As a business that operates a website, you should absolutely have Google Analytics enabled on your website. If you don’t, please head to this great tbk Creative article and learn how to properly set-up Google Analytics as it is an essential tool for almost any website!
For those of you who didn’t just leave to learn how to implement Google Analytics, or those of you who did and are now back, let’s continue.
If you have Google Analytics activated on your website and you look around this gold mine of information, one of the most prominent metrics you’ll see is something called Bounce Rate.
Let’s identify Bounce Rate and explain why you shouldn’t always be alarmed by a high one.
What is Bounce Rate?
Let’s start with what a Bounce is: a Bounce is when a user lands on your website, only views one page, and leaves. This user could have done any number of things on that webpage and viewed it for any amount of time, but a Bounce tells us they only viewed one page and then left without exploring additional pages.
Therefore, Bounce Rate is the percentage of users who left after viewing one webpage and can be summarized by the following formula:
I just explained that users might only be viewing one page on your website, and now you probably think it’s a bad thing, but before we scare you too much, let’s find out what is considered a high bounce rate.
What is a High Bounce Rate?
At times, defining exactly what a “high” Bounce Rate is can be tough and controversial. In my professional opinion, I would classify Bounce Rate percentages as the following:
A high bounce rate is usually anything above 70%.
A fairly high bounce rate is usually between 55% – 70%.
A good/average bounce rate is usually between 30% – 55%.
A very good bounce rate is usually anything below 30%.
Now, let’s find out why a high Bounce Rate isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Why isn’t a High Bounce Rate Always a Bad Thing?
Before you go to extremes and potentially panic about a high Bounce Rate, please take into account the following three questions and relieve some of your stress.
What kind of website do you operate?
If you operate a website that warrants a higher Bounce Rate, which is explained below, you should probably accept the fact that your Bounce Rates are going to be high.
Websites that are considered to be “publishers” (i.e., a website whose primary business role is to publish content to be consumed) are likely to have higher Bounce Rates than other websites. Let’s take the Globe and Mail into consideration. The Globe and Mail posts a lot of their articles on the web and users who are searching for specific content are likely going to find it, view it, and then leave. For example, if I’m searching for information about current oil prices, I am likely going to find something similar to this article, read about the rising cost of oil, and leave.
When analyzing your Bounce Rate, just take into consideration whether or not you operate a website where users can get all they need from one webpage on your website.
Which pages on your website are causing high Bounce Rates?
When it comes to Bounce Rates and other website metrics, it’s good to look at them on an overall level, but you should always dig deeper; for example, you should continuously check which pages are causing higher Bounce Rates than others. Going along with the above question, the pages on your website that instantly provides the user with what they want will likely have a high Bounce Rate. The following are a few of the most common pages that have higher than normal Bounce Rates:
- Contact Page: Users view this page to find your phone number or address, meaning they’ll leave your website as soon as they have your information so they can call or visit your location.
- Careers Page: Typically, if someone is visiting your page because they’re looking for a job, they’re only going to view the job’s posting webpage, get the information they need, and leave to apply.
- Employee Profiles: A lot of websites add employee profile pages so people have the ability to familiarize themselves with the staff and, usually, these pages provide individual contact information. If the user found the employee page through Google (e.g., a law firm website), the user may view the team member’s profile page, gather all of the information they need, and leave to contact the individual(s) in question. This common behaviour will result in a higher Bounce Rate.
- Contest/Giveaway Page: If you are holding a contest/sweepstakes, you’ll probably create a webpage so users can get all of the information they need and have access to an application so they can enter the contest/giveaway. This webpage will likely have a higher than normal Bounce Rate as users will visit the webpage to enter the contest/giveaway and then leave.
- Blogs/Articles: A lot of non-publishing companies (those that offer products or services) are utilizing blogging/article writing to attract users to their websites and, at tbk Creative, we highly recommend the utilization of blogging as it adds value to a website. Sometimes blogs will have a higher than normal Bounce Rate, but this is a natural occurrence as users will often find blog articles through Google’s search engine results page (SERP), read the article, and then leave the website.
There will be other pages on your website that have higher than normal Bounce Rates, however, you just need to consider whether or not this higher Bounce Rate is based on the type of page it is.
How is your website designed?
Further to the above, your website’s design can play a huge part in Bounce Rate (as well as a number of other metrics). For some time, there has been a web design trend in creating long-scrolling webpages for websites. Around the time mobile and tablet devices hit the mainstream, long-scrolling websites were becoming more and more popular as consumers became familiar with scrolling technology. For an example of what a long-scrolling webpage looks like, visit “The Story” page.
Scrolling pages can be anything from homepages to products and services pages, and everything in-between. They tend to have a higher Bounce Rate due to the fact that, compared to a shorter page whose user interface relies on user interaction, viewers are able to get most (or all) of the information they need on one page.
There are several reasons that could justify why your website has a high Bounce Rate and as noted above, a high Bounce Rate doesn’t always mean there’s a problem. To determine if your Bounce Rate is a problem, you should investigate further and look at the data, content, user interface, and context of the page itself.
If you feel your Bounce Rate is unnaturally high, it’s recommended to have a digital marketing team investigate the problem. If you feel like your website needs web design or Search Engine Optimization (SEO) improvements, please do not hesitate to contact my team at tbk Creative with any questions you may have.