Bounce rate is an important term used in website traffic analysis and represents the effectiveness of your website.
A “bounce” happens when a visitor comes on your website and leaves without further interacting with it.
I came, I saw, I left. — website visitors that bounce.
The metric is important because it’s a strong indicator on how your users like or dislike your pages.
High bounce rate means there is something wrong with your website or source of traffic.
Bounce Rate = Percentage of visitors that leave your website without interacting with it
One of the key reasons for high bounce is slow loading pages, research shows that over half of website visitors would leave a page if it takes more than few seconds to load.
Here is an example of Bounce Rates in action:
- Let’s say you have an online store selling cat toys.
- You reach out to your agency to bring in traffic and the next day you see 1,000 new visitors on your website. You check the Bounce Rate and it’s at 80% (means out of 100 visitors, only 2 stayed) — something is wrong!
- You look into the problem and find out that the traffic was coming from dog related forums and websites.
Why is your Bounce Rate high?
In this scenario the problem is the source of traffic, people who don’t have interest in your products or services will not stay on your website — the source of this problem? your traffic.
- You discuss the problem with your agency and they make sure to target cat related forums and websites only
- The next day you check your traffic to find 1,000 visitors with 60% Bounce Rate (6 out of 10 people will leave your website)
- Bounce Rate of 60% is still considered high and you are still not getting any sales, so you look into the problem more.
- Turns out that your website is taking 18.9 seconds to load and does not work properly on mobile devices!
Why is your Bounce Rate high?
In this scenario the problem is your website technical performance, visitors are not getting a good experience with slow loading pages and mobile bugs and so they leave — the source of this problem? your website.
What we can learn from these examples is that a high bounce rate is a problem that needs to be looked into.
You must be wondering now what is a good/bad bounce rate?
First we need to fix 2 misconceptions with bounce rates.
#1 First misconception: Bounce occurs when a visitor leaves your page immediately
The truth is it doesn’t matter if your visitor spends 1 second or 9,000 hours on your website, if they don’t interact with the page(s) it’s considered a bounce.
#2 Second misconception: There are good/bad bounce rates
The truth is it depends on the nature of your website.
If you have a blog with easy to find answers on your posts, your visitors might be coming on the page from a Google Search, finding their answer and leaving — in this case you might see high bounce rates but it’s normal due to website goals (ex: read articles)
If you have an e-commerce store and your goal is to get people to buy, you want visitors to stay longer and you expect them to browse product listings and categories which will mean lower bounce rates. High bounce rate in this case can be a problem.
Finally we can say that although Bounce Rate is important, do not depend on online benchmarks to measure your performance.
Do research on your own website and visitors to see if there is a problem you can fix.