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Analysing & Understanding Bounce Rates

Keeping a close watch on the bounce rate of your website is a good way to gauge if your website is performing well or not. A high bounce rate suggests that visitors to your website do not find your content engaging.

While different website may illicit different responses from different users, it is important to know what the general benchmark is within the industry. Being aware of this benchmark is important so that you can identify and remedy poor website performances. However, before attempting to analyse and interpret the bounce rate data, do keep yourself up to speed with essentials of bounce rates.

How To Calculate Bounce Rate? 

There are 2 types of bounce rates – bounce rate of webpage and bounce rate of website.

Bounce Rate of Webpage : ( Single page sessions / All Sessions ) * 100
Bounce Rate of Website   : ( Total Number of Bounces Across All The Pages in Website  / Total Number of Entrances Across All The Pages on The Website ) * 100

*Entrances refer to the number of times visitors have entered your site in any page. 

**Data for bounce rate of website is calculated over a specific time frame.

Do take note that the bounce rate reflected in your overview report on Google Analytics is for the whole website (photo below).

Example of overview report on Google Analytics

 

Calculation for Bounce Rate Example 1 :

If 30 visitors out of a total of 100 visitors leave without any other interaction in your website, this means that your bounce rate is 30%.

Calculation for Bounce Rate Example 2 :

Let’s take for example that your website has 3 pages, Pages A, B & C. You are interested to look at the bounce rate from Monday to Wednesday. Each day, each page only records 1 user session. 

Monday        : Page A → Page B → Page C → Exit

Tuesday       : Page B → Page A → Page C → Exit

Wednesday : Page A → Exit

Report for Page A: 

  • 3 page views
  • 50% Bounce Rate

Report for Page A (Explanation):

  • You might have calculated the bounce rate to be 33%. This is wrong because the user view on Tuesday of Page A is not considered as a bounce. This is because the user viewed Page A after viewing Page B. In this case, Page A is the second page. The calculation for bounce rate is only counted when that particular page is the starting page for the user session. Thus, only Monday and Wednesday are valid counts in the calculation for bounce rate for Page A.

Report for Pages B & C: 

  • 2 page views
  • 0% Bounce Rate

Therefore, from the formulas above, the bounce rate is not related to how much time a visitor spent on the website, or web page.

What Activities Do Not Constitute As A Bounce?

Most people would treat all single page visit as a bounce. However, this is not necessarily true. Not all single page visits can are bounces. Here are some scenarios that do not contribute to the calculation of bounce rate:

1. Event Tracking 

A website visitor triggers an event which is tracked using event tracking code. This visitor then leaves the website and does not browse anymore.

Eg, A visitor on your landing page clicks on the video “Play” button and then leaves the website without browsing any further. 

This action of “Play” is being tracked by the “event tracking code” and Google Analytics will not register this activity as a bounce. Therefore the implementation of event tracking can significantly reduce the bounce rate of a web page. 

2. Auto-Execution Event Tracking

A website visitor triggers the automatic playing of the video, although the visitor has not clicked on anything in the website. 

Eg, Each time a web browser loads the page, the embedded video will start playing automatically. The visitor of this web page leaves within 30 minutes without any other interaction with the web page and does not even browse the website. 

This automatic action of “Play” is being tracked by the “event tracking code” and Google Analytics will not register this activity as a bounce. Therefore the implementation of event tracking can significantly reduce the bounce rate of a web page. 

3. Social Tracking

A website visitor triggers a social event which is tracked using social interaction analytics tracking code. This visitor then leaves the website and does not browse anymore.

Eg, A visitor on your blogpost reads your blog and shares it using the social interaction button clicks and then leaves the website without browsing any further. 

This action of “Share” is being tracked by the “social interaction analytics tracking code” and Google Analytics will not register this activity as a bounce. Therefore the implementation of social tracking can significantly reduce the bounce rate of a web page. 

