What’s the bounce fee? Tips on how to interpret it and work with it

The bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who do not take any further action after landing on a webpage, e.g. B. by clicking on another page, leaving a comment or adding an item to your shopping cart.

It's a great metric to measure user interaction, but only if you know how to use it.

In this article, you will learn how to:

Spoiler alert: The last two points are the wrong questions. So don't hop around and find out why.

How Google Analytics calculates the bounce rate

Your Google Analytics tracking should be present on every page of your website I WOULD in code. When someone visits your website this code is triggered and a session is triggered.

If a visitor leaves your website without further interaction, the session will expire and their visit will be classified as a bounce. When they click another page or take an action that triggers an event, e.g. B. filling out a contact form, the code is triggered again and informed GA that it is not a jump.

However, things are not always that simple as many things affect whether and how the code is triggered. Your data is being skewed in one way or another by:

  • Ad blocker. These usually prevent tracking codes from being triggered so you won't see these users in your analytics at all.
  • Slow loading pages: Impatient users may bounce before the tracking code loads.
  • Session time limits: There are several ways that sessions can flow even if the user plans to continue browsing the website.
  • Wrong tracking setup: We'll look into that later.

Is the bounce rate important?

The bounce rate is an important metric. This is useful for assessing user interaction and indicating that something may be wrong with your tracking setup.

But it's also an overrated and often misused metric. To prove it, sort the following campaigns from best to worst. For simplicity, assume that we spent the same on everyone and that the quality of leads (signups) is the same.

I've given respondents for marketing roles a slightly more elaborate version of this task. Most took the bounce rate into account when making their decision.

In reality, the bounce rate doesn't matter here. What is important to us is ROI. You can say that ROI by comparing the percentage of users of each campaign with the respective percentage of signups. But we can also calculate the conversion rates:

  • Campaign 1: 0.07%
  • Campaign 2: 0.22%
  • Campaign 3: 0.94%
  • Campaign 4: 1.03%
  • Campaign No. 5: 5.02%
  • Campaign 6: 0.79%

So from the best to the worst: 5> 4> 3> 6> 2> 1.

The point here is that campaigns # 6 and # 1 have the best bounce rates, but they're terrible at converting users right away.

Differences between bounce rate, exit rate and dwell time

Many people confuse these three metrics, and some even use them interchangeably. So let's look at how both exit rate and dwell time compare to bounce rate.

Exit rate

The termination rate shows the percentage of sessions that ended on a given page.

For example, imagine three people visit your website and their sessions look like this:

02 bounce rate

All sessions started on side A, which has a bounce rate of 33%. Both B and C have bounce rates of 0% because no session was started on these pages.

However, the exit rate looks different:

The exit rate for side A = 33%
The exit rate for side B = 100%
The exit rate for side C = 0%

None of the three visitors left the site from side C, one from side A (of three sessions with A) and two from side B (of two sessions with B).

Dwell time

Dwell time is the length of time between when a user clicks on a search result and when they return to the SERP. Unlike the bounce rate, it's not a metric that you can find in Google Analytics. The SEO The community created it because it is seen as a possible ranking factor.

You can set up custom dwell time tracking in technical GAbut that is a way out of the scope of this article.

How to correctly interpret and use the bounce rate

As a rule of thumb in analysis, you know what you're looking for and then use filters and segments to isolate and explore that data. And that means looking at data with common characteristics.

For example, it doesn't make sense to look at the bounce rates for different channels as they are aggregated across all campaigns and landing pages.

2 Source media report

The source / medium report is an example of an aggregated report where the bounce rate is irrelevant.

Our advice is never to look at bounce rates in such aggregated reports.

The bounce rates differ from side to side. Hence, you always want to include landing page size in your reports and then choose a channel to analyze.

In my case I went to the Homepage Report (Behavior> Site Content> Landing Pages) then removed the default "All Users" segment and applied an "Organic Traffic" segment instead:

3 landing pages report

To narrow things down further, we look for a common characteristic in the dimension "landing page" and exclude statistically insignificant pages. We can do this by filtering for product pages with the word "apparel" in the Url (general characteristic) and excluding pages with one hundred sessions or less (not statistically significant):

4 filters ga

Side note.

You can use weighted sorting instead of excluding low-traffic pages whenever possible. This just doesn't work with segmented reports like this one.

