What does 'bounce rate' mean?
Simply put, the bounce rate is the percentage of visitors to one site who navigate away after viewing just one page.
It's calculated by dividing the number of single-page visitors by the number of total visitors to your site within the same period.
It's an important metric because it's one of many factors that search engine's take into account when determining how to rank a site. According to SEMrush, bounce rate is ranked as the 4th most important factor for search engines.
That said, overall bounce rate is not the be-all and end-all of your site. Especially for ecommerce websites where you will likely have multiple sections of the site which hold very different purposes. Such as the homepage, product pages, category pages and blog pages.
Google puts it succinctly: “A bounce rate is a measure of visit quality and a high bounce rate generally indicates that the site’s landing pages aren’t relevant to visitors.”
What’s the average bounce rate?
According to the experts, overall bounce rates tend to fall between 26% and 70%, with the average standing between 45-50%. Take a look at the following overall bounce rates:
- 26% to 40% = Excellent
- 41% to 55% = Average
- 56% to 70% = Higher than average, not so good
- 70% or higher = Disappointing and likely requires immediate action
Above 70% is a clear signal that visitors are leaving the site too quickly and potential conversions are being lost. At this point, reviewing your site's pages with the highest bounce rates is essential.
Anything below 20% or over 90% should ring alarm bells as there is likely to be a problem with the way the analytics have been set up or with the website itself.
If bounce rates are under 20%, it’s highly likely that analytics has not been implemented correctly on your ecommerce website. This may be explained by the following:
- Analytics code has been duplicated
- Event tracking errors or problems
- Third-party add-ons are effecting data, such as a live chat
When this is