How to Analyse Bounce Rate Data

Your bounce rate data can be analysed from several angles. If you are using Google Analytics, you will be able to view:

  • Audience Report → Provides overall bounce rate for the website
  • Channel Report → Provides the bounce rate for each channel segment
  • All Traffic Report → Provides the bounce rate for each source
  • All Pages Report → Provides the bounce rate for individual pages

If the audience report shows that your website has a high overall bounce rate, you will have to check if it is consistently high throughout the reports, or could it be the result of some of the channels, the source, or even an anomaly in bounce rate of an individual page. 

If the issue lies in specific pages, you may want to review if the content of those pages correlate with the rest of the pages in the website.  This issue could arise because the visitor may be unsure of where to click next and has thus decided to exit the website entirely. Additionally, you may also want to consider to review the visitor flow so as to provide clear guidance to lead the users to their next course of action.

If the issue lies in a particular channel, you may want to assess your marketing efforts for that channel. If your users that are coming in from the display channel are bouncing off at a high rate, make sure that your ads resonate with your webpage content and overall website value. This is also similar if your “All Traffic Report” shows a high bounce rate. It is possible that there could be a mismatch in expectation of the user and the content delivery of the website. 

How To Reduce Bounce Rate?

1. Improve Content

This is the simplest way to improve your bounce rate and should be the first metric you need to work on in order to reduce your bounce rate. 

Certainly, the content should be interesting, well-written and engaging to encourage readers to browse for similar articles. For e-commerce sites, be mindful to include content that develops and bolsters the user’s trust which will then help to generate more sales.

Next to engaging content, it is also essential to ensure and maintain the relevancy of the website. If you are trying to establish the website as a reputable fashion blog, it is not advisable to go off-tangent and start sharing about your political views.

2. Ensure Readability

The delivery of engaging content is also a crucial factor in improving your bounce rate. If your webpage tends to be text-heavy, do practise good formatting habits for your readers. Each web page should be able to lure the reader to browse your website further.

Even if the webpage may be loaded with information, you may want to present some of the content in the form of an info-graph, or in bullet form, with careful use of headings and sub-headings. The objective is to be able to relay the information in the most easily digestible form as possible.

3. Refrain From Using Pop-Ups

Pop-ups tend to detract the visitor’s attention by startling them and ruins the flow of the natural user experience of the website. Most of the time, the “Close” button of these pop-ups are obscure and users are forced to either spend time to fill in this pop-up form, or to find button to close the pop-up. 

The usage of effective pop-ups are tricky. They are like a double-edged sword. When used appropriately, they can help grow your subscriber list. However, they are also just as likely to drive away your visitors also. If your objective is to build your subscriber list, you may consider less pushy banners that allows your visitors to engage first and then decide if they would like to be in touch with you.

4. Use Targeted Keywords

Valuable targeted keywords are those that are most relevant to your users. Meaningless, irrelevant keywords will most definitely lead to a high bounce rate as the visitors that are attracted to your keywords are actually not interested in your website’s content. The Google Keyword Planner is a great tool to figure out which targeted keywords are useful for you.

5. Insert Meta Descriptions 

When you conduct a search on Google, there are certain information that is displayed underneath the website URL. This information provides the searcher with a short but succinct description that will further inform him of the relevancy of your website to his search intentions. This meta description acts as a filter and will help in picking up relevant traffic to your website, thus effectively reducing the bounce rate.

Do take note that the meta description are not ranked by keywords. Meta descriptions also have a limit of 155 characters, so do keep the information precise and targeted to be able to exhibit relevant information to your potential visitor.

 

Conclusion

The insights that are generated from the bounce rate data is useful in helping your analyse your user behaviour and understand your website performance in terms of engagement. Other than just focusing on the bounce rate data, it might also be wise to study the customer journey flow as they navigate through the website. This would allow you to understand how users interact with your website as a whole, and not just have an insular understanding of the bounce rate of a particular page. 

 

 

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