Have you ever entered an interesting-looking store, quickly skimmed the items, and left empty-handed? Surely, everyone has. This consumer behavior isn’t exclusively experienced by brick-and-mortar stores. Online businesses experience this on websites too.
The act of clicking onto a webpage and leaving after viewing only that page means that you “bounced.” And brands can determine how many people are doing this by looking at their bounce rate. Let’s dive into what bounce rate means for your business, why it’s crucial to keep this number low, and how you can optimize your website to improve your bounce rate.
What is Bounce Rate, and Why Is It Important?
Bounce rate is a common figure in website analytics and indicates the percentage of site visitors that view only a single page on the website. It can also be viewed as the percentage of total site visitors who leave without checking other site pages or immediately after entering the website.
So, is having a high bounce rate a bad thing? The answer is a little more complex than that.
For single-page websites or experiences, a high bounce rate is normal. For example, if a user goes to a page to download a freebie, it’s normal for them to leave after. They got what they needed, and they’re done.
But if the objective of your website is to engage with potential customers and entice them to convert — whether that means completing an actual sale or learning more information about your business — then yes, a high bounce rate is a bad thing.
If visitors are leaving after just one page, you might need to look under the hood and investigate if there are issues with website navigation, user experience, or content, then optimize accordingly.
Bounce Rate Benchmarks
So, what’s a good bounce rate, and what’s a bad bounce rate? Google Analytics has set the following bounce rate benchmarks:
10-30% for service websites
20-40% for retail websites
30-50% for lead generation sites
40-60% for content websites
70-90% for landing pages
70-98% for blogs
However, keep in mind that there are no hard and fast rules for benchmarking bounce rates. The average bounce rate for all industries is 47%, with the highest bounce rate being in business-to-business industries, but specific rates can vary between industries. Additionally, bounce rates can differ based on device usage as well, with mobile having a slightly higher bounce rate over tablets and laptops.
So, while it’s useful to understand the industry average, there’s no definite rate that says you’re doing good or bad, or that it’s paying off for your business. It’s best to focus on your website’s unique numbers. Check how you’ve performed historically, continually track your bounce rate, and optimize your site to improve your numbers.
4 Strategies to Improve Bounce Rate
If you’ve looked at your site’s numbers and found your bounce rate to be somewhat high, here are some ways you can optimize your site:
1. Understand Where and Why the Drop-Off Is Happening
You can evaluate your website’s bounce rate from different sources. Google Analytics, in particular, lets you view this stat in four reports:
Audience Overview – Bounce rate of the overall website
Channels Report – Bounce rate per channel group
All Traffic Report – Bounce rate per source or medium pair
All Pages Report – Bounce rate per page
Identifying trends in where your viewers are leaving can help you hypothesize the reason for the premature departure. For example, if you notice in your Channels Report that the bounce rate is high for visitors who find you via display ads, consider re-evaluating if your display ads are relevant or misleading. Or if the All Pages Report shows you a high bounce rate for certain pages, check if there’s a problem with the content or user interface of these pages.
2. Improve User Experience
We’ve all likely experienced quickly exiting a website after a minute of scrolling because it was difficult to navigate, the blocks of text made it hard to find the info we wanted, or the display ads were annoying. So, if your website commits these pitfalls, chances are that your visitors will do the same as you and quickly leave.
Enhance your website’s usability by designing an intuitive interface that’s optimized for different screen sizes. Be mindful of spacing and color contrast to ensure that all text, graphics, and images are readable without being hard on the eyes.
For text-focused pages, make it easier for visitors to read by using concise paragraphs, bullet points or lists, appropriate headers and supporting images. Include a clear call-to-action and hyperlink to other pages on your website to encourage them to check out more of the site.
If your pages have display ads, widgets, and promotions, ensure that the overall look is still easy on the eyes. If these extra visual elements distract from the main page content, your visitors might get irritated, miss the information they’re looking for, or feel that your website is not credible.
3. Boost Website Response Rate
In the age of increasingly fast internet speeds and real-time social media feeds, people expect everything to be instantaneous online. It’s essential that your website is highly responsive. Otherwise, visitors may think your website is down or glitchy and opt to leave instead of waiting it out.
Research has shown that the longer a page takes to load, the more likely visitors will abandon it. Furthermore, 85% of mobile users expect web pages to load faster than they do on desktop, if not just as fast.
This can greatly affect businesses that accommodate transactions on their websites. According to a 2013 study, 51% of U.S. shoppers cited website slowness as a top reason for abandoning their purchase.
To help ensure that your web pages load quickly, be minimalistic about self-loading multimedia, pop-ups, and video ads. If you’re hyperlinking to external pages, set the links to open in a separate tab instead of taking them out of the current page.
4. Review Your Content Plan
Visitors may be clicking away because they didn’t find what they were looking for. As stated previously, people expect everything to be instant online. If they don’t see what they came for right away — whether it’s information in a blog or description of a product — then they’re likely to click away.
Conduct keyword and topic research to understand what type of content your target audience wants to see. Bulletproof your pages with accurate headlines and subheadlines, error-free text, and relevant yet concise content.
Hyperlink to related content within the website to prompt their continued journey but be selective about it. If you link out too much, it might ruin the look of your text and make it appear cheap.
A/B test your pages by creating different versions of the same page and have them appear to different visitors, and then measure how they perform in terms of visitor retention. This can help you identify which factors are turning your visitors away.