What Is Bounce Rate and How to Fix It
Digital marketing is a fairly new industry with less than three decades of global reach and influence. It is constantly evolving, and professional marketers learn new things every day. As the digital landscape evolves, we get new algorithms, channels, marketing strategies, tools, etc.
A key part of successful digital marketing is measuring its performance and effectiveness through data. This makes sense because you cannot improve something unless you measure it.
As a result, we have all sorts of measurement tools and metrics to help us analyze the performance of marketing strategies, the effectiveness of user interactions, and factors affecting user experiences, business growth, customer retention, market sentiment, etc.
In this long list of tools and metrics, we have something called "bounce rate", a key metric that can be confusing at first, even for seasoned marketers.
A lot of questions come to mind: What is bounce rate? What does it indicate? How is it calculated? Does it even matter? How can I fix it?
Let's discuss the bounce rate in detail to address all your concerns and include some key things that will help you fix it.
What Is Bounce Rate and How To Fix It
Let's start with the most basic question.
What Is Bounce Rate?
Bounce rate is a metric that shows how many visitors leave your website without visiting other pages out of total website visitors. They don't click on any of your other content or links or visit any other pages on your website and just leave.
This action is aptly called a bounce because it is a "one and done" affair, where a visitor simply lands on and leaves a page on your website. The bounce "rate" shows the percentage of total visitors who have done this (bounced) on the pages of your website.
Moreover, don’t confuse your bounce rate with your exit rate, as they are different metrics.
What Is Exit Rate?
Exit rates are slightly more complex than bounce rates. They comprise the percentage of online visitors who leave your website from a specific page. This does not mean they haven't visited other pages on your website.
It could be the last page in a long list of pages they visited on your website before leaving. Hence, exit rate is not as important as bounce rate because eventually, every visitor will leave your website.
What Does Bounce Rate and Exit Rate Tell Us?
Having a high exit rate is not something you should be worried about. It simply means that a high percentage of your online visitors left from a certain page, and it was the last page in a chain of pages. If the page offers a download, your visitors are probably excited to consume the content they downloaded.
However, a high bounce rate is never good for any page, and it is a cause for concern. So, online visitors landed only on that page and left without exploring anything further. The results are even more damning if the page has interactive content or lead magnets; the implication is that you are losing leads and conversions.
Of course, these are just examples of what these metrics mean in isolation. When there are other data points, tools, and page metrics, bounce rates, and exit rates may mean something different in context.
How Is Bounce Rate Calculated?
The formula for bounce rate is simple. The percentage is derived by dividing the total number of single one-page visits by the total number of your online visitors. The figure is the percentage of online visitors to your website who “bounced” after visiting one page. Therefore, it is called the bounce rate.
Suppose you get 100 online visitors, and 20 of them only visit a single page before leaving. In this case, your bounce rate will be 20 percent.
What Is an Ideal Bounce Rate?
Considering how bounce rate is calculated, the best bounce rate would be 0 percent, and the worst would be 100 percent. However, these are extremes, and it is almost impossible to achieve a 0 percent bounce rate for an active website with any considerable traffic.
Typically, websites have a bounce rate between 25 and 70 percent, but the ideal range lies between 25 and 40 percent. Active websites typically never have a bounce rate of under 20 percent. If this is the case with your website, it is a sign that something is wrong.
Things like incorrect tracking, duplicate code, and add-ons from third parties may lead to incorrect bounce rate numbers. It is also important to consider the user's device when assessing your website's bounce rate.
Mobile users tend to have the highest rates at around 50 percent, whereas tablet users are around 45 percent and desktop users have the lowest at around 40 percent.
What Is a High Bounce Rate?
If your website's bounce rate is above 55 percent, it’s a high bounce rate as per some marketers. However, typically, the above average bounce rate is over 70 percent. If it reaches anywhere near 90 percent, you should be concerned about the cause of such a high bounce rate.
Luckily, higher than usual bounce rates are easy to fix because it is typically a very specific thing that turns visitors away. Browser issues, improper tracking, poor design, and excessive marketing are the most common causes of increased bounce rates.
Similarly, an increase in mobile, paid ad, or social media traffic may also increase your website's bounce rate.
How to Fix Your High Bounce Rate
By now, you probably have a clear understanding of what bounce rate is, how it is calculated, and some of the factors that increase your website's bounce rate. But what if your website has a high bounce rate?
What Can You Do?
Usually, a high bounce rate indicates that your page is confusing your online visitors or is irrelevant to them. However, you shouldn’t see this as an indication for making drastic moves like a page overhaul, redesign, or deletion.
Bounce rate is just one metric that reveals one aspect of your page. Before you decide on what to do about the page, there are a few key things you need to do to understand the underlying reasons for high bounce rates.
Make Sure Your Website Is Optimized, Engaging, and Mobile-Friendly
Almost half of all global online traffic comes from mobile devices; your website must be mobile-friendly. Providing a responsive mobile experience is no longer enough. Your website needs to provide a seamless and engaging user experience on mobile devices.
If a mobile user visits your website only to find that they have to zoom in to read your content, they won't stick around for long. Similarly, mobile visitors may not find your website worth their time if you don't provide interactive and mobile-friendly engagement.
Video has proven to be a great engagement tool for mobile users. Such content allows you to convey complex messaging in much simpler and concise ways than text. It is not just great for your website's mobile version but for the desktop version as well.
Around 4 out of 5 consumers prefer watching a video about a product over reading about it. However, high-quality videos may slow down your website load speeds, which results in increased bounce rates because visitors are generally impatient.
You need to have the right web host with fast servers and optimize by compressing videos. Just make sure not to compromise too much on video quality, resulting in a poor user experience.
Moreover, long videos mean mobile visitors may bounce if it eats up too much of their data. Therefore, having concise videos that convey the key points of your message is a great way to engage mobile visitors. Give them a better user experience while ensuring that your load speed remains good.
But optimized and mobile-friendly video content is not the only thing you need to address to reduce your website's bounce rate.
Consider the Various Sources of Traffic
It isn't uncommon for traffic sources like paid ads or social media to raise bounce rates and hurt your website’s performance. So, assess your bounce rate based on the traffic source.
Think about the number of times you either misclick an online ad or intentionally click it, only returning immediately to your ongoing experience. You need to account for these sources of traffic when considering bounce rates.
On the other hand, if direct traffic is the source of your increased bounce rate, you may need to check your website URL. Is it easy to read, remember, and type? It is possible to get direct traffic from users who are accidentally typing your website address while meaning to visit some other page.
Next, you'll need to check that your website or servers are not down. This way, you can see whether direct and indirect visitors coming to your website see an error like a 404 error instead of relevant, value-adding content. No one will waste their time on a page that doesn't load.
Similarly, you should regularly check your page load speed to ensure it is under 3 seconds. Anything more, and visitors may not wait for it to load or have a bad experience if they do. You have to meet the standard expectations of all your incoming web traffic, regardless of the source.
Improve the User Experience
As mentioned previously, it isn't enough to have a fast-loading, well-optimized, mobile-friendly website anymore. You need to consider these experiential factors, considering your visitors expect them on all websites. You need to provide a great user experience on your website for different web-enabled devices, not just mobile.
The idea is to attract visitors, engage them, and keep them on your website for as long as possible. Longer user dwell times are the best way to gather leads or increase conversions. At the same time, you need to avoid things that disrupt or annoy your visitors.
Full-screen pop-ups, for one, are not the most attractive or engaging element of a website. On the other hand, a well-crafted, well-timed inbound message that doesn't cover the entire screen can be good for the users.
It brings context to our website and encourages visitors to engage without annoying or disrupting their user experience in a manner that causes them to leave your website. Other things that can improve user experience include good website navigation, intuitive menus, easy-to-read-and-consume content, attractive imagery, aesthetically pleasing design, etc.
Match Keyword Ranking With Content
Directing traffic may not only confuse your website’s visitors but also search engines. It results in organic traffic that isn't intended for your website. These organic visitors take one look at your content, understand it isn't what they were looking for, and bounce.
Hence, you need to match your keyword intent to your website's content. It makes sure that the organic traffic coming your way is getting the content it expects. For example, if someone uses a search engine to look for "digital marketing solutions," they are likely seeking software or professional help for digital marketing.
A web user who searches for "what is digital marketing" is likely not at the point where they will make a purchase. They are simply looking for information to learn more before even considering purchasing.
You need to make sure that your page ranks on search engines for keywords in line with your content. Otherwise, you are bringing irrelevant organic traffic, hurting your bounce rate and portraying a bad image of your brand among visitors who may someday be interested in your products or services.
Another thing you should do is look into a topic-cluster framework. This highly effective SEO content strategy groups your site's pages into clusters of a specific topic or subject. It is one of the best ways to organize your website content for search engines and users. It will help bring relevant organic traffic to your pages, thus improving your bounce rate.
As a website owner or digital marketer, bounce rate is just one of many metrics and tools at your disposal. While it is a great metric to prompt certain measures, you need to consider context and ensure to look at the full picture.
Consider the mentioned things like your traffic source, mobile-friendliness, visitor devices, user experience, keyword ranking, etc. They will help reveal the underlying factors resulting in your higher bounce rate, enabling you to fix it.
Sometimes, an increase in bounce rate is expected, like when you invest in paid ads, while other times, it is a simple issue like a broken page. There is no single fix or cure-all for a higher bounce rate, and you have to diagnose what the issue is before you can fix it.
Hence, you should think of an increase in bounce rate like a car’s "check engine." It tells you that there is a problem, but you need further investigation to determine the cause of the problem.
Just make sure to check and follow the mentioned things, and you should be well on your way to fixing your website's bounce rate.
If you want to learn more about bounce rate, how to fix it, or if you need help with your digital marketing strategy, please visit our website today.