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With the new update to the Google Analytics GA4 statistics tool, we noticed major changes that occurred in its criteria. A group of metrics that were considered very important yesterday were abandoned, while the role of many was reduced to become subordinate to other indicators.
The surprise was the emergence of new metrics that we had not heard about, and today they are considered among the most important indicators that must be taken care of from today onwards, including the Engagement Rate.
What does Engagement Rate mean?
Engagement rate is a percentage that gives us a clear idea about the user’s reaction within the site. Did he interact with the content, click on a link, visit other pages, or stay on the site for a significant period of time before leaving it? If one of the previous conditions is met, this will increase the engagement rate, which will definitely be in your favor if that happens.
Conditions for checking Engagement rate
From now on, the goal is to increase this rate as much as possible. Google imposes three important conditions, at least one of which must be met so that this rate does not count against you and deplete the effort you put into raising it.
- The user enters a second page within the site.
- The user interacts with a piece of content, such as clicking on a link, entering an email, or purchasing a product.
- The visitor must stay at least 10 seconds on the page.
Regarding the last point, it is better if you raise it to 60 seconds as the minimum period, so that you get a clear idea that the visitor spent time following the content of the page because 10 seconds is a very short period. This will give you a clearer view and thus your analyzes will be more accurate.
How is it calculated?
The good news is that the Google Statistics tool will take care of all the calculations and present them in the form of ready-made reports, but if you want to bother your mind with some calculations, you can do so.
Simply divide the number of Engaged sessions by the total number of Sessions. We multiply it by 100 and this will be the Engagement ratio.
For example, we want to know the effectiveness of the SEO improvements that you made on your site in the previous period (the last 3 months), and here we will calculate the visits coming from search engines only (Organic Traffic). In the example that appears in the picture, this experimental site from Google received 84,832 sessions out of a total 93,787 views, so the Engagement rate is 90.45%. And even know if there is an improvement or not! Just make a comparison with the same previous period.
The difference between Bounce Rate and Engagement Rate
The bounce rate was one of the main metrics used in the old version of Universal in analyzing the visitor’s behavior on that page and whether the content on it provides added value to the visitor. But with the new update, it can be said that it has developed it a lot, adding something to the Exit Rate to give us another new indicator, which is basically the one in effect, known as the Engagement Rate.
One of the differences that you will notice is that a high Bounce rate means that there is a defect in the site, and our goal has always been to reduce that rate to its normal rate. While this new standard, our work will be in the opposite way, as we will focus on raising it as much as possible.
Which means that the Engagement rate will show you the number of interacted sessions (i.e. the user met one of the three conditions that we addressed previously), while the Bounce rate specializes in showing sessions without interaction.
Despite this, it is still possible to rely on the Bounce Rate to delve deeper into the performance of a particular page and how the user behaved on it. Google has not yet abandoned it and it can be retrieved simply from within the settings. Naturally, since focusing on the Engagement rate has become the most important, we recommend biasing and adapting to it.
Reasons for the decline in the rate ratio
In most cases, the reason is either technical that needs internal maintenance, or strategic, that is, in the type of content that you share with your audience. Among the most common reasons we mention the following:
Slow page loading is your number one enemy: It does not make sense for the visitor to stay for more than 3 seconds while waiting for it to load. Rather, he will immediately jump to your competing sites. The problem may be in the shared hosting, or perhaps your site is full of unnecessary codes and additions, but what matters is that in whatever way you deem appropriate, this problem is resolved as the first action you take.
Bad user experience: One of the methods that website owners adopt to increase their profits is to rely on some pop-up windows, and sometimes they do not find an empty space without it being filled with advertisements. Perhaps it may increase the percentage of profits a little, but it will inevitably kill the user’s experience, whether in terms of browsing comfort or the heaviness of the site, so try to Make your website with a simple and eye-friendly design.
Small appliances: Everyone depends on their smartphone for browsing, and if you access the site’s statistics, you will find that the largest segment of visitors come from smart devices. Therefore, the design must be compatible with small screen sizes, and even the font type and size of the buttons must all be of appropriate dimensions that can be pressed.
Content doesn’t match search intent: In this case, the main reason is the lack of success in choosing the correct words that suit the content of that page. For example, you provide paid services for website design and maintenance, so it is illogical to target phrases such as “free WordPress website acceleration service.”
How to increase your engagement rate
- The first step is to open the Google Statistics tool and delve deeper into the details of the site. Select all the pages that have a low percentage, take a look at them and try to find out the reason why the visitor does not stay for at least 10 seconds, as there is definitely something abnormal.
- Rephrasing the page content is also no less important. Perhaps the text is incomprehensible or poorly edited and difficult to read.
- Make an internal link to all the pages that are related to the content you are sharing. If the reader finds a topic that interests him and in the same context, he will definitely enter that page. Thus, you will reduce the participation rate and also keep the visitor as long as possible while browsing the site.
- If you rely on paid ads as your main channel to bring traffic, try to employ some negative keywords, as they will definitely help attract the most interested users.
- It is also recommended to rely on a template that is more responsive and has a high conversion rate. Perhaps this will be a difficult decision for those who rely on SEO as the main traffic source for their site, but for those who rely on sponsored ads, perhaps AB Testing will greatly benefit you in knowing which design converts the most.
- Rely on some types of media, such as images that will act as a separator between the paragraph and the next, especially including a video from YouTube, so when the visitor watches it on your site, it will precede him for a longer period on the page.
Why is it important!
Perhaps its adoption by Google as a key metric is reason enough to give it great attention, and it is also considered important for the following reasons:
- An indicator to measure website performance: A high percentage is certainly an indication that the page performs what is required of it to the fullest extent, whether in terms of content, the way it is formatted, etc..
- Diagnostic tool: Naturally, whenever the percentage is low, this means that an error has occurred, and immediately you must take strict measures to amend the page, and after a while, if you notice an improvement in the percentage, this means that you have done the right thing.
- Raising transfers: The conversion rate CR is one of the values that has a direct relationship with the final goal that you want to achieve, and certainly the more the visitor stays for more than 10 seconds, this means that the content of that page is acceptable, so at least he does not leave it immediately, and the more you can lead him towards the decision button (Call to action). This will increase conversions.
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Perhaps Google took a bold step by relying on the Engagement Rate as a key indicator by which it measures the quality and performance of that page. Maybe it will be difficult for you to adapt to it! But personally, I see it as a misplaced step taken by the developers of this tool. We can consider it as a combination between the bounce rate and the exit rate, which are considered one of the most important criteria in analysis. The results of a move like this may be more accurate than the previous one, and this can only be known by experimenting and comparing the results.