (in milliseconds), a time interval that you can change depending on what you consider to be the right time for the user to get involved.

This is just an example: to set the timeout you need to know the average time visitors spend on your website to make a conversion.

After how many seconds can your visitor decide if they're in the right place or not (and then leave the website, bouncing)?


You could use A data-driven approach that controls the engagement ratio in Google Analytics.

Go to Audience > Behavior > Engagement, then add the "Sessions with conversions" segment to get a report similar to the following:

Google Analytics Engagement Report

In the case above, we can see that most conversions happen when visitors spend more than 30 seconds on the page, which is why I chose to set 30,000 milliseconds as the timeout.

It might be a good idea create an additional view that mirrors your main view but has an exclusion filter to remove the bounce rate event.

This means you have access to reports showing both ABR and "classic" bounce rate.

Adjusted Bounce Rate with WordPress

With the feature called WordPress, you can use 3 plug-ins to implement the modified bounce rate:

Bounce rate modified with Google Tag Manager

The modified bounce rate is easily implemented in GTM.

I'll leave you with a video that explains how:

Over modified bounce rate: Timeout + Page Scroll

We've seen that adjusting the bounce rate by setting a time interval might be a better way to evaluate quality traffic and consider an engaged visitor ().

But, uh...what else happens when a visitor is engaged in content?

Scrolling the page to read it: so an advanced way to adjust the bounce rate, as suggested by Simo Avaha, could be to set a scroll event (so that the page actually scrolls down) and throw the no-bounce event afterwards, or, an even better way, set a scrolling event and the duration of the visit on the page of more than 30 seconds:

Source : https://www.simoahava.com/analytics/track-adjusted-bounce-rate-universal-analytics/

Conclusions

The Adjusted Bounce Rate (ABR) allows Analytics to not track as bounces those visits that, even without other forms of interaction tracked, consist of a stay on the page of a time (for example 30 seconds) that tells us that the visitor has had an active engagement with its content, even if they have not changed page or filled out a form.

Have you implemented ABR Bounce Rate on your site? Let's talk about it in the comments.

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