Do You Understand What Bounce Rates Mean for Your Digital Marketing?

Have you ever clicked on a website only to realize that it’s not what you wanted or needed? Maybe a quick glance at the home page and you knew that you were in the wrong place. Or, maybe you clicked an ad by mistake. Either way, you clicked the “X” instead of interacting with the site. You came. You went. You bounced. In my last blog, we talked about finding the hidden potential of your Google Analtyics data. Bounce rate is one of those metrics. It’s is one of the trickier stats with a moving goal. According to Google, “a bounce is a single-page session on your site.” It measures the number of sessions where users closed your website before interacting. In Analytics, the bounce rate shows the percentage of website sessions that resulted in a bounce. It’s a good metric to keep an eye on and can even point out issues with your Analytics install. But let’s face it, it’s one thing to know what it is – and to know that you should be monitoring it – but what does that mean? It’s not self-explanatory and there’s not a standard number to measure against. So, let’s drill down with one of the most common questions. What is a good bounce rate in Google Analytics? Easy question, not an easy answer. It’s about as straightforward as asking my kids “How was your day?” There are so many contributing factors:

  • The dreaded bedtime
  • The ease of rise-and-shine
  • The sugar content of the cereal
  • Find-ability of the shoes
  • Timeliness of the bus
  • The eye rolling, and grueling sprint back upstairs because they “forgot” to brush their teeth

So many factors, starting well before their day has really begun. And a wide range of answers… anything from a standard shrug and “Uh, it was school” to a two-hour synopsis of the daily fourth-grade-girl drama. Bounce rates are the same. In the end, there are a lot of contributing factors and not a straightforward answer or target. It’s really about thinking through all those factors and figuring out a good number for you and your audience. Bounce rate can vary depending on:

  • B2B or B2C
  • Industry
  • Purpose of the website and the individual pages
  • Overall strategy

Think through all of these factors but push further. It’s important to look beyond the Analytics Overview page, which reports the average number. Dig in and look at it on a page by page basis. If your blogs have a higher bounce rate, optimize your articles to steer readers to similar content? Look at it by channel. Is your organic and paid traffic interacting differently on your site? Focus on driving more of the traffic that is engaging with you. Device used? If you see a spike in bounces on cell phones, it’s time to revisit your site’s mobile responsiveness. Even your demographics. Are you using language that resonates with your target audience or are they bouncing quicker than the average? Just like my kids’ day, there are tons of factors to consider. But, you’ve got to start somewhere.

“As a rule of thumb, a bounce rate in the range of 26 to 40 percent is excellent. 41 to 55 percent is roughly average. 56 to 70 percent is higher than average but may not be cause for alarm depending on the website.”

Start with this, and dig in. Go down the rabbit-hole; find what’s working and ditch what’s not. In the end, don’t focus on a standard number. Set your own benchmark and work towards it. Not sure where to go from here? That’s OK, that’s what we’re here for. Is your number below 26 or over 70? Don’t worry, we’re here for that too. That could mean there are problems with the install. Stay tuned next time as we keep exploring Analytics metrics, what they mean, and how you can act on them.