Bounce Rates

Most people that have worked with me, will know that if I am allowed to I will rant for hours about KPI’s, the problem is that they are usually taken as well, KPI’s if % conversion goes down its bad even if sales go up… Not my view! PPC may have a higher conversion rate, but I would also like organic traffic.

Anyhow, bounce rates, firstly if you have an ecommerce website its pretty much impossible to sell if they only visit one page, (unless you want them to call some companies do, people convert better and can upsell better). Secondly even on pages which are likely to have a high bounce rate, it can be brought down by good calls to action or followup navigation.

BUT – don’t band it on a site level “above 50% is bad”, take a couple of example sites, if you have a popular article, blog post, or even a video then a one page visit maybe what most of your traffic is going to do! – So without the article you wouldn’t get this traffic, with the article you do – but your bounce rate drops. If your site is predominantly articles (BBC, DirectGov, Politics.co.uk ) and most of your traffic doesn’t start on your homepage, your bounce rate will be pretty high, and this isn’t a bad thing, if you have a quality site typically after visiting once they maybe more likely to return.

To quote the Google Analytics Help page –

“…Bounce rate is the percentage of single-page visits or visits in which the person left your site from the entrance (landing) page. Use this metric to measure visit quality – a high bounce rate generally indicates that site entrance pages aren’t relevant to your visitors. The more compelling your landing pages, the more visitors will stay on your site and convert. You can minimise bounce rates by tailoring landing pages to each keyword and ad that you run. Landing pages should provide the information and services that were promised in the ad copy….”


Good things that can “increase” bounce rates

  • RSS Feed (for return visitors)
  • Email marketing (for return visitors)
  • Well written ‘single page’ content
  • Blog posts
  • Ajax (that’s not tracked)
  • Media including video (again not tracked)
  • External Links (again not tracked)

This seems like I am defending bounce rates, I am not – if they are on a page such as a homepage, a navigation page or a PPC landing page or any page which is really just the start of a journey– typically you are doing something that needs fixing, but bounce rates should be segmented by both source and page type – (not something easily done in GA, unless it is a part of the URL).

Steps to take to fix bad landing pages: (in Google analytics)

  1. Go to ‘top landing pages’
  2. Click on advanced filter
  3. Filter on bounce rate greater than, well start at 80%,

Not all pages can really be improved, always start with ‘low hanging fruit’ and don’t stress if a page has a high bounce rate if the average visitor is going to come, read the information and go … it may just be the nature of the traffic that page attracts…

Did you know out of the tin Omniture doesn’t (or didn’t) have Bounce Rates? probably a good thing.

Find more on www.UsableContent.co.uk

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