17 Reasons That Can Cause Low Website Engagement Rate

Visitors leaving your website?

Find out the top 17 reasons why users are leaving your website without interaction.

We have all been there and it can be very frustrating seeing that you are gaining traffic but users are leaving without any action.

Let’s examine the 17 most common reasons behind the low engagement rate.

What is an Engaged Session?

Google refers to engaged sessions where the user did any one of the following:

  • Stayed on the page for 10 seconds or longer
  • Viewed more than 1 page
  • Triggered a conversion event

What is a User Session?

The session is when a user views a page on your website and no session is currently active. By default, a session ends (times out) after 30 minutes of user inactivity. There is no limit to how long a session can last.

How is Engaged Rate Calculated?

The engagement rate is calculated by the total number of sessions divided by the total number of visits to the website.

Engagement Rate Calculation

What is a Good Engagement Rate?

A good or normal Engagement Rate depends on many factors like the industry, type of content, company goals, and many others.

According to our study, most websites have an Engagement Rate between 50% to 78%.

Engagement Rate by Industry
Source: https://firstpagesage.com/seo-blog/whats-a-good-engagement-rate-fc/

Based on the data we gathered, an engagement rate grading system of sorts:

  • 50% or lower: Something is probably broken
  • 50-65%: Average
  • 65-80%: Excellent
  • 80-90%: Higher than normal, but could make sense depending on the website
  • 90% or higher: Too good, something is might be broken

Where can I find Engagement Rate in Google Analytics (GA4)?

The overall engagement rate for your site will live in the Reports tab of Google Analytics.

To find the Engagement Rate in GA4 go to:

Reports -> Acquisition -> Traffic acquisition

You can find your engagement rate for each channel in the Engagement Rate column of most views in Google Analytics.

Let’s dive deeper into the 17 most common reasons for low Engagement Rates.

1. Incorrect Google Analytics Setup

If the engagement rate is too low or too high, you might have an incorrect Google Analytics setup. The most likely cause is that you have the wrong code installed, or you have it installed incorrectly, or you have Google Analytics code installed twice.

How to check if you have set up Google Analytics correctly?

You may troubleshoot your tracking code with Google’s free Google Analytics Debugger Chrome browser extension.

Open the webpage you wish to test after installing and activating the extension from the Chrome Web Store (link in Resources).

After turning on the Google Analytics Debugger by clicking the symbol at the top of your browser, press “Ctrl-Shift-J” to display the Chrome Javascript console.

To view details about your Google Analytics code, including any error warnings that might prevent it from functioning properly, click “Console.” Use plugins like Ghostery or GA Debugger (links in Resources) to see if Google Analytics is successfully identified on other browsers.

2. Technical Error

If visitors are leaving the page after only a few seconds and your engagement rate is unusually low, your page is probably blank, producing a 404, or otherwise not loading properly.

Examine the page using the most common browser and device settings used by your audience (such as Chrome on mobile, Safari on desktop, etc.) to simulate their experience.

You can also check in Google Search Console under Coverage to discover the issue from Google’s perspective.

If you can, fix the problem yourself or seek assistance from someone who can; otherwise, Google may quickly remove your page from the search results.

3. Slow loading page

Google has redoubled its efforts to improve site speed, particularly as part of the Core Web Vitals initiative.

A page that loads slowly can significantly decrease the engagement rate.

One of Google’s ranking factors is site speed.

Google aims to encourage websites that give consumers a good experience, and they are aware that slow sites are not doing that.

Users want the information quickly, which is one of the reasons Google has worked so hard on highlighted snippets. If it takes more than a few seconds for your page to load, your visitors can feel impatient and depart.

For most SEO and marketing professionals, improving site speed is a lifelong endeavor.

4. Disproportional Contribution by a Few Pages

It’s possible that some of your site’s pages are contributing disproportionately to the overall engagement rate of your website.

No worries, with Google Analytics we can easily distinguish between low and high-engagement pages.

Generally speaking, pages with more content on them should have a higher engagement rate than your single CTA landing pages. Single CTA landing pages satisfy user intent and cause users to leave soon after performing an action.

How to see the engagement rate per page ga4 google analytics?

To determine whether you have any pages that are lowering the overall engagement rate go to Google Analytics and follow the below steps:

Reports -> Engagement -> Pages and screens

Once you see the “Pages and screens” view click on the little edit icon in the top right corner to edit the report columns.

Pick “Metrics”, like in the below image:

Add “Engagement rate” metrics to the report

Don’t forget to apply and save!

Once done, you’ll be able to see the engagement rate per page like in the screenshot below:

how to see engagement rate per page ga4 google analytics end result

Using this view, you will be able to easily detriment which if there are pages with significantly lower engagement rates.

4. The disconnect between the ad and the actual product

One tip: Keep your word!

Your ads are promising one thing but your landing page is promising another.

The cause can be technical, like copy-pasting a wrong landing page URL to the ads manager or not living up to the value promise from ads.