The result is a report in which the bounce rate analysis makes sense.

5 filtered report

However, it's important that you don't get too carried away with your average bounce rate, as popular sites skew that number. It is better to check the mean bounce rate, which is 46.78% here (the filtered report has 15 pages, so the 8th page contains the median).

If a page has a higher than average bounce rate, it could be a sign that:

  1. The site needs a better user experience (we'll see what to focus on later).
  2. Your title tag and / or meta description does not match the content of your page, causing users to leave. The same can apply to ad copies for your service channels.
  3. It's kind of a page that people naturally jump on.

Let me move on to the third point.

Imagine you're looking for contact information for a company. You google "{Company} Contact", click through and write an email or give them a call. The site had everything you needed, but you most likely bounced back.

There are even categories of pages that naturally bounce and still satisfy the user. Think of recipes. You usually look for them when you need them. You probably won't jump from a carbonara recipe to a pizza dough recipe even if they're linked. You just want to cook the pasta.

You always need to think about the actual content of the page and why people land on it. Ultimately, however, you are still doing quantitative analysis. You will get more insights by analyzing actual user behavior. We'll go into more detail on the subject of qualitative analysis at the end of this article.

All in all, these tips apply to any metric, not just bounce rate. You need to know how to measure them, what they really mean, and use them in the right context.

What is a good bounce rate?

It depends on whether or not. There is no such thing as a "good bounce rate" in general. There are many marketing channels and several phases in the customer journey. The bounce rates differ between the landing pages and their traffic sources.

For example, here is the performance of the Google Merchandise Store homepage, broken down by marketing channel:

6 filtered report

The bounce rates for "google / cpc" and "partner / partner" differ by 36 percentage points or 133%. And there are also bigger differences.

If we look at things the other way around, we can see how landing page bounce rates differ for a given traffic source:

6 segment by marketing channel

The bounce rates for "google / organic" on the ten most frequently visited landing pages fluctuate between 35% and 85%.

Take that away?

Forget that X% is good and Y% is bad. The point is to look at the data from the right angle as shown earlier.

Why you can have a "bad bounce rate"

No, I am not contradicting myself. It is more of a "wrong bounce rate" than a "bad bounce rate" because data can sometimes be skewed and inaccurate. If you're seeing bounce rates that seem way too high or too low, they probably are and you should investigate your analytics setup for tracking errors.

Here are just a few common problems:

  1. Duplicate tracking code. Are all of your bounce rates zero or near zero? You almost certainly have a problem with duplicate tracking codes. Here's how to fix it.
  2. Set up interaction events incorrectly. Events in Google Analytics are interactive by default. If you use them, you will need to turn this option off for smaller events (such as scroll depth tracking). Learn how to properly handle events here.
  3. Do not trigger virtual page views on JavaScript-heavy websites. You need to implement something called virtual pageviews if you don't want your bounces to be skewed. Find out more here.

How to improve your bounce rate

It's a simple question, but not the best. This is because the bounce rate is not related to your marketing or business goals. A better question is how can you improve user interaction? Because the more engaged users are, the lower your bounce rates will be.

Here are seven actionable ways to improve user engagement, experience, and potential bounce rates:

  1. Give people what they came for
  2. Improve your copywriting
  3. Be mobile friendly
  4. Moderate your ads, popups, and interstitials
  5. Improve your internal link
  6. Improve the speed of your website
  7. Focus on everything else related to the user experience

1. Give people what they came for

People are impatient. If they don't feel like your page has what they were looking for within seconds of landing, hit the back button to find one that does.

Improve your chances of getting people around by giving them what they want, fast.

Most recipe sites provide a great example of what not to do here. Everyone is there for the recipe, but bloggers are happy to share their life story with you first. You have to scroll over the history of the dish, a slew of related products, and a few not-so-humble boasting about that time when they visited Italy and had the most delicious carbonara ever and, yes…. bounce!

Use the reverse pyramid method to prevent yourself from falling into this trap. Start with the "need to know" and move on to the "good to know" later.

7 inverted pyramid

2. Improve your copywriting

If users have trouble reading your content easily, they are more likely to ricochet. Keep things simple and avoid using fancy words, complex sentences and other jargons to improve your content. Most people won't thank you.

