2023-09-25 | Article | Insights
Understanding the differences between Universal Analytics (UA) and Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is crucial as the final transition from UA to GA4 approaches. While there are fundamental disparities between the platforms, there are also several tactical differences you're likely to encounter once GA4 is implemented. One metric that has undergone notable changes is Bounce Rate, which is important to explore in order to grasp its variations between the two platforms.
To provide context, let's revisit the historical definition of Bounce Rate. In Universal Analytics, a Bounce is any session with a single interactive event, typically a single pageview. If there are subsequent interactive events, the session is not considered a Bounce.
Examples of Bounced Sessions in Universal Analytics include:
Examples of Non-Bounced Sessions in Universal Analytics include:
In Universal Analytics, Bounce Rate represents the percentage of all sessions that include a Bounce.
Before discussing the GA4 Bounce Rate, it's essential to understand the metrics of Engaged Sessions and Engagement Rate, which are new to GA4. Engagement Rate is the percentage of sessions identified by GA4 as "engaged." So, what constitutes an Engaged Session?
An Engaged Session in GA4 is any session that meets one or more of the following criteria:
Engagement Rate is the percentage of sessions that are considered as Engaged Sessions.
Bounce Rate in GA4 is calculated as “[1 minus Engagement Rate]”. Therefore, a Bounced Session in GA4 refers to any session that does not qualify as an Engaged Session.
Examples of Bounced Sessions in GA4 include:
There are two main disparities between Bounce Rate in UA and GA4:
The evolution of Bounce Rate calculation from UA to GA4 enables businesses to gain a more personalized understanding of bounce and engagement. Since each website is unique, flexible approaches are required to measure Bounce Rates effectively, and GA4 provides those options. GA4's flexible customization capabilities offer a higher level of control without the need for GTM/custom scripting work. In general, organizations can expect to see lower Bounce Rates in GA4 compared to Universal Analytics, primarily due to the role of timing in calculating Bounce Rate. However, since GA4 offers flexibility in measuring Bounce Rate, individual experiences may vary.