Bounce rate: how to interpret it in the right way

There’s a marked tendency within the digital ecosystem, with near obsessive features in occasion, personalising metrics that don’t provide anything new to the business. Many of the clients I work with insist on measuring the success of certain content by, for example, the number of times it has been shared. The truth is that there is many ways of being able to make the value grow like foam, but there is other metrics we should take in consideration but that might be harder to read. I’m talking about the bounce rate and how to interpret this is the right way.

Those who manage sites, either web pages, blogs or an ecommerce must take in consideration the information provided by traffic analysis tools such as Google Analytics. And the fact is that, despite showing views and backlinks one of the main metrics to measure the ROI of a new web site is the bounce rate.

The bounce rate, which is expressed in percentages, measures the percentage of sessions which have visited a sole page and then left, which means the sessions in which a user has visited a web page and then abandoned it without engaging with it. If a web page has a small bounce rate it means the content is adequate for those visiting the site. If in the other hand the bounce rate of a site is too high, its very possible that the page is not fulfilling the expectations of the users.

Why is the bounce rate important in the organic positioning?

Despite many of the elements surrounding the organic positioning being a mystery, it’s a fact that the diverse parameters that Google takes in consideration when rating a web site falls on the bounce rate. Despite this, in many cases, the way of calculating this is not adequate. For example, if a user access a webpage via a search engine and after being two minutes or more abandons the place, the bounce rate will show they abandons it with no action, which is not true as the user might have found what they were looking for and even enjoyed it.

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How to interpret the Bounce Rate?

The first thing we must take into consideration when analysing the bounce rate is that the percentage of bounce can’t be the same on a blog, web page, ecommerce or landing page. For example, we expect the bounce rate of an ecommerce to be higher than in a blog, as in an ecommerce is common for users to visits different sites comparing prices and products while blogs usually have regular readers which know the content.

Parting from this thought, there is a series of universal key factors for analysing bounce rate correctly:

1- A high bounce rate doesn’t not necessarily have to be a problem

We always associate a high bounce rate with a catastrophe. A High bounce rate does not necessarily mean that a costumer is not satisfied. For example, imagine a user is looking for a technical support tool and he finds it on the first page he visits. He has now found what he was looking for and has no need to keep surfing the net.

RESULT: a bounce rate is of 100% and the user is fully satisfied.

A high bounce rate is a problem when the objective of the site is for the user to visit as many web pages as it can. For example is the final goal is for the client to finalise a transaction within the same site.

2- Be careful with the measuring tools you use

If you stop using Google Analytics and change to a different option such as Clicky, you will realise your Bounce Rate reduces itself to half and you will go from a 75% or 80% to a 30% or 40%. Magic? I’m afraid not.

RESULT: Each system defines and measures its indicator in a different way. Don’t think that by changing tool, your bounce rate has gone up or down. Its simply the same.

Definitely, to calculate the bounce rate, the most important thing is not to depend on general numbers. You must ask yourself the type of support you are working with and distinguish between all the different users to achieve reliable results. Last advice: a good analysis for a bounce rate will allow you to know vital data about your audience to improve the model of your business.

 

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