To fix the disconnect between the ad and the actual landing page firstly double-check your ad links. If that doesn’t help you’ll need to reassure visitors that they are at the right place.

How to fix the disconnect between the ad and the actual product?

Write a landing page copy that mirrors your audience’s specific challenges and quickly shows how your offer will solve them.

Make sure that users can feel the connections between the ad and the landing page in less than 3 seconds. Focus on aligning, value promise, images, videos, and copywriting from the ad with the landing page. Don’t be afraid to repeat the value promises in the above-the-fold section of the landing page, remember a majority of visitors are interacting with your brand for the first time.

5. Incorrect audience targeting

Are you targeting the decision makers?

Oftentimes the ad is right, the landing page looks good, and copywriting is handling the objections but the audience is wrong. For example:

  • The audience is too young and doesn’t make buying decisions
  • You are targeting gatekeepers instead of decision makers. 

How to fix the incorrect audience targeting?

The first step, go back to the clipboard and define the target audience.

You start by gathering demographic data, such as age, gender, occupation, level of education, etc.

After that, you explore psychographics.

The motivations, personalities, attitudes, and essentially everything else that makes a person tick are referred to as psychographics.

Knowing that your typical client is a 32-year-old, single yoga instructor who enjoys dogs is helpful. However, in order to connect with them, you must concentrate on a challenge or issue they face and how you might help them with it.

Despite the fact that demographics and location are crucial for marketing, they hardly scrape the surface of an effective character.

Once you define your target audience in detail, check if your targeting is set up correctly.

6. Disconnect Between Page Content and Title Tag and/or Meta Description

Do your title tag and meta description adequately convey the information on your page?

If not, people may land on your website believing it to be about one thing only to discover it isn’t, leading them to leave and return to their original location.

Fortunately, this is an easy problem to rectify, whether it was a mistake or you were trying to manipulate the system by optimizing for clickbait keywords (shame on you!).

You can either edit the content of your page to answer the search queries you want to draw traffic for, or you can review the content of your website and modify the title tag and meta description accordingly.

You can also see the meta description that Google has created for your website for popular searches. If Google changes it and makes it worse, you can take action to fix it.

7. Incorrect channel for brand/product

You won’t be able to sell your products if you have picked incorrect marketing channels to reach your target audience.

How would you know if you are using the incorrect channel?

If you are not seeing returns on their investment from a particular channel, you might be using the incorrect channel.

By using the wrong channel, you won’t be able to reach and effectively promote your products to the target demographic.

I said might, because it may be the case that your campaigns are not set up properly, but if you have tried multiple campaign setups and nothing works. Maybe it’s time to move on.

In case you feel puzzled by picking the channel, maybe the below content media pyramid will help you:

How to find out if you are using the incorrect channel?

Go to google analytics (GA4), and follow the next steps:

Reports -> Acquisition -> Traffic acquisition

Once you see the traffic acquisition report scroll the stat columns to the left and you’ll see the engagement rate by channel.

8. Misleading link from another website

Even if everything is done correctly on your end to obtain a normal or high engagement rate from organic search results, your referral traffic may still cause a low engagement rate.

It’s possible that the referring website is providing you with unqualified visitors, or that the anchor text and link context are deceptive.

This can occasionally happen as a result of poor copywriting.

The author or publisher either placed the link to your website in the wrong place in the material or didn’t intend for it to be there at all.

If the author is unable to update the article after publication, contact the editor or webmaster.

Ask them politely to change the context or delete the connection to your website, if appropriate.

Unfortunately, it’s possible that the referring website is intentionally trying to harm your SEO efforts, either out of resentment or for amusement.

For instance, they might have used the anchor text FREE GET RICH QUICK SCHEME to link to your Guide to Adopting a Puppy.

Even though you should still contact them and kindly request that they take down the link, you should occasionally update your disavow file in Search Console.

Although disavowing the link won’t increase your engagement rate, it will inform Google not to include the link when evaluating the value and relevancy of your website.

9. The price is too high

You got feedback that your prices are too high? 

Let me tell you a secret, it’s not about price it’s about presentation. More precisely value proposition. 

In most cases, a price too high means website visitors are not finding enough value in your product. 

You’re first thought, is probably like “My product is inferior!”. Panic attack! And questions started popping in like “Should I rebuild my product? Are my services not providing enough value?”. 

Don’t worry, in most cases the product is competitive but the value proposition is not meeting visitors’ expectations. 

Make sure that users can justify the price with value. 

5 tips on how to solve too-high pricing.

  1. Address the most frequent objections in your copywriting
  2. Offer free trials based on cost
  3. Justify your pricing
  4. Include no-costs or cheap entry
  5. Offer price options

Extra tip: Create a lot of social proof

10. Bad UX

Do you constantly annoy customers with advertisements, pop-up polls, and email subscription buttons?

These CTA-heavy features may be appealing to the marketing and sales staff, but if you use too many of them, visitors may leave your website.

User experience is the focus of Google’s Core Web Vitals, which also serve as ranking factors and have an impact on user satisfaction.

