What can bounce rates tell you?
A bounce rate is a measurement that will help you understand how many people are staying to browse your website and how many people are leaving. The formula is fairly simple. Your bounce rate is the number of people who leave your site after viewing one page divided by the total number of visits. The lower your bounce rate, the more people stay and explore the rest of your site.
Good websites engage their viewers, having useful information and new content keep visitors from leaving. However, no matter how much effort you put into making your website interesting, your visitors will move on eventually. Ideally, they’ll return or share your content with other people, but sometimes, your page will simply not be something they’re looking for. If that’s the case, they may leave your site without visiting any other pages.
What counts as a bounce?
There are several ways a visitor can ‘bounce’ from your site. If a visitor leaves the site for any reason before looking at a second page, they’ve bounced.
The most common instance of a bounce is someone clicking the back button. A person may also use their browser to search for something else or type in a new site to go to. They may even close the window altogether. External links and ads on your page are also channels for visitors to bounce off of your site.
What is a good bounce rate?
Different kinds of sites have varied ranges for what they should consider is a healthy bounce rate. The average bounce rate for a website is 40%. Among different industries and types of websites this can change from anywhere between 10% to 90%. As a general measure, a bounce rate above 50% isn’t so great.
Landing pages and blogs have the highest bounce rates. Often, people leave these types of pages quickly because they seek different content or information. Sometimes, it’s because the site is displeasing or unintuitive. You’re not likely to stay on a site if it’s covered in ads or is hard to navigate.
Service sites and web portals tend to have lower bounce rates. When people look for services, they typically research more than usual. So they may browse a website to get a more complete picture of how a service can fill their need. Web portals congregate a large amount of information from many sources on a single website. Visitors to these website can spend a lot of time browsing different content without changing sites.
How to Interpret Bounce Rate
There are a lot of variables to consider when trying to understand your bounce rate. Where is your traffic coming from? What are they looking for? Why did they leave? Looking at your bounce rate alone may not be very useful. But in the right context it can help you tweak your strategy to be more effective.
A high bounce rate doesn’t necessarily mean that your website is awful. It may mean that the people who happen to come across your website aren’t your target audience. Your campaign to drive traffic to your site may not be hitting the right people. For example, a website for a local fencing academy could get a lot of bounces from people looking to upgrade their yard enclosures.
When High Bounce Rates are Good
Sometimes a high bounce rate is a favorable statistic. It can mean that people find the information they’re looking for very quickly and don’t need to spend extra time searching your site. A contact page or a page with directions that has a high bounce rate may be a good thing.
The bounce rate measurement also doesn’t care about how long a visitor spends on a page. If a person actively spends 20 minutes on a single page before leaving, it still counts as a bounce. During this time, someone could be watching a video, playing a game, or contributing to a comment thread.
If your page is being viewed on a mobile device and someone clicks on a phone number to call you, that also counts toward your bounce rate. In this case, the bounce was actually the visitor taking action rather than abandoning you.
Keeping a Low Bounce Rate
To lower your bounce rate, you’ll need the right optimization. First, to make sure that the right people reach your website. Second, to make sure that visitors stay on your site and engage with the content.