In Conversion Rate Optimisation Tips, How to Use Google Analytics

Clients and website owners ask us regularly, “What is a good bounce rate?”

Let’s start with the basics:

What is a Bounce Rate?

Wikipedia defines bounce rate as “A bounce occurs when a web site visitor only views a single page on a website, that is, the visitor leaves a site without visiting any other pages before a specified session-timeout occurs. There is no industry standard minimum or maximum time by which a visitor must leave in order for a bounce to occur. Rather, this is determined by the session timeout of the analytics tracking software.

Essentially, a user lands on a web page on your site and leaves without viewing any additional pages on your site; they land, they leave.

What is a Good Bounce Rate?

Most importantly, you can not judge performance by bounce rate alone. It must be used in context of other results, particularly Conversion Rate which is a far more important statistic to your business. Google suggests a bounce rate of over 35% is cause for concern and over 50% is worrying. Achieving a bounce rate under 20% is amazing and highly unlikely.

However, it is very easy to make your overall campaign ROI worse through incorrect analysis of bounce rates.

Things to Note About Bounce Rates:

  1. Analyse the bounce rate of any given page against the overall bounce rate of your site.
  2. Ignore small data. A 100% bounce rate for three visitors isn’t enough to make a decision.
  3. Review content, images and action calls on those pages. Is there somewhere a user should be going next?
  4. Analyse traffic by source. The issue may not be the page content but the source of the traffic itself – it’s more important to understand whether it is search traffic or from display campaigns, your email broadcast (or someone else’s) or social media, and which keywords end in a high bounce rate. If yours is an eCommerce store you might find higher bounce rates from shopping comparison sites, for example.
  5. Analyse bounce rate in context of conversion rate. A page with a 60% bounce rate might seem alarming, but if that page also has a 10% conversion rate, that’s still likely to be amazing.
  6. Don’t create additional pages the user should navigate to. This might improve your bounce rate, but is detrimental to the user experience and will probably reduce your conversion rate. That’s just plain nuts.

bounce rate

Pages That Typically Have High Bounce Rates (and shouldn’t concern you)

  1. Blog posts – repeat visits just reading that one post and leaving.
  2. Contact information – customers looking up your phone number and calling you. That’s a victory, not a statistic you should be concerned about.
  3. Product pages – remembering that this is traffic landing directly on the page, that could easily be users comparing prices, finding what they need and leaving.
  4. Video content – similar to blog content. They land via social media, they watch, they leave.
  5. Landing pages with contact forms. User lands, likes what they see, fill in a contact form. Unless you’re directing the user to a new page after the form completion, that’s going to count as a bounce, but you achieved your goal. Don’t get stressed, this is a victory.
  6. Landing pages with external links to your social media pages. User lands on the page and clicks off to Facebook and engages with you there. So what? The end result is what your goal was, so the bounce rate really isn’t important.

In an experiment between two landing pages, one of which produces a low bounce rate and low conversion rate and the other a high bounce rate and a high conversion rate, the latter will always win. A low bounce rate doesn’t make you profit, a high conversion rate does.

Conversion Rate will always trump Bounce Rate in terms of importance, but your first point of analysis should be traffic source rather than landing page content.

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Showing 2 comments
  • Harriet Croxton

    Interesting thank you. We were only discussing this subject this week and wondering if there was an industry average for bounce rates. It’s made me realise high bounce rates on some pages can actually be a good thing!

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  • […] Perhaps the bad is too harsh a title for the bounce rate. Everyone wants to know when & why visitors nagivate away from their page but maybe misleading is a better title. Unless your bounce rate is unreasonable high remember everyone needs to leave your page at some stage. Yes you can minimise this number with good ‘breadcrumbs’ back to your home page or links to other related sites however a visitor may also navigate away once they have successfully found the information on your product, service or event they came into your site looking for. See More…https://tillison.co.uk/2014/03/10/good-bounce-rate/ […]

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