Why are users leaving your website?

Knowing the bounce rate of a webpage can be a helpful tool in determining whether you are developing the right strategy for your business model. Do you know your bounce rate? More importantly, do you know what your bounce rate says about your web site? Keep reading to learn what a bounce rate is, what it tells you about your website, and simple tricks to keep users from “bouncing” when they reach your site.

What is a Bounce Rate?

A bounce rate is a term used in website traffic analysis that describes a way to measure the ratio of people who land on your website and do nothing to the total traffic to your site. These users do not click on a menu item, sign up for e-mails, or otherwise engage with the landing page. Essentially: they came to your page, did not see anything they liked, and promptly left.

A bounce rate involves two numbers: the number of single-page sessions and the number of all sessions. Imagine that your newly launched web page has captured 300 total sessions in the last week. What proportion of the total sessions resulted in zero engagement? The sessions with zero engagement divided by your total sessions (in this example, 300) results in your bounce rate.

Why is Understanding a Bounce Rate Important?

Your bounce rate can communicate important messages to you about your audience and about your webpage.

For example, a bounce rate between 40%-55% is average. This tells you that roughly half of all people who visit your page leave – but the other half (or more!) stay and engage with the website. In other words: whatever you are doing to encourage engagement on your site is working, but it’s not optimal and could generally be improved upon.

However, a bounce rate between 55%-70% is high. This tells you that roughly two-thirds of all people who visit your page leave. While some people stay and engage with your website, more people are leaving than not. The bounce rate here tells you that whatever you are doing to encourage engagement is not working – but there is an exception. If, for example, your website is not designed to prompt further engagement (think of a single-page site such as a blog) – then a traditionally high bounce rate is normal.

Another example of an exception to the high bounce rate rule is something like a product review page. If your product review was so compelling that it convinced someone to navigate away from your page and purchase the product, then an especially high bounce rate may be exactly what you are looking for.

Similarly, a bounce rate that falls on either end of the spectrum – under 15% or over 85% – typically means that there may be a tracking or code error. In other words, your software is not accurately capturing your actual bounce rate. Knowing this, you can start taking steps to fix the error.

In short, understanding what your bounce rate means – especially in the context of your web site – helps you determine if there is any room for improvement or if there are errors. In turn, this allows you to develop better strategies to meet your goals for your business.

How Do I Decrease the Bounce Rate for My Page?

Suppose you have a high bounce rate for your website and you are interested in decreasing the bounce rate.

Address Technical Issues

If you have an extraordinarily high bounce rate for your web page, consider whether the issue is a technical error. For example, if you recently changed the domain name for your web pages, check to make sure direct links from outside sources (like social media) are linking to the correct pages. There may also be an issue with the way the code is being displayed, or you may have a problem related to malware.

Consider the User Experience

If the issue is not technical, evaluate whether the high bounce rate is due to the user experience. You can do this by examining other numbers in your web page traffic analysis. For example, if a significantly higher proportion of mobile users are bouncing compared to users who are accessing from a desktop, then you may consider whether your web page is designed with the mobile user experience in mind. If the web page is difficult to navigate on mobile, then it makes sense that many mobile users would bounce instead.

What if the bounce rate is high across all users, no matter how they access your website? You may want to consider whether the user experience is poor for everyone. For example, popups and other intrusive advertising elements can result in people leaving your website suddenly. If you have recently changed your advertising or e-mail collection strategy, then you may want to reconsider whether having that popup is worth losing potential sales leads. Information that is difficult to find – such as product descriptions or contact information – can also frustrate people, resulting in a poor user experience and lead to a high bounce rate.

Target the Right Audience

What if the problem is not technical or related to user experience? Perhaps your web page design is excellent, the content is ideal, your website loads quickly – but still, your bounce rate is higher than you would like it to be. You may need to consider whether you are attracting the right people to your website. Think of it this way: a steak restaurant is not going to generate customers by advertising their restaurant in a vegan magazine. No matter how good the steak is or how phenomenal the dining experience might be – vegans simply are not the right audience!

Similarly, think about whether you are using the right keywords in your content. You do not necessarily want to capture everyone’s attention – but you most certainly do want to grab the attention of the audience that will best connect with your content. Connecting to the right audience – even if it is a smaller audience – is more likely to result in meaningful engagement. If you connect to thousands of people but none of them are interested in your work, you are bound to have a high bounce rate.

Use Bounce Rates as a Way to Effectively Strategize

Your bounce rate can tell you so much about how people are interacting with your website. You can increase and decrease your bounce rate by considering different elements of communicating over the internet, like eliminating technical errors or correcting coding and design flaws. Let’s talk about your bounce rate and what it means for your business – schedule a consultation here.

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