For the second installment in this series, we’ll cover bounce rate (aka “reject rate”). Simply put, bounce rate measures the amount of visitors that are landing on your site and immediately bouncing off of it.
To qualify as a bounce, analytics tools will typically take all visitors who only see one page and leave. Time may also be used to qualify a bounce (e.g., any visit under 10 seconds as a bounce).*
To calculate bounce rate, take the number of bounces and divide it by the number of visits. You can measure bounce rate for your entire site and measure the bounce rate for specific landing pages.
Example: 10,000 bounced visitors / 30,000 total visitors = 33% bounce rate.
There are many elements that will effect the bounce rate. The main idea is that people coming to your site are following a scent. If they arrive on your site and have no trace of the scent they were following, they will immediately leave. Some of the main elements to investigate when looking into your bounce include:
- Traffic source. Are certain traffic sources consistently delivering visitors that are more likely to bounce?
- Inbound links to your site. Look at the link and surrounding text that links to your site. Do the links give the visitor an accurate idea of what to expect on your site, and does your site contain what the link leads them to believe they will find on the page?
- Keywords. If you are measuring the traffic coming from search engines, are the keywords the visitor searches for visibly present on your landing page?
- Stating your unique value. Do you have a unique value proposition? Is it present across the site and particularly on your landing pages?
- Page title. Do you have a relevant page title that is telling of what your page contains.
- Headings and headlines. Are there relevant headings and headlines that tell a visitor where they are and what to expect.
- Global Navigation. Is your navigation intuitive? Does it use words and naming conventions that your visitor understands? If your sitewide bounce rate is high, this sitewide feature may be contributing.
- Load Time. Are your pages loading too slow for people to even give them a chance?
- Page descriptions. Are the page descriptions you created relevant to the page?
- Perceived length. If your pages are very long, they may be perceived as a waste of time, thus causing people to bounce. This also relates to forms. Are there any intimidating forms present?
- Look and feel. Does your site’s aesthetic match what a site in your industry typically looks like? Is your site cluttered and lacking in white space?
- Server. Are you testing to see if your server is up to par?
- Browser compatibility. Are different browsers viewing your pages correctly?
Bounce rate is a great starting point when analyzing important aspects of your site. Here are some of the important elements you can measure with bounce rate:
- Where should your marketing spend go? By getting information about which traffic sources are delivering lower quality traffic, you can optimize these campaigns by analyzing the elements listed above and in the meantime divert your money into campaigns that are outperforming them.
- Which keywords should you be paying for? Use bounce rate a starting point for analyzing your keyword performance.
- Are your optimization efforts successful? If you are making changes to a page or sitewide feature, has the bounce rate gone up or down?
- How effective are your landing pages? If your landing pages are bouncing more than one out of three people visiting your site, you may want to investigate why this may be happening.
Avinash Kaushik has even called bounce rate the “Sexiest Metric Ever” — and I agree. As far as web metrics go, bounce rate is sexy. Don’t ignore the other metrics in light of bounce rate’s beauty.
So, get testing, and be sure to check out the next installment, where we cover “Order Acquisition Ratio.”
. . .
*It’s important to check what your analytics program considers a ‘bounce’ before analyzing any data.
[Editor's Note: Want to get less bounce to the ounce? Future Now can help.]