Usability, content, search and analytics on the corporate intranet

Bounce rate on the corporate intranet

15 February, 2010 – Luke Oatham

We’re starting to look at “bounce rate” as a metric for staff engagement on the intranet.

I work with two definitions of bounce rate:

1) Google’s official definition: one page view in one visit
2) Google’s unofficial definition: “I came, I puked, I left”

On the web, analytics packages work on the concept that people visit a website from a search engine or from another campaign medium.  Websites require something to “bring in” the visitors.

On the intranet, we have a captive audience. But if the intranet homepage is given to staff by default when they open the browser, then I think we have a reason not to include it in bounce rate metrics.  Measuring staff interaction should start when they make the first click on the homepage, not when the homepage loads.

The intranet homepage essentially signposts people to other content pages lower down in the intranet structure. I don’t care too much about how many people viewed the homepage.  What I care about is whether they got to the sub-layers of the intranet and consumed content.

For most of my analytics, I exclude the homepage as part of the user journey.  The journey starts when someone “lands” on a lower-level page.  That’s when I start counting bounce rate. If these pages bounce then I know that I have a problem.  If I were to count the homepage, then by definition, these secondary pages would never bounce and would always appear to be working well.

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