Are You Concerned About Your Website’s Bounce Rate? Use This Google Tag Manager Timer Trigger

By mike | Google Analytics

Jul 18

A website’s bounce rate is one of the most misunderstood metrics in Google Analytics. A bounce rate simply means a visitor came to a website and didn’t click another page on the website.

Let’s say you are doing Facebook Ads that send traffic to your website. You will have a high bounce rate. I could click your ad and spend 30 minutes reading every word. If I hit the back button or go to another website, I will be recorded as a bounce with “0” time on site.

There are two things you can do with tag manager to combat this problem:

  1. Install A Scroll Depth Tracker: This will record visitors who scroll 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% of your web page. Each step will send an event to Google Analytics and you can make any a goal conversion of you wish. This takes a bit of experience to achieve, so you are better off with the next step.
  2. Install A Page Timer: Google Tag Manager already has a built in page timer, so it’s really easy to install. You can set it to whatever time you want. The example below is for 1 minute.

Timer Instructions For Google Tag Manager

This is what I did for a Chevy Dealership in California. I went a bit further though. I only wanted to measure visitors who were on their vehicle detail pages. These pages typically have lots of info and many photos of a vehicle, so I feel anyone who spends more than a minute on each of those pages is a quality visitor.

Step One: Install The Trigger

I always do the triggers first. Most articles you read will do it the other way around, but it’s quicker this way. So it doesn’t matter which order you do it in.

Timer Trigger Google Tag Manager

When you create your new trigger it’ll be on the right by default. Just click timer. The event name will already be filled in.

For the time, it goes my milliseconds. 60,000 equals 60 seconds. You can change this to whatever you like. I did one for an insurance company the other day and they had light content, so I made it 30 seconds.

Notice I put a “1” in the Limit field? I did this because I only want to record each visitor once. If I measured more it would pollute my data by inflating it.

Now the page URL box is where I took the extra step. This car dealer has hundreds of new and used cars on their website, and I only want to measure visitors looking at each car. Here is the url of a typical dealer website’s vehicle detail page:


The text that I struck out is the text that will always change for each unique vehicle, but it will always start with /VehicleDetails. So I’m simply putting that as /VehicleDetails.*.

Note the “.*“. This is telling Google Tag Manager that it doesn’t matter what comes after that in the URL. It’s simply a period followed by an asterisk.


So the first time a visitor goes to one of these pages, the timer will start counting. If at any time they spend more than 60 seconds on the page it will send an event to Google analytics.

Step Two: Install The Tag

When making your new tag, select Google Analytics on the right. Name it whatever you want.

Google Tag Manager Timer Tag

Select event, then you need to name three fields:

  1. Category: Whatever You Call This Will Be The Event Category Name In Google Analytics.
  2. Action: Whatever you call this will be the Event Action Name In Google Analytics.
  3. Label: Whatever you call this will be the Event Label Name In Google Analytics.

Select the trigger you made before and save. That’s it! Now you can publish. You can preview if you want, but for something this simple I will publish then go to the live dashboard of my analytics. In another window I’ll go to the website and visit a vehicle detail page to test. The live dashboard is about 10 seconds behind, so I will see my tag trigger in about 40 seconds.

So in the live dashboard of Google Analytics, it will look like this:

Live Event Test

This is one of my favorite goals. In the car business, few people submit contact forms, so we are forced to measure the quality of traffic. So I turned this into a goal:

Goal Set-Up

If you want to do the same, simply go to the admin tab on the lower left of your analytics dashboard. On the right column you will see ‘goals” 5 lines down. Just click that and fill it in as I have it above. I added a value of $10.00 for this goal, and it’s worth every penny of it.

Remember one thing, when you set a goal, it’s measured from this point forward so you can’t go back in time. Also if you just set this tag up, if you click verify it will show “0” conversions. Even though you may have tested it, Google delays pushing the data into analytics.

So here is my goal in action, among others I have set-up:

Measure Goal Conversions

Note the other conversions I set-up. I love this stuff.





    About the Author

    I’ve been working in digital marketing since 1994. I’m the original founder of Showroom Logic based out of Miami Florida. I moved back to Carver Massachusetts to be closer to my family. After my second winter back, I am questioning my sanity.