When you study your Google analytics profile, there are a lot of things to take in, and most of them you understand. Items like unique visitors, page views, and average visit duration are pretty self-explanatory. And then you get to the bounce rate and you pause. What the heck is a bounce rate? Does it even matter? And if it does, what can you do to make yours better? These are all excellent questions, and we have the answers:
The Bounce Rate Demystified
Let’s start with the easy explanation: According to Google, the bounce rate is the percentage of users that visit one page on your site and then leave, or bounce, if you will. The four actions that count as a person leaving the page include: clicking the back button, closing the browser, typing a new URL, or simply leaving the page open and letting it time out.
Seems simple enough—you want people to stay for a while, look around, and hopefully spend some money, so the lower the bounce rate, the better. But a good bounce rate is not black and white. That’s what makes it so confusing.
The Makings of a Good Bounce Rate
In general, your bounce rate is an easy way to tell if you understand whom your audience is and what they want. But what is considered a good bounce rate is extremely variable. For example, if you have an e-commerce site, you want people to browse your offerings and buy something, so in your situation a low bounce rate is ideal.
On the contrary, if you are a brick-and-mortar store, you want people to find your location, so if you put your phone number and address right on the homepage, you will probably have a higher bounce rate. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It would be great if people didn’t leave your website quickly, but if they are calling you or visiting your location, that is the ultimate goal anyway. To confirm that this is the case, we would measure the number of calls using call tracking program and compare it to the bounce rate.
Okay, so let’s get into the numbers so you can see if your bounce rate is where it should be. RocketFuel believes that generally speaking, a good bounce rate is one that is within the range of 26-40%. If your analytics profile shows this figure, you likely have a well built website that is attracting the right people and meeting their needs. If it’s much lower than this, you should take an in-depth look at your analytics before celebrating, because there is a good chance something isn’t working properly.
But, again, it depends on the purpose of the site. Not every website wants people to stick around and peruse. Some just want to give the user information and send them on their way—like a contact us page or a blog targeted with specific keywords. So let’s take a look at what Blast Analytics & Marketing considers a good bounce rate by site type:
- Service Sites: 10-30%
- E-Commerce Sites: 20-40%
- Lead Generation Sites: 30-50%
- Content Websites (think WebMD): 40-60%
- Landing Pages: 70-90%
- Blogs: 70-98%
And to make it even more complicated, you also need to keep in mind the way people are viewing your site. When people are on phones or tablets, they tend to bounce around more, so your bounce rate will be 10-20% higher than it is on a desktop.
How To Improve Your Bounce Rate
Okay, now that you have a decent idea of what makes up a good bounce rate, let’s talk about some ways to make yours even better—but keep in mind, just like a good bounce rate can vary greatly, so can the ways to improve yours.
- Make sure your website is designed well and doesn’t have any issues causing people to leave prematurely. Functionality and formatting is important.
- Study the analytics of the pages with the lowest bounce rates: What can you learn from them?
- Target your keywords and PPC ads to the right audience. You want to attract people who actually care about what you have to offer so they don’t leave immediately upon arrival.
- Try redesigning your top landing pages with different graphics or a different look, to see if that helps improve bounce rates.
- Add in links to other pages on your website, either within your content or on the sidebar, but make sure to do it in a way that seems like you are there to help (e.g. If you want to learn more, visit this page. If you enjoyed this content, we think you will love this too.).
- Promote whitepapers and blogs to encourage or entice visitors to dive deeper.
When you study the complete picture, the bounce rate is one of the most valuable stats in your analytics—just remember that there is no one-size-fits all target or solution. As long as you understand what a good bounce rate is for your site, you will be able to tweak your content to capitalize on every visitor. If you are having trouble figuring out what yours is, contact us at Zero Gravity Marketing. We would love to explore it with you.