Examining the bounce rate for a website is straight-forward on the surface, but can easily grow complicated when comparing situations. That’s why, in today’s post, we will break down interpreting bounce rate, as well as outline scenarios that may warrant certain scores.

The key thing to keep in mind is that every website is different. While a certain bounce rate may be a warning sign for some businesses, it could be normal for others. Still, it’s important to have a clear idea of where you stand in order to adjust your company’s digital strategy.

Bounce Rate Definition

Google Analytics defines a bounce as “a session that triggers only a single request to the Analytics server.” Therefore, any time someone enters your site and then leaves without completing any actions, this would be considered a bounce. Take each bounce and divide it by the total number of sessions on your website to discover your bounce rate.

High vs. Low Bounce Rate

Generally, it could be inferred that a low bounce rate is good and a high bounce rate is bad. The only problem with this reasoning is that low, high, good, and bad are all objective terms. This is especially so when comparing different industries and websites that serve various and potentially unrelated purposes.

For instance, if customers can get the information they require from your homepage, they may not need to visit any other pages. Thus, bounce rate would be high (think around 90%). This does not necessarily mean your site is a poor performer.

The problem with a high bounce rate occurs when customers are viewing your website and then hitting the back button or exiting because they could not find what they wanted or the site wasn't what they expected to see, or any number of reasons. These are visitors that left and did not return in the same session. A good way to get a sense of whether or not this is happening for the wrong reason is by seeing how long a visitor’s average session lasts. While it’s good to see that customers are exploring your site and interacting with your brand, making sure their expectations for the site are met, and even exceeded, is far more important.

On the other hand, a site could have a low bounce rate (around 30%) and have a poor user experience. A very low score, or anything under 20%, is usually a tracking error.

Discovering Your Website’s Bounce Rate

There are several programs and methods for finding out what your website’s bounce rate might be. Google Analytics is a common and fairly standard way of checking this. On WordPress, Monster Insights is a good tool as well. Both will allow you to view bounce rates for individual pages and track how the numbers have changed over time.

Strategies to Improve Bounce Rate

Although there are no blanket solutions to all bounce rate concerns, there are a few simple steps that can be helpful for steadily decreasing your number over time.

Improve User Experience

Users could be leaving your site because it is difficult or confusing to use. Take a good objective look at what you might be able to do better with your site, and even consider asking some customers what they do or don’t like about it. This will give you a better sense of how to better meet their needs online.

Use High-Quality Images and Videos

There is no doubt that people today enjoy engaging with images, often more than reading words on a website. If your site is too wordy with not enough media, users may think interacting with your content would take up too much time. Striking a balance between text and image is important, and going too far in either direction isn't good.

Implement More Calls to Action

Sometimes people may not interact with your site pages because they feel they have no reason to. If this is the case, give them a sense of direction, or give them a reason to visit a new page with phrases like, “try it now,” or “sign up here.” Use actionable words and verbs to drive engagement, not just passive looking.

Overall, one aspect that is important to keep in mind is that different pages of your website could have a higher or lower bounce rate simply based on the purposes they serve. You can see an example of this when looking at a single landing page. If a customer visits a landing page once, it doesn't necessarily reflect poor design or a negative interaction. In fact, what would be more important is tracking who followed the call to action on the landing page, for example, filled out a form or sent a note for more information.

If you’re interested in understanding bounce rates and where your website stands, let’s discuss your specific scenario with a free consultation. We would be happy to help.