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Bounce Rate.

Bounce rate is a useful metric to initially understand if users are engaging with the page they landed on, on your website.

Alone is not helpful. Combining it with metrics such as page load time (a more useful metric than page load time) will help you understand where the issue lies.

This will help you understand if there is a problem with the content. Or how long it takes for the page to be visible to your audience.

Bounce Rate

The What, Why and How of Bounce Rate

What is Bounce Rate?

Bounce rate defines how many people land on a certain web page and don’t go on to view another page, or engage with that page.

Instead they ‘bounce’ off and go somewhere else. As users come from campaigns or search engines you need to ensure those users see the right content, engage with it and move through the rest of your site.

For Google’s definition go here.

Why should I measure Bounce Rate?

If you have a high rate, visitors are in the wrong place or they are the wrong visitors. This could be either a technical, user experience or content issue.

Typical technical issues show themselves as a slow page load time. The user experience could be bad in that the layout of the page or navigation if it is confusing.

Content on the other hand could be information on the page which is irrelevant or a campaign targeting the wrong audience.

How to diagnose Bounce Rate

You need to Identify your high traffic and high bouncing pages.

Step 1: Check to see if visitors are engaging with the page, if not create events in Google analytics to ensure you are recording interactions with the page. For example scrolling, viewing images in a gallery or a video.

Step 2: Identify channels where bounce rate is unusually high, compared to the website average. If these are channels you control (organic search, social, paid search, affiliates, some referrals, email) improve the targeting or relevancy of the page to attract the right visitors with the right page content.

Step 3: Fix the page performance or change page content.  If you combine Bounce Rate with Page Load Time you can eliminate if the website has a performance problem (high Page Load Time) vs. content/engagement problem. See below for an example Analysis The Crank View.

Want to learn more? See our quick video guide to bounce rate.

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Where can I see it?

The screenshot is from Google Analytics and shows how bounce rate can be monitored over time and viewed in more detailed within specific channels.

bounce rate
Select the bounce rate metric here to show how it has changed over time.
View bounce rate at a moment in time overall for the website by clicking on the line chart.
View the bounce rate for the whole website here. This will be the average for the time period selected.
Look at the bounce rate for specific channels (how people got to the website) to understand if there is an issue with the page or the source of the traffic.

The Crank View

In the graphic we analysed the impact page load time has had on bounce rate for mobile users.

By looking at both page load time (actually document interaction time) and bounce we are able to see which pages are negatively impacting a website.

This helps us prioritise the pages which need looking at right away vs. those to keep monitoring.

bounce rate
Fast loading pages with a high bounce rate, compared to the website average. Issue could be disengaging content.
Slow loading pages with a high bounce rate, compared to the website average. Issue could be with the performance of that page.
Slow loading pages with a low bounce rate, compared to the website average. Not a priority and potentially could have great content, use as an example.
Fast loading pages with a low bounce rate, compared to the website average. The perfect scenario. Use these pages as your website best practice and a reference for other pages.
The immedate action to carry out. Fixing page performance is easier to diagnose and resolve than understanding why content is disengaging.

People also ask . . .

What does a high bounce rate mean?

Typically a high rate means visitors who are coming to your website and not viewing more than the page they have arrived on.

Normally a high rate is a bad thing, if you require visitors to view more than one page. For example on an ecommerce website, visitors need to find a product then purchase that product. In this case a high bounce rate is negative to driving revenue. It can be a measure of poor quality traffic or poor quality content.

How is a bounce rate calculated?

It is expressed as a percentage so the higher the number, the more people who didn’t go onto another page.

It is worth noting those who did interact (as recorded by Google Analytics) with the page (filled in form or scrolled, viewed a video etc..), will not be recorded as a bounced visit.

It is calculated by looking at the total number of visits of a specific landing page (the web page people arrived on at your website), which didn’t go onto view another page OR interact with that specific page.

What does bounce rate look like?

It is a percentage. An example rate would look like 70%. This means 70% of your visits did not go on to view another web page or interacting with the page they have landed on.

How much does page load time effect bounce rate?

A big factor which influences bounce rate, is how long it takes the page to load. In a Google study they looked at the impact page load time had on bounce rate.

They found an increase of from 1 second to 3 seconds had the probability to increase bounces increases by 32%.

If this jumped to from 1 second to 10 seconds it had the probability to increase bounces by a massive 123%.

Recommended Reading

Below is some recommended content to help you with your analysis in marketing. This content is mixture of content, tools or our book to help you get more out of your digital marketing and data in your business.

Read our book Your Number’s up! – Getting a grip on Data and Measurement to accelerate your Direct to Consumer ecommerce sales

Learn how you can measure and grow your ecommerce business. Theory and practice all in one book.

Define: Website visitorsLearn the truth about what a website visitor is. Understand quickly, how to diagnose the quality of your traffic and see which sources are impacting your marketing budget.
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Discover: Resource for senior marketers – See our latest research or white papers to help you get ahead. Alternatively, read our digital marketing glossary for senior leaders to understand the jargon and acronyms of digital.
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