Bounce rates are as easy to define as they are hard to understand, but as a website owner, it’s a critical marketing metric you should pay attention to if you care about user engagement, SEO rankings and website conversions. When used properly, this metric can provide valuable insight into how well your website serves its visitors.
In this blog, we’ll discuss how to analyze bounce rates, when to worry and how to improve them to ensure your website is achieving your business objectives.
The Basics of Bounce Rates
Bounce rate is the percentage of users who visit a page on your website and then leave without taking any other action. When a user bounces, it means they visited the site and left without clicking any links or interacting with it in any other way.
This rate is one of many specific metrics compiled and reported by website analytics tools, like Google Analytics. Analytics tools register and report bounce events separately from similar user actions. For example, a page’s exit rate is calculated by examining the number of visitors who left the site from that particular page. This metric includes any kind of exit action, which makes it much broader than a bounce rate.
Understanding a Page’s Bounce Rating
The higher a bounce rate is, the more visits your site is receiving that end without the user engaging with it after entering. The average bounce rate for a typical webpage is around 50 percent, but individual websites have wildly different averages and expectations.
Since most websites are designed to encourage further interaction, higher bounce ratings usually indicate a need for improvement. However, it’s not as simple as “low is good and high is bad.” There are a lot of factors that influence user behavior, so developers need to put things in perspective and adopt a holistic approach as they look for ways to improve.
Factors that Drive High Bounce Rates
There are dozens of possible reasons for each individual bounce event that is reported through analytics. However, all of these causes can be grouped into a few major categories: poor user experience, lack of engagement prompts or errors in your analytics setup.
Poor User Experience
A bad user experience describes any situation when a visitor bounces from a page because they don’t like what they see or can’t find what they’re looking for. Pages with disruptive advertising, slow-loading elements or a confusing layout can send anyone rushing for the back button. Unappealing content or visuals can also discourage users from exploring other pages on the site.
A bad experience doesn’t necessarily mean the website is poorly designed, though. It could just mean that the page isn’t what the user was looking for when they came to the site. This could indicate a need to adjust keywords and metadata to align with the page’s intent.
No Engagement Prompt
A bounce can also indicate missed opportunities for additional engagement. Users may visit a page, read or see what they need and then leave the site without interacting further. Encouraging sign-ups, purchases or video plays are just a few examples of how you can engage your audience beyond the primary page content and invite them to keep exploring.
Incorrect Analytics Implementation
Failing to implement Google Analytics properly is a common cause of extreme bounce rates. It’s always important to check analytics before acting on data, since even the smallest error can throw off your metrics. You will want to make sure your events, tags and codes are all properly set up on the back end before making any drastic changes.
Site Optimization to Reduce Bounces
The real value of bounce rates is identifying web pages that fail to engage users. This metric is an indicator, nothing more. Developers should use this measurement as a way to evaluate and target their optimization efforts. When going over analytic reports, look for changes in bounce rates as well as specific pages with exceptionally high or low ratings.
Provided the analytics tools are implemented and integrated correctly, site owners can then take steps to examine their results and look for correlations in the data that pinpoint what areas are in need for improvement. Ideally, this process should be comprehensive and holistic. The key to achieving a successful user experience is to approach every page on your site as a user based on their intentions to land there in the first place.
Pack a Punch with Every Page
Bounce rates are an important metric to analyze when determining how well your website is performing. If you’re seeing high bounce rates, it may be time to take a closer look at what’s causing people to leave without taking any desired actions.
Contact us today and let us know how we can assist you in achieving your business objectives with a website that converts visitors into customers. We’ll work with you to identify any issues with your current site and create a plan of action to increase visitor engagement and improve ROI.