If there is one analytical quality which seems to elude most people’s grasp it’s the bounce rate. This vital statistic is one of the most misunderstood analytical qualities, but like all measurements it’s vital to the success that you’re looking for. I’ll break it down for you to make it simple, and give you the goals you need to shoot for in order to take your page to a new level of success.
What is Bounce Rate?
In Google Analytics, a “bounce” means that the person only had a single interaction with your page. In most cases, this will be a simple page view and it means that the individual in question didn’t click any further links on your page.
It also takes into account a wide variety of different actions which can engage in the page. This means that it’s important to know exactly what it means, since an obscenely low bounce rate can actually point to problems with the implementation of your page rather than the fact that it’s super awesome. Some of the common culprits of this include autoplay videos and live chat programs, this can make the metric all but useless.
In an ideal world this wouldn’t happen, but if your bounce rate is running in the low single digits then you may want to take a closer look at what’s going on with the page, since there’s probably a problem.
All of this together leads to a pretty simple conclusion: barring some of the possible errors bounce rate is the measure of user engagement with your page.
So What is a Good Bounce Rate?
Provided everything is functioning properly, a very good bounce rate is between 25%-30%. Any lower than that and you’re probably looking at errors and not just a super successful page. You’re looking at about three quarters of people continuing through your content, which is extremely successful when you consider the attention span of the average internet user.
As a general rule, you’re probably good if you’re under 50%. Any higher and it’s time to start looking into things and figure out which parts of your user base are only taking a glance and what content, specifically, is causing them to get out of there so quickly.
30%-40% is probably just about right for most pages, provided that everything is in order. That still means that the majority of people who stumble across your content are hanging around for a bit and engaging with your page which is beneficial no matter what the purpose of the site is.
Of course, the type of page that you’re running is also an important factor.
If you’re looking at a bounce rate that’s below 20% you’re likely to have some issues with the coding in the background. On the other hand, if it’s over 90% it may just be time to revamp the site entirely since it’s likely the content driving people away in a hurry.
A Key Factor: Mobile Users
People on phones and tablets have a tendency to bounce more often. The reason why is pretty obvious, most of the time when we’re forced to look something up on a mobile device we’ll simply read what we need to and then move on.
Phones will almost always bounce at a higher rate than computers, simply due to the fact that phones are often used in haste. Expect at least a 10%-20% differential there. Tablets don’t skew quite as much, but there’s still a significant difference from those who are on a dedicated computer.
If you look at averages, without devices taken into account, you’re probably going to be looking at a much different final bounce rate than if you were to separate things by devices. If you have a truly high bounce rate(more than 75% or so) with mobile devices you most likely want to open the site you’re working on from a mobile device and see just what the problem is.
Setting Your Own Goals
Rather than chasing after a lower and lower bounce rate what you really want to determine is how your page is setup and what kind of rate you can deal with.
For an e-commerce store, for instance, a lower bounce rather than 40% is highly desirable since you want people browsing your merchandise. After all, even if they don’t make an initial purchase the chances of them seeing something they liked and coming back for it later is highly desirable.
On the other hand, a site which is purely informational can often get away with a much higher bounce rate and still meet a user’s needs. If you’re answering questions based around long tail keywords, and just supplying the information to the user, then a higher bounce rate is much more acceptable than you might think initially.
Keep in mind the purpose of your site when you determine your goals, and carefully look over anything under 25% or over 90% and you’ll be on the right track.
It can be a lot of information to take in, especially with something as misunderstood as this key part of your analytics. If you take nothing else away, remember the following:
- Anything under 25% bounce rate is likely to be an error. Look carefully at your code rather than congratulating yourself.
- Anything over 90% is unacceptable in most cases and it’s time to rework your site.
- The type of site you’re running will help to determine what level of bouncing is acceptable.
- Remember that mobile users bounce at a much higher rate than those on computers. Tablets do as well, but don’t skew quite as much.
- On average, anything from 35%-45% can be considered “good”, if you get over 50% on a website which shouldn’t have a high bounce rate it’s time to take a look at the site closely.
- Bounce rate isn’t only factored by page views, there are many different actions which can trigger a user as not bouncing, despite the fact that they did exactly that.
So, quit worrying your head off about bouncing users. Focus on making your goals and keeping your site “clean” from factors which will interrupt your analytics and you’re on the right path to a healthy and successful page.