Bounce Rate: What It Is and Why It Matters

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We all have questions about Bounce Rate. “Is mine any good? What is the average? How the heck do I lower mine?” These are all valid questions, especially if you have a metric that is saying that 80% of your website visitors are leaving without taking a single action! But before you panic, let’s understand what a Bounce Rate is and why it matters.

What Is Bounce Rate?

Bounce Rate is the average number of website visitors who leave without taking further action. That means, no clicking to other pages, no video views, no content downloads, and certainly no forms completed. They had their way with your landing page content and then left, never to be heard from again (…maybe).

As a marketer, you know not every visitor coming to your site is going to stay and do something, but still, you want this number to be as low as possible. An acceptable Bounce Rate varies significantly from industry to industry, but on average, it should be around 60% or less. However, it’s important to recognize your industry and marketing efforts before you set your sights on a specific target rate.

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Why Does Bounce Rate Matter?

Bounce Rate is an important metric – it scratches a hard-to-reach and important itch. Much like Conversion Rate, Bounce Rate helps paint a picture of whether or not your site provides value to your audience and if your audience is interested in what you have to say.

Example: Say you have an 80% Bounce Rate, and you’ve determined that you need to be closer to 60%. That means 8 out of 10 people leave your site without taking further action. This could mean two things, or a combination of both:
Your website content is not relevant to your audience, or
Your audience is not relevant to your content

By investigating your website’s bounce rate, you’ve potentially identified two actionable problems to fix within your marketing plan. In other words, fix your content, or fix your audience.

What Can You Do About It?

Let’s get that Bounce Rate down to where you want it. Here are some things you can do right now. Find the pages with the highest bounce rate and ask yourself these questions:

How are users getting to this page? Is it an email campaign? Social media link? Paid or organic search? Whatever the source, the user clicked your link because they were expecting to find a particular piece of content. Does the content on this page fulfill that expectation? If you promised them content about “outdoor wedding venue packages in Boston, MA,” then that’s the content you need to deliver. Reassess your content to make sure the value is clear and matches your users’ expectations.

Are they actually consuming the content? Are they spending enough time on the page to get the value from the content? Check out the “Time on Page” data in your Google Analytics account. Does that seem like a reasonable amount of time for someone to consume the page’s content? If not, look at the page design. Could the look of it be turning off your users? Does it load too slowly? Deliver a poor mobile experience? Your website should be working for you, not against you.

Are you asking users to stay or do something? Have you made it clear to the user what it is you want them to do? View more blog posts, subscribe to a newsletter, check out a photo gallery, submit a form? Make these actions as easy as possible for the user. Investing time into creating an awesome user experience will ensure that your audience finds what they’re looking for and will help those Bounce Rates down.

Now that you understand Bounce Rates a little more, you can assess your site and identify the actionable steps to take to keep that Bounce Rate as low as possible. For more content like this, click here.

Dan Seitz is the Director of Strategy at Hawthorn Creative and has helped execute marketing strategies for clients from all over the hospitality industry. He thinks that stealing money out of a wishing well doesn’t make much cents.



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