Is it difficult to navigate your website?

Perhaps your visitors want to explore further, but your blog doesn’t have a search box, or using a smartphone to click the menu items is challenging.

We understand our websites inside and out as internet marketers.

It’s simple to overlook that what seems obvious to us may not make sense to others.

A web or UX designer should assess your site and let you know if anything stands out to them as problematic, so be sure you’re not making these frequent design blunders.

11. Check the readability of your text

Readability is about communicating ideas in the clearest and most accessible way possible.

Most people are busy. They don’t have the time to unpack overly long sentences and complex diction.

Here are a few tips on how to improve readability:

  • Use short, easy words.
  • Shorten your sentences. 
  • Nix some of your adjectives and adverbs.
  • Drop the jargon.
  • Use reader-friendly fonts.
  • Break up your copy.
  • Test your writing using readability formulas

12. Affiliate Landing Page or Single-Page Site

If you’re an affiliate, the entire purpose of your page can be to purposefully direct visitors to the merchant’s website rather than your own.

If the page has a lower engagement rate in these situations, you’re doing your job well.

If you had a single-page website, such as a landing page for your ebook or a straightforward portfolio site, the situation would be identical.

Since there is nowhere else to go, it is typical for sites like these to have an extremely low engagement rate.

Even if a user’s inquiry is answered very fast, keep in mind that Google can typically identify when a website is doing a good job satisfying user intent (sites like whatismyipaddress.com come to mind).

13. Bad Quality Content

Your website’s visitors may be leaving quickly due to the poor quality of your content.

Examine your page very carefully, then have your most critical and truthful friend or coworker look it through (Ideally, this person fits into your target audience or has experience with content marketing or copywriting.).

Your material can be excellent, but you haven’t optimized it for online reading or for the audience you’re trying to reach.

Do you use simple sentences when writing (think high school pupils as opposed to PhDs)?
Is it scannable despite having numerous header tags?
Does it provide clear answers to queries?
Have you included graphics to the prose to help break it up and make it easier to read?

Writing for the internet is different from writing for print media.

To enhance the amount of time individuals spend reading your material, sharpen your online copywriting abilities.

The other alternative is that your writing is generally subpar or that your audience doesn’t care about your material.

Think about working with a freelance copywriter or content strategist to transform your concepts into persuasive material that converts.

14. The Website Isn’t Mobile-Friendly

Although having a mobile-friendly website is crucial, this technique isn’t always used in reality.

Google’s index will only include mobile content.

However, a 2021 survey discovered that roughly a quarter of the most popular websites were not mobile-friendly.

On mobile devices, websites that have not been optimized for mobile display poorly and take a while to load.

That will guarantee a low engagement rate.

Even though responsive design concepts were used to create your website, it’s still possible that the live page doesn’t appear to be user-friendly on mobile devices.

Some of the important content on a page may occasionally shift below the fold when it is formatted for mobile devices.

Now, mobile customers simply see the navigation menu on your website instead of a headline that matches what they saw in their search.

In the event that the page doesn’t provide what they require, they return to Google.

The good news is you can easily check the engagement rate per device through Google Analytics(GA4).

Reports -> Tech -> Tech details
Engagement rate - devices category view - GA4

If mobile pages are showing a lower engagement rate test a page on your smartphone if it has a low engagement rate but no obvious problems stand out to you.

The free Test My Site tool from Google can be used to detect non-mobile-friendly pages at a large scale.

Additionally, you can check the Search Console and Lighthouse for any mobile-related issues.

Make sure your website is simple to read and use on desktop, tablet, and mobile platforms as well as with accessibility tools.

15. Content Depth

Through knowledge panels and featured snippets, Google can provide people with rapid answers; you can go one step further by providing people with deep, fascinating content that is interrelated.

Make sure the material entices readers to click through.

Offer them compelling, pertinent internal connections that will keep them on your page.

And at the top, include a TL;DR summary for the group of people who only want a quick response.

16. Asking for Too Much

Your user doesn’t trust you yet, so avoid asking them for their credit card information, social security number, grandmother’s pension, and children’s names immediately away.

Given the prevalence of fraudulent websites, people are prepared to be skeptical.

Many individuals will leave right away when they encounter a large pop-up requesting information.

Building trust with the user is the responsibility of a website or content producer, and doing so will higher your engagement rate and boost customer happiness.

Google likes something if it makes consumers happy.

No need to worry! Knowing the problem is half the solution.


Website | + posts

Alex is a co-founder of a digital marketing agency. His specialty is in overall digital marketing strategy, social media advertising, search engine advertising, search engine optimization, and conversion rate optimization.

Co-Founder IQs.Digital – Digital Growth – Conversion Design – Head of Creatives at IQs Digital | Website | + posts

Milica Gubecka is a serial entrepreneur and co-founder of a digital marketing agency. She has been leading the design department for several years. Milica has good experience working directly in account management, both B2B and B2C. Her specialization is in creating beautiful creatives, high-converting landing pages, and practical UX solutions.

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