Website Analytics March 17th, 2010
Going online and making a website effective the way a developer wants to is not always a cakewalk. Many developers do not know which metrics to look at to ensure site performance. This is because there are so many to look at. Among the Google Analytics metrics out there, ‘bounce rate’ is one such metric that tells you a lot of things to help improve the performance of your web site. This post explains how you can make use of the bounce rate metric to improve site performance.
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Wikipedia defines bounce rate as: the percentage of initial visitors to a site who “bounce” away to a different site, rather than continue on to other pages within the same site. 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.
The formula used to calculate the bounce rate of a website:
Bounce Rate = Total Number of Visits Viewing One Page / Total Number of Visits to that Page
Bounce rates vary in different industries. While some industries may typically offer a better bounce rate than others, what I have done below is tried to give a guideline for websites as a whole as to what is an acceptable bounce rate.
Awful – 80%-100% – Less than 3% of our sites measured have an average bounce rate this poor. Time to rethink your online strategy. Very rare to see a site that performs this poorly unless its strictly an informational site.
Bad – 55% to 80% – Surprisingly, we see that 25% of sites fall within this range in the first few months that we measure. This metric is improved by introducing A/B and split testing for site improvement.
Average – 40% – 55% – Most sites we measure, about 45% fall within this range. If you are here you can likely be making significant improvements using Website Optimizer.
Good – 26% – 40% – 20% of sites that we measure fall within this range. If your bounce rate is in this range you are doing very well. There are still improvements that can be made though so keep measuring!
Very Good – 0% – 25% – Less than 6% of the sites we measure have a bounce rate this low. If you have metrics this good you are doing something very right!
Low/Good bounce rate indicates that visitor engagement on your site is good. High/Bad ratings is a bad situation and improvement plans should be made.
A high bounce rate indicates that your websites entry or doorway page (landing pages/ entrance pages) are not speaking to the audience properly. Some user distracting elements may be found.
Possible reasons for high bounce rate
Landing pages not relevant to visitors: The page doesn’t have the data visitors are looking for. In this case, your bounce rate will be high. The more compelling your landing page the higher will be your conversions.
Page load time is too high: Avoid using heavy page loading factors like ‘skip intro’ or flashy banners. When you’re using third party data for accessing content make sure it gets loaded fast.
Visitors might have landed using a poorly placed keyword: Sometimes your site gets listed for a keyword that doesn’t apply or your PPC campaign is pointing to a bad page. You can check these factors with analytics ‘keywords’ option to find out which keywords return poor visits.
Lack of conversion link or poor navigation: Another large aspect is lack of proper navigation on the entrance page. Visitors will leave the page within seconds to other URLs.
Improper sales message: A bounce rate will be higher if your sales message does not comply with the services you offer. We advise not to offer misleading messages like ‘no fees for our services’ if this is not true. Landing pages should provide the information and services that were promised in the ad copy.
Want to figure out how your site is doing? That is what us Analytics guru’s are here for!