Bounce rate is one of the most infamous metrics in digital analytics. Many times it is wrongfully used as the sole indicator to measure quality of landing page or website visits.
Many people panic if your report includes an increase in bounce rate. The fact is that many times there is no reason to panic.

What is a bounce rate?

Although it is probably one of the most used metrics, still there’s lots of confusion about what bounce rate actually is.
A Bounce Rate is the percentage of visitors to a website who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page.

A bounce can be provoked by the following actions after landing on the site:

  1. A click on a link to a different website (this includes visits to a sub domain).
  2. Typing a new URL.
  3. If you don’t perform any actions on the page and the session times-out. (default: 30 min of inactivity on the webpage)
  4. Closing the window or tab.

This makes that a bounce could be a way to exit the site but isn’t perceived as an exit by the digital analytics solution. This means that for example a purchase confirmation page could have an exit rate of 95% and a bounce rate of 0% as it is the end of a flow.

A Bounce Rate as a quality indicator

Lots of people think of bounce rate as the one and only indicator to analyze the quality of a visit. Your visit quality strongly depends on which goals you have set for your website.

For example: You have an e-commerce site and strongly rely on email campaigns. The main goal is obviously to sell your products. When somebody clicks on one of the products in the email, lands on the product detail page and finds all the information they need but lose interest in the product, they often close the webpage and use the email to navigate to other pages or products. This way you often get a high bounce rate although the visitor could still have converted.

How can I check the quality of my visits?

As said in the previous paragraph: it strongly depends on the goal(s) of your website. In general a combination metrics is used: bounce rate, session duration, pages/visit and conversion rate.
This is probably a good combination to start of with, but it isn’t written in stone.
It is important that you set up a strategy that clearly states what the goals of your site are and when they are considered ‘attained’ by creating a few key performance indicators.

How is bounce rate being influenced?

Bounce rate can be influenced directly by the following factors:

  1. The credibility of your website. Does it look safe to continue the visit? Stuffing it with ads and banners mostly does not encourage click-throughs.
  2. Pop-ups… If you use them make sure they are functional. Most of the time they are annoying as hell.
  3. If you are using surveys on your website, make sure they are not intrusive.
  4. Landing page experience: a good loading time and design are vital to make sure a good landing page experience.
  5. Relevancy of ads: if you are using ads to get visitors on your site make sure that the ad has relevant information that is consistent with the landing page.
  6. A mobile friendly site could have a positive influence on your bounce rate. The share of mobile visits has grown substantially over the last years and should not be ignored.

The key take away of this post is that bounce rate should not be considered as the sole indicator of visit quality and that a high bounce rate not always is to be seen as a negative factor.

If you have questions or remarks, feel free to contact us or submit a comment in the section below.

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