People are often pretty confident when talking about their website statistics, but a fair number of folks are spouting numbers that are not accurate.

We’ve written before about Google Analytics setup errors that caused overstated conversion rates and inaccurate referral rates. Today, we are going to talk about bounce rate errors.

“I think our home page needs to be completely revamped,” a company exec told us a while back. “We’ve got a 70 percent bounce rate. That’s what it says in Google Analytics.”

Well, not exactly.

In this case, the company was a logistics company that had a package tracking option, which was available as a link on the home page but was hosted on a different site domain.

People were coming to the company’s home page, clicking on the tracking link and leaving the home page.

Is that a bounce? Not really. That’s a site visitor doing business with you. It’s a good thing, not a bad thing.

But Google Analytics counts that as a bounce because the visitor landed on the home page and then quickly left the site (albeit to another domain owned by the company).

Fixing Broken Bounce Rate Statistics

When we adjusted this company’s Google Analytics statistics to exclude existing customers who were tracking packages, their real bounce rate was only 20 percent.

In other words, 80 percent of the people who were not preexisting customers were staying on the site after visiting the home page, jumping to internal pages within the site and actively engaging with the brand. That’s actually really good engagement.

The exec’s original bounce rate statistic was not only wrong, it was hiding the real problem.

The real issue for this company was they weren’t getting enough traffic to their site from non-customers. In fact, 62.5 percent of the traffic to the home page was from existing customers. Our analysis showed that, across the entire site, the number of visits from non-customers wasn’t high enough to help them hit their targets for new business.

Once we cleared out the faulty statistics, we were able to identify the real problem, focus on it and solve it.

Mind you, the problem here isn’t that Google Analytics was flawed or wrong. Google Analytics did its job perfectly well.

But Google Analytics users have to understand the context of the data and not just take it at a face value. Don’t believe everything you read, as they say.

That’s where a strong digital marketing agency like Walker Sands Digital can add value. We’re pretty good at looking at your Google Analytics data and parsing it to find big opportunities for improvement. We then help you to capitalize on those opportunities — by designing practical, focused tactical programs that have a meaningful, positive impact on your business.

Think your digital presence isn’t doing everything it can to help your business grow? Give us a call, and we’ll help you dig through the data and find ways to do better.