The Noisy Little Monkey Blog

What is Bounce Rate?

Posted in Glossary by Chris Hoang on 09-Feb-2012 11:37:04

bouncy balls

Whilst discussing one of our clients’ “bounce rate” we thought it might be useful to add a definition to our Glossary.

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.

A visitor may bounce by:

  • Clicking on a link to a page on a different web site
  • Closing the open window or tab through which they are viewing your website
  • Typing a new URL into the address bar of their browser
  • Clicking the "Back" button to leave the site
  • Session timeout (leaving the computer on and wandering off to do something useful instead)

You can check out your website's bounce rate using Google Analytics. Right there on the first page you see (the Audience Overview report) it's there, underneath the main graph, bottom right hand corner:

bounce rate in analytics

 

In my mind, bounce rate is the percentage of single page visits and it is there to measure the quality of the landing page - the more compelling the landing page, the more likely visitors are to stay on (and drill down into) your site and therefore the bounce rate will be low. It is essential to ensure that landing pages, in particular those for paid ads, should provide the information and services that were promised in the advert or description of the page.

Fixing bounce rates isn’t all you need to think about, it also leads on to the importance of CRO (Conversion Rate Optimisation). If you are making an effort to drive people to your site, you need to ensure they want to explore your site and convert into a sale. Check out Nic’s previous blog on CRO for some explanation.

There is one argument, however, that bounce rate is a misunderstood measure of the success of a website as the type and aim of a website determines whether a low bounce rate equals a successful visit. A short visit to one page on a site may be enough for that page to have done its job for that type of visitor - if someone is looking for your phone number, for example and they land on your “contact us” page they won’t need any more information. So becoming fixated by bounce rate is probably not necessary, but you need to keep an eye on it, especially to see which pages need improvement, then work out what can be done to keep the user on the site for a little bit longer.

Another factor to keep in mind is that if you have some forms of video (like embedded YouTube) or other javascript pop ups (like a lightbox) on the landing page, then clicking on these and interacting with the website before moving on, is still counted as bounce. In other words, you can have a page on a website with a high bounce rate, despite the fact that visitors love the page and spend lots of time on it. If you think this is the case and want to track interaction with the page, why not set up Event Tracking in Google Analytics?

Tags: Glossary