Within digital analytics, a ‘Bounce Rate’ is a metric used to calculate the number of views on a website and has been used for over decades. However, with the new Google Analytics 4, we observe an intriguing absence of this metric, which we will discuss below.

What is a ‘Bounce Rate’?

When someone visits your website and then exits, without any further engagements, much like a YouTube view count, which does not consider a full viewing of the video. A ‘Bounce Rate’ is calculated by taking the number of bounces to occur within a period, divided by the total number of sessions.


The essential question is whether consumers engage with your site or do you receive little more than frivolous views?

Why was ‘Bounce Rate’ replaced?

Bounce Rate is a superficial measure. A person may have a successful visit to a website yet still bounce, meaning they do not generate secondary pages. Furthermore, this measure is unlikely to work with a mobile or single-page application, where secondary pages are usually not opened, which can cause inaccurate results. While letting go of old technology is challenging, Google has always believed in innovation. A new metric is just the way to go about it.


Google Analytics 4 is designed to be versatile. It combines data from websites and mobile apps within a simple interface that generates reports for assessing a wide range of user experiences.


Substituted for ‘Bounce Rate.’

Google Analytics has replaced ‘Bounce’ with an “Engaged Session.” For a session to be considered Engaged, the user must perform at least one of the following throughout the session:

  • For at least 10 seconds, your website or app must be actively engaged in the foreground.
  • Activate a conversion event
  • Activate two or more screen or page views

Additionally, you’ll notice further metrics in the GA4 property:

Engagement Rate = (engaged sessions) / (sessions)

Engaged Sessions per User = (engaged sessions) / (users)

Engagement Time = sum(engagement time)


‘Engagement Rate’ will be the next big thing.

Relationship between ‘Bounce Rate’ and ‘Engagement Rate.’

Like ‘Bounce Rate,’ ‘Engagement Rate’ answers the question, “Are customers engaging with my site?” However, Engagement Rate has much more varied applications, such as mobile applications, single-page apps, and content sites like blogs or news sources.


The inverse of your ‘Bounce Rate’ will be larger than your ‘Engagement Rate .’ A session with at least two-page views (which is not a bounce) counts as an ‘Engaged Session,’ as well as sessions that would otherwise be labeled a bounce.


So, a ‘Bounce Rate’ of 65% will result in an ‘Engagement Rate’ of at least 35%. Therefore, if your visitors are converting or reading your content, the area highlighted in yellow below will be larger, increasing your ‘Engagement Rate.’


Can we obtain these metrics without upgrading to GA4?

Unless you’re willing to create a custom code, the new GA4 properties perform client-side logic to compute the length of time the browser or mobile app is active in the foreground. The data is then automatically put to a parameter named “engagement_time_msec” at various times. When you look at the metric “Engagement Time” in a report, you add up the “engagement time msec” values from all of your events.


“Engagement Time” is different from “Average Session Duration.”


Session Duration = (the timestamp on your session’s final hit) – (the timestamp on the first hit of your session)


This approach lacks finesse since people occasionally leave browsers and programs running in the background, which should not be included in our computations. Furthermore, you must manually set at least two hits within a session to be calculated.


Engagement time = SUM(all occurrences of “engagement time msec” parameters across all events)


This measure resembles real-time behavior, and because it is handled automatically, it is more accurate across all your properties.


Pointers for transitioning from ‘Bounce Rate’ to new metrics.

There will invariably be a period where upgrading to GA4 will cause issues with marketers and stakeholders. At that moment, I would advise you not to calculate the ‘Bounce Rate’ to appease them. Instead, utilize this opportunity to enlighten them about the advantages of Engagement Rate.


It is best to set a target ‘Engagement Rate’ for your channels. If you are unsure where to start, you may utilize the inverse ‘Bounce Rate’ formula mentioned above and adjust it accordingly.


How can I ensure that Google Analytics 4 calculates Engaged Sessions correctly?

Google is prompted to gather interaction time by several actions, including:


  • When the app is launched in the background
  • When the user navigated away from the current page or switched screens
  • When the app malfunctions
  • When the user has left your app running in the forefront for an extended amount of time

When one of these actions already causes an event (such as “app exception” or “screen view”), the “engagement time msec” argument is simply appended to that event. However, if no other event is present, a new event called “user engagement” will be generated. These events have been deleted from the User Explorer report but can be found in BigQuery.


The ‘Engagement Time’ is supplied in milliseconds via the web option “_et .” By opening a page, minimizing it for 30 seconds or so, maximizing it again, then immediately moving to another page, you may ensure that the timer was not running when the page was reduced. In this case, you should see that the timer was not running when the window was minimized. Hopefully, you’ll discover how ‘Engagement Rate’ increases your understanding of how visitors interact with your website or app.