Getting traffic to your site is a big goal for most marketers. They implement extensive strategies, ranging from SEO to social media to pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns designed to get clicks and bring users to your page.
A click to your site is a great start, but it also doesn’t tell the full story. Sometimes users click to view a page, and then click away without visiting any other site pages or taking any actions. When this happens, it’s called a “bounce.”
All pages will naturally have a non-zero bounce rate; it’s inevitable. It can become a problem, however, when key pages have high bounce rates, because it can mean that you’re not sufficiently capturing user interest and taking them to the next stage of the funnel.
Knowing how to identify and resolve high bounce rates, therefore, is an important part of funnel optimization, and that’s what we’re going to discuss today.
A website page bounce rate tells you what percentage of viewers came to a specific page on your site and then left without visiting any other site pages. It’s the only page they view before leaving.
Each website page will have its own individual bounce rate.
Some web analytics tools provide bounce rate as a standard metric under behavior tracking or in the page performance metrics. You can see this example from Google Analytics:
While it’s easy to confuse bounce rate and exit rate, these are two different metrics that tell you very different things.
A user “bounces” when they only view a single page on your site before leaving.
Your exit rate tells you the total number of users that left the site after visiting that specific page, but it doesn’t tell you how many other pages they visited.
So, while your exit rate can include bounces, it should also include plenty of users who viewed other pages, too. For this reason, your exit rate and bounce rate will often be different on most of your site pages.
A high bounce rate can mean a few different things, so it’s important to understand how to interpret your site data to get to the underlying reason. It may indicate any of the following:
If you have a one-page website, then good and (not really) bad news: Bounce rate isn’t really a concern for you. You’ll have a 100% bounce rate, because there’s nowhere else on your site for visitors to go.
So the good news is that it’s okay if you have a 100% bounce rate, because there’s no other option.
The bad news is that bounce rate is no longer a useful metric for you. You’ll want to look at other metrics (which everyone should be looking at anyways) to assess how users are interacting with your site, including:
Remember that bounce rate is never the only metric that you should be focusing on whether you have a single-pay site or not; you always want to look at the big picture of what all the metrics are telling you.
While bounce rates vary significantly, data shows that the average bounce rate may vary from 26-70%, with the ideal range being from 26-40%. 70% and higher is considered high, and anything under 20% is almost unrealistic.
It’s also good to know that mobile has a higher bounce rate than desktop, even if you have a mobile-optimized or responsive website.
Whether your bounce rate is at the high end of normal or just plain high, having strategies to help lower that metric can be essential. Keep in mind that your bounce rate isn’t just a vanity metric— it’s an indicator that something on your site isn’t properly engaging users, so best practices to reduce bounce rate will also focus on improving the customer experience.
Let’s look at 6 ways to reduce bounce rate, no matter what industry your business belongs to.
Website navigation is a vital part of UX design and overall visitor engagement. If you have a well laid-out site that is designed to drive users from one page to the next based on expected patterns of behavior, you’ll be a lot more likely to keep them on your site and moving from page to page.
Here’s an example from a SaaS site, SproutSocial. This is their home page. They’ve got commonly-needed CTAs on the first page with “Start your free trial” or “request a demo,” which appeals to two different audiences. They also have detailed navigation across the top of the site so people can easily find the information they need.
You can use web analytics platforms to track customer behavior through your site. If users are most likely to go to your home page and then your About page and then to a product page, keep that in mind and optimize the site design to account for that. It makes it easier for users to find the information they need to engage and ideally convert.
Marketing is what brings traffic to your site, so you need to make sure that you’re marketing to the right people.
If you’re in the market to buy a car and click on an ad promising advanced safety features to protect your family and you end up on a website promoting lightning-fast sports cars, there’s a disconnect– even if both are offered and even if that lightning-fast sports car does have safety features.
Consider your buyer personas, knowing which audience segments you want to reach and how. Carefully crafting your messaging around these personas— and choosing the correct marketing platforms for message distribution— will help.
Poor site performance and slow loading speeds can be major culprits in unusually high bounce rates, especially if you notice a recent uptick in bounce rates on key pages.
As many as 47% of consumers expect a site page to load in two seconds or less; 40% won’t wait more than three seconds before clicking away. This means that your site needs to load quickly and accurately the first time around on both desktop and mobile.
You can use Google’s free PageSpeed Insights tool to check your average loading times on desktop and mobile. It will provide suggestions for how to increase site loading times based on its assessment, which may include:
When it comes to high bounce rates, you’ll want to look for common culprits that cause disengagement based on the page type.
Which pages on your site have high bounce rates, and why do you think that is?
Look for pages with significantly high bounce rates, and work backwards from there.
There are some tools on the market that allow you to test different versions of a single page to assess performance, including whether or not bounce rate is lowered. You can test the page layout, copy, images, and navigation options to the next page in the funnel.
These tools allow you to create one or more variations of the page in question, and then serve the pages alternately to new users to see which performs best. Unbounce is a great option for this, especially when you’re looking to optimize landing pages.
Sometimes mobile responsiveness is a huge issue, even in today’s world where everyone needs a mobile-friendly website. Whether you have a mobile responsive site or a mobile version of your website, you need to be accounting for mobile traffic.
Test your site on both iOS and Android, and ideally check for the latest versions of the operating systems on both. You’ll also want to make sure the site is working well in multiple browsers, including Google Chrome, Safari, and Firefox.
A high bounce rate often indicates irrelevance in one way or another— people aren’t engaged enough in your content or website to stick around. And while sometimes this is expected, like if they come to find a specific answer in a blog post and click away, you don’t want your bounce rates to be so high you’re failing to convert any of the traffic coming your way.
Minimizing your bounce rate comes down to increasing user engagement, improving the customer experience, and optimizing your site based on the standard customer journey. That means proactively taking steps to lower your bounce rate is worth the time and effort, even if it seems like just a single metric.
Want to learn more about how your customers are interacting with your website and how to optimize it further? Learn more about how MyTracker can help!