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by Anna Lewis on 14th June 2011
Google Analytics can be confusing to the untrained eye, however the majority of it is all very straight forward once you get the hang of the terminology and data available. One of the most common stumbling blocks is understanding what Bounce Rate means, as it’s reported widely throughout Google Analytics. This post will take you through what Bounce Rate is, what is a good bounce rate and how to improve your bounce rate.
What is Bounce Rate?
Bounce Rate is calculated from the bounces that a page receives; but what is a bounce? Well, visually it’s nice and easy to understand – imagine a ball hitting your website (representing a visitor entering your site), if the user then visits another page the ball is absorbed, but if the user leaves your site, the ball bounces. So a bounce is when a visitor enters and exits your site via only one page.
The bounce rate is purely calculated from the number of entrances to the site for each page, rather than people visiting that page having already seen a page of your site within the same visit. If a visitor has already seen another page of your site before exiting this is counted towards the exit rate rather than the bounce rate.
So if 100 people enter this website on this page and 40 click through to another page, the bounce rate is 60% as 60 out of the 100 exited straight after entering. Will you be a bounce or will you stick?
What is a Normal Bounce Rate?
So now you know what a bounce rate is, how do you know if yours is good or more people are bouncing than should be?
Bounce rates differ depending on the content of the page, for example:
A holding page for a site that has no links to other pages on the same domain would have a 100% bounce rate as every visitor would have to exit once they have entered the page.
Blog posts usually have a high bounce rate due to the whole post being on one page and many visitors entering the site only wanting to read that article.
Product pages on online stores tends to have a low bounce rate as users are browsing different products and will be actively looking around the site.
How to Analyse Bounce Rates
Depending on your website and sector, an average bounce rate is usually around 40% – 50%, over 50% is seen as high and under 40% is very good. However as with any data, it is always essential to look at other contributing factors and parallel data to ensure you are getting the full picture and the most out of the statistics.
One very good comparison for bounce rate is the average time on the page. This figure can sometimes be slightly skewed within Google Analytics but if you take it as general guideline you can save yourself some worry about a high bounce rate; for example, if you see that the time on page is several minutes this shows that users are getting a lot from the one page before leaving. If, however, the time on page is very low and the bounce rate is very high you can conclude that it is not taking users very long to decide that they don’t want to spend any more time on your site, this is something that will often need addressing.
A good place to analyse bounce rates more thoroughly is within Top Landing Pages report under Content in Google Analytics. This shows you how many entrances, the number of bounces and the bounce rate as a percentage.
The Importance of Understanding Your Bounce Rate
So now that you know what bounce rate is and how to analyse it you may be wondering why it’s good to understand it and how this can be of use to you. Here are five quick advantages you can get from understanding your websites bounce rate:
1. Improve content on pages with high bounce rate
2. Identify if there is a strong need for a redesign
3. See which type of pages hold users on the site best and create similar
4. See if a particular marketing source (such as PPC) has an inflated bounce rate and adjust your marketing accordingly
5. See if the organic keywords sending traffic are the right ones for your site or if you are ranking for keywords that don’t hold visitors
Got any questions? Leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you, or if you need help measuring the success of your website feel free to give us a call to find out about our website analytics service.