Recommended literature: 12 Easy SEO Copywriting tips for better content and higher rankings

3. Be mobile friendly

Most websites get the majority of their visitors from cell phones. Hence, it is very important that your website is optimized for smaller screens. That means intuitive navigation, large font and image sizes and as little clutter as possible.

Here's a shameless plug of our own homepage that shows up on mobile devices to show how to do it right:

4. Moderate your ads, popups, and interstitials

If I see something like this while loading a page, I immediately jump:

8 recipe bad ux

This is the kind of clutter I mentioned in the previous point. It's especially annoying on mobile devices where it takes up most of the screen and where it's often next to impossible to press the "X" button.

If you have these on your website and you don't want to give them up, at least reduce the number of ads and only trigger the popups and interstitials after the user has taken certain actions.

For example, if you have a popup for your newsletter subscription, don't show it to people until after they've consumed some of your content or when they want to leave your website. It will probably convert better that way too.

5. Improve your internal link

No one will crawl your site further unless you provide them with links to related useful resources. And this is where the internal link comes in.

Internal links are clickable links from one page of a website to another. You will see them scattered throughout this and most of the other posts on our blog. Not only are they useful for enticing visitors to consume more content, but they're also helpful for SEO. Just make sure you link related pages with relevant words and phrases.

You can use that for free Internal link opportunities Report in the Ahrefs Webmaster Tools to aid this. It searches your website for places that may be missing relevant internal links.

For example, the report suggests that we might want to create an internal link from our post on Ahrefs' Unique Features to our post on anchor text. It even suggests the words we might want to use for the link.

9 options for internal links

6. Improve the speed of your website

Pages that load slowly can often cause people to ricochet. Of course, if a user bounces before your tags are triggered, it won't affect yours GA Numbers. However, removing these "hidden" cracks can be a big step in achieving your marketing goals.

Improving the speed of your website is a big topic in itself. I'm just going to list a few things that can get rid of your hidden bounces due to slow page loading times:

  • Getting better DNS Providers.
  • Get a better hosting provider.
  • Get a good content delivery network (CDN) if you have a geographically dispersed audience.
  • Use HTTPS in combination with HTTP/ 2, server push, optimized resource prioritization and TLS 1.3 (all should be available with good hosting providers and CDNs)
  • Use compression algorithms like gzip and Brotli (supported by most hosting providers and CDNs).
  • Optimize your images and only load them when you need them (delayed loading)
  • Load your scripts asynchronously with asynchronous or delayed attributes

As I said, the website speed is much higher than this. It's a pretty advanced and technical subject. I encourage you to go through our articles (Website Speed ​​in General / Website Speed ​​for WordPress), test your website, and consult experts.

Improving the speed of the website can have a huge impact on the user experience. It ensures more data in your analyzes and can move the needle into it SEO when you have a really slow website now.

You can use the … performance Report in the free Ahrefs Webmaster Tools to get an overview of your website's speed metrics:

10 Site survey performance

7. Focus on the user experience

UX is a marketing discipline in itself. All of the previous points are either part of or closely related to the user experience.

Creating a website without user input is a lottery. They are too biased and don't represent real users. Don't fall into the trap if you think you know your users unless you speak to them regularly. This includes proper user testing.

In addition to having people clicking on your website for feedback, there is also some qualitative analysis that you can do yourself. I am talking about analyzing user behavior via recordings and heat maps to uncover weaknesses and bottlenecks. You can use behavior analysis tools like Hotjar or Smartlook for this.

One method is to segment user records based on parameters that are similar to Google Analytics. This could be things like "User was in the shopping cart but not checked out" or "Aborted Sessions from Page" XYZ. ”

11 hotjar

Another method is to check heatmaps for important pages. You may find that people click on items that can't be clicked, that don't interact with actual links, that don't flow through the page as intended, etc.

12 heat map

I've just scratched the surface here. Take this general overview of user testing and behavioral analysis as another landmark on your journey for the better UX, User intervention and ultimately bounce rates.

Final thoughts

Don't be too obsessed with the bounce rate. It has its uses, but “trying to improve your bounce rate” is rarely a good approach. It is better to focus on improving UXas this usually indirectly improves the bounce rate anyway.

We continuously have more data than ever before, and working with it properly is one of the most important marketing skills we need to work on. So I encourage you to learn about the pros and cons of other analytical aspects, as you just did with bounce rate.

Do You Have Questions? Ping me on Twitter.

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