Perhaps you should ignore your bounce rate

Monday, 16 November 2015, by Rosie Kenyon

The bounce rate can be a metric that we obsess over.  OUR BOUNCE RATE IS TOO HIGH; WE MUST FIX IT OR RUN AWAY.

To start off…the bounce rate is the percentage of people who, on landing on the first page of your website, whatever page that may be, take no further action – they do not click on anything and do not explore your site further. That is – they don’t go on to other pages of your site. 

So, if you have a high bounce rate, this is usually considered bad.  It is bad because you have lots of people who arrive at your site and then leave without seeming to take any further real interest in you or your business.

But, things aren’t this straightforward.  What if someone had arrived at a page of a website which tells them everything they need to know.  Or they just wanted to find out the contact details for a certain pizzeria down the road and on reaching a page of the pizzeria’s website, they found a phone number to place their order and some pictures of delicious pizza.  They even noted that they have an Instagram account and took themselves off to their Instagram app where they went and had a look at their pretty pizza pics. So – a happy customer, but an apparent ‘bouncer’.

This business has not failed at all in giving the customer what they need - they even built up some further brand engagement.  Sadly, the bounce rate doesn’t include an indication of the time spent on the page before they ‘bounce’.  That would be helpful, (please note, Mr Google Analytics). 

Google Analytics can be extremely helpful but they need to be fully understood and actions taken.

For example, if we’re checking out the underground tunnels (Bond/Top Gear dreams) and they’re full of abandoned baskets, we need to take a look at the layout of the supermarket upstairs and assess why and where they are losing people – at what point are people getting tired, putting their basket down and going elsewhere?  Is it because somewhere along the way, an irritatingly confusing and long form pops up and puts customers off?

Testing, analysing and looking with an objective eye will help us to re-formulate and carry out the tweaks and polishing needed to make sure we deliver exactly what people need at every stage of their online journey. 

If this means they get all this from the first page of your website that they land upon, great.  That’s a bonus for everyone. We just need to acknowledge that this is a possibility and not unnecessarily obsess over that one little metric. There’s so much more fun data to explore…

 

 

  

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