IMPROVE ENGAGEMENT RATE

This post was updated on 17 April 2023 to describe the new GA4 Engagement Rate metric.

Bounce Rate is still available in GA4 but we now focus on the positive Engagement Rate metric because it provides a clearer picture of user engagement. Bounce Rate alone can be mis-leading if, for instance, a page has a high (poor) Bounce Rate but the Dwell Time (i.e. the average time spent on the page) is very high then that could mean visitors were engaged, read all of the content, found the information they wanted so didn’t need to read any more.

No matter how successful your internet marketing and organic SEO campaign there is always room for improvement – room to increase rankings, attract more visitors and make more sales. But success doesn’t depend solely on good search listing rankings and good website traffic. There are plenty of other improvements to be made which can boost your business’s profitability with the rankings and traffic you already have – such as looking at how to improve engagement rate, which is a new Google Analytics 4 metric as of 2023.

Take a website I have been working with recently – they have successfully grown their brand and established their business at the top of their very competitive industry in just a few short years on a modest budget. They rank very highly in the organic search listings and have visitor numbers they could have only dreamt of a few years ago with visits up by over 400 percent in the past 2 years.

Yet….

Business could be even better…

Why?

Because some of their high traffic web pages have significantly lower (i.e. worse) engagement rate than some of their other popular pages. That means there is potential to boost sales and leads from their existing traffic by simply engaging visitors better on those pages with a low engagement rate.

There are several factors that affect engagement rate so let’s take a look at what they are:

Improve Engagement Rate with Better Page Content

We all know that fresh, unique content is important for signalling that a website is reputable, has authority and deserves the attention of the search engines and real visitors – but you should also ask yourself the following questions about your page content:

  • Is the content what visitors expected based on the title and description in the search listings?
  • Is it detailed, informative and well laid-out content?
  • Does it use images and other graphics to break up large portions of text?
  • Is it easy to view on a small mobile device?
  • Have you used accordions and tabs for a better mobile user experience?

Improve Engagement Rate with Calls To Action

Are there enough calls-to-action (CTAs) prominently visible on the page, especially near the top – for those people with a short attention span – and near the bottom – for those who want to know more. If visitors are not encouraged to click through to another page on your website then the engagement rate will always be low.

Use a mixture of clearly visible in-text links to related pages on your website and graphical CTAs too in the form of small images with overlaid text, which can be clicked to visit either another page on your website or another section of the same page. These graphical CTAs can also help create a visually more appealing layout.

Check that all of your CTAs are properly displayed on small mobile devices:

  • is the wording easy to read on a small screen?
  • are clickable elements (tap targets) large enough to actually tap with a finger?
  • are clickable elements (tap targets) too close together?

Test The Changes

Once you have reviewed your content based on the above advice, you will have a fairly good idea of why certain pages have a poorer engagement rate than others. And once you have improved the content you will be able to monitor engagement rate and see if it has improved. Depending on the visitor numbers you will need to monitor your changes for 2 – 4 weeks to ensure there have been enough visits to make an informed judgement on whether the changes have increased engagement rate.

Engagement rate and bounce rate are both indicators of the number of sessions in which users engage with your website. Engagement rate shows the percentage of engaged sessions. Bounce rate shows the percentage of sessions that weren’t engaged. Bounce rate is the inverse of engagement rate.

Engaged sessions are the number of sessions that lasted 10 seconds or longer, or had 1 or more conversion events or 2 or more page views. so a high percentage is good and a low percentage is poor.

Remember Engagement Rate is the percentage of people who stayed on a page for at least 10 seconds, or triggered at least 1 conversion event, or viewed 2 or more pages.

You can test the changes informally by simply monitoring engagement rate over time in Google Analytics 4 or use Google Optimize to test variations of page changes – this free tool is particularly useful for testing different wording on graphical CTAs and different positioning on the page, and even different colours.

About Michelle Symonds

Established as an SEO specialist since 2009, following a career as a software engineer in the oil industry and investment banking. Michelle draws on her IT and web development experience to develop best-practice processes for implementing successful SEO strategies. Her pro-active approach to SEO enables organisations to raise their online profile and reach new audiences, both nationally and internationally. She has a wealth of cross-industry experience from startups to Fortune 500 companies .

4 thoughts on “How To Check and Improve Engagement Rate

  1. Checking bounce rate in our Google Analytics helped us identify our poorly performing pages but we’re struggling to reduce it. Any tips?

    1. Hi Monika,

      Assuming that the page content is what a visitor would expect when clicking through from the search listings, then the best way to improve (i.e. reduce) bounce rate is to add prominent calls-to-action.

      I find “clickable” images overlaid with text work well – add several throughout your content to break up large blocks of text.

      Also include in-text links to related pages on your website making sure they are also prominent (bold, underlined and a different colour to the surrounding text)
      Once you have your CTAs in place monitor the effect on your bounce rate for 2 – 4 weeks in Google Analytics. If there is no change try changing your CTAs until you discover the ones that encourage people to click through.

      Not only will you reduce bounce rate but you’ll also learn something about what visitors are really looking for.

      Good Luck!

  2. Like others we struggle to reduce bounce rate even when following these tips. We’ve added call-to-action buttons frequently throughout the page of different types and colours but very little change to Bounce Rate. What else can you suggest?

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