Snapchat bounce rate GA4

Knowledge base article

Why Snapchat Ads Can Skew Your Bounce Rate in GA4

3 minutes reading time

Snapchat, with its popularity among the younger demographic, is a powerful tool in a marketer’s arsenal. But while it offers an interactive way to reach potential customers, there’s a quirk with its ad integration that can leave marketers scratching their heads: incredibly high bounce rates in Google Analytics 4 (GA4).

Are users genuinely not interested, or is there asomething else going on? Let’s dive into why Snapchat can report bounce rates of up to 95% for its ad traffic and how marketers can tackle this challenge.

The Cause: Smart Prefetching

At the heart of this conundrum is Snapchat’s commitment to user experience. To ensure a quick and fluid transition from the ad to the landing page, Snapchat uses a feature known as “smart prefetching“. This technique preloads the advertiser’s landing page in the background while the user views the ad. As a result, when a user swipes up on an ad, the landing page instantly appears, eliminating any wait time. It sounds like a win-win, right?

However, here’s the catch: Whether or not the user chooses to engage with the ad, GA4 recognizes the background preload as a session initiation. Given that Snapchat ads can garner thousands of impressions daily, this means that potentially, a significant number of these “sessions” aren’t genuine interactions. Instead, they are mere background loads, thus inflating the bounce rate.

The Analytics Conundrum

While the seamless experience is certainly commendable from a user standpoint, it becomes a nightmare for those relying on analytics to gauge the effectiveness of their campaigns.

A higher bounce rate can paint a false narrative. Instead of interpreting it as a lack of interest or engagement, the issue lies in how the sessions are recorded. Without accurate data, making informed decisions about the efficacy of a Snapchat ad campaign becomes a challenge.

The Solution: Navigating Smart Prefetching

For marketers determined to capture more precise analytics, there are ways to circumvent this hiccup:

  • Disable Smart Prefetching: Although it may seem counterintuitive, one option is to simply turn off the smart prefetching feature on Snapchat. This ensures that the landing page loads only when the user actively chooses to engage with the ad.
  • Use the Page Visibility API with GTM: Another option, which retains the benefits of smart prefetching while improving analytics accuracy, involves using the Page Visibility API in tandem with Google Tag Manager (GTM). This API allows you to determine if your webpage is in the foreground or background of a user’s device. By pairing this with GTM, you can ensure that GA4 only logs a session when the user actively brings the landing page into view.

Conclusion: A Balance of Experience and Insights

Snapchat’s smart prefetching is a testament to the platform’s commitment to a top-notch user experience. Yet, for marketers, the analytics distortion it causes can be disconcerting.

Fortunately, with the right strategies in place, it’s possible to achieve a balance between offering a seamless user experience and gaining meaningful insights into your Snapchat ad traffic.

The question then boils down to what you prioritize more: a fluid user experience or accurate data for strategic decision-making? Whatever the choice, being informed about the intricacies of platforms like Snapchat can empower marketers to make more impactful choices in the digital age.

Profielfoto Freek Kampen

By Freek Kampen

Data & Analytics specialist and co-owner of New North Digital. With a background in online advertising, I solve tracking and data issues for entrepreneurs and agencies.

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