A bounce rate is a metric in digital marketing that tells you the percentage of people who arrived at your website but decided to exit before browsing any further.
Bounce rate can give you an idea of the first impression visitors get when they arrive on your website. It will tell you if a landing page is meeting the expectations of any visitor who arrives there. A high bounce rate indicates that something is not working either on your landing page or another source of traffic.
Bounce rate is calculated by dividing the number of people who left your website after the entrance page by the number of people who landed on your website.
A concrete example:
- You have a website for dog owners, selling eco-friendly dog food. You have created a landing page with an offer for a specific promotion.
- You send out your promotion to your affiliate partners, and on the next day you receive 1,000 new visits but calculate the bounce rate to be 99%.
- It turns out that your 1,000 visitors were coming from a forum about cats, where your link was being shared by a partner by mistake.
In this example, there is a high bounce rate because the people at the forum were expecting cat-related products or services, but your link took them to dog-related content from your webpage. The source of the traffic was incorrect. Finding an explanation for a high bounce rate will not always be as simple as this, but when you do identify a high bounce rate it is important to try to identify the cause and make the necessary changes.
Some common misconceptions about bounce rate
1. Bounce rate relates to the time spent on the page
There is a common belief that bounce rate correlates with the time spent on the entrance page. In reality, it doesn’t matter whether a visitor spends 2 seconds or 2 hours on your entrance page – if they don’t click through to another page, it goes down as a bounce.
2. There is a standard good/bad bounce rate
Your optimal bounce rate is dependent on a number of factors. These include:
- The type of website you have
- The type of business you operate
- Your brand awareness
- Types of visitor
- Your competitors
- Type of product
You should specify your ideal bounce rate on the basis of historical data, like your mean bounce rate over previous years. Ignore misleading benchmarks that you might find online.
You can choose between a number of analytics suites to help with metrics like bounce rates. You can even measure it through your private database if you keep a record of clicks and page views. It’s your choice how you do it, but bounce rate is an essential metric for assessing the performance of your website, landing pages and other online content.