In keeping with the “What is it Wednesday” tradition, I wanted to touch on bounce rate this week. This is a common question I get from people as they become more aware of their site traffic and Google Analytics. Bounce rate can be confusing for people and some people put far too much weight on this as a metric. Google defines bounce rate here.
A bounce is when someone visits your site but then never makes another interaction with the site. As in they don’t go to any more pages or fill out a form or do anything else within the site. That sounds like it was not a good visit, and sometimes people spend a lot of time working on a bounce rate that may not be as meaningful as you think.
Cases When High Bounce Rate is Bad
If the goal of your site is to get people to read all of your content, or even to fill out a form or interact with your site, then a bounce is typically considered a failed visit, though even then, it isn’t always. A high bounce rate for a site like this is not optimal and it may be time to start working on your content to optimize it for conversions. Even in these cases, a visit can lead to a cookie and brand awareness that may lead to a return later.
Cases Where Bounces May Actually Be Conversions
The one thing that often gets overlooked is that if someone visits your site to get your phone number or address, and then calls you or goes to visit you, that was a conversion that showed up in analytics as a bounce. With mobile phones becoming a bigger percentage of traffic, clicking on the phone number would reduce this rate and show up as an interaction, but for desktop or table users, or even sites that don’t allow this feature, these “successful” visits are going to show up as bounces.
It is important to take bounces for what they are. A 50% bounce rate for one site may be great and for another, it might be bad. Typically, if you have bounce rates over 75%, I would say you may want to work on your content in general. However, even in these cases, if it is a basic landing page looking for a phone call, this may not be anything to worry about.
The bounce rate is just another metric, that considered with the other metrics like pages/visit and time on site, as well as more advanced conversion metrics, tell part of a story. You always should be aware of what your end goal is for a visitor from a certain source and measure based on that goal. Too many people focus too much on the bounce rate, considering it a fail. As described above, sometimes a bounce is not only not a fail but can be a successful conversion.