One key performance indicator that has traditionally been used to gauge website effectiveness is the Bounce Rate, a metric which calculates the percentage of visitors who leave a website after viewing only a single page. This has been especially true for the hotel industry.
However, with the advent of Google Analytics 4 (GA4), Bounce Rate has been deprecated, being replaced by metrics focusing on visitor engagement.
Understanding Engagement in GA4
Engagement metrics in GA4 veer away from the concept of ‘bounce’. Instead, they measure how users interact with website content, providing potentially more useful insights for businesses, particularly those in the hospitality industry.
Among these metrics, “Engagement Rate” can be particularly interesting, albeit a little complex.
In the GA4 reports section, an “Engagement” area provides insights into user interactions on a page or screen level. Here, you can view metrics such as average engagement time.
However, to truly leverage the potential of engagement data, a custom report may be necessary.
Crafting a Custom Engagement Report
To create a custom report, navigate to the “Explore” section and start with a blank report. Begin by adding dimensions. For a page-level view similar to the previous report, select “page path” and “screen class”. It may be best to avoid “query string” as it pulls in numerous URL parameters which may cloud your analysis.
Next, add your metrics. Start typing the keyword (like ‘engagement’) and select relevant options such as “Engagement Rate”, “Average Engagement Time per Session”, “Views per User”, “Views per Session”, and the total number of views. Import these, and your basic report is ready.
The report will display each page’s Engagement Rate, Average Engagement Time per Session, Views per User, and Views per Session, along with the total number of views.
Interpreting the Results
While these engagement metrics provide more insights than the old Bounce Rate, they do not tell the entire story. For instance, a low average engagement time might initially appear negative.
However, in some cases, it can be the result of a strong call-to-action directing users quickly to the next step, resulting in higher overall conversion rates and revenue.
Therefore, these engagement metrics can be seen as ‘vanity metrics’ and should not be considered in isolation. It is crucial to view them within the context of the overall customer journey and performance indicators.
In conclusion, engagement metrics in GA4 offer a different way of looking at your website’s effectiveness.
However, like all data, they need to be analyzed in the context of your business goals and broader performance measures to provide meaningful insights. It’s not just about how long your visitors stay, but what they do during their visit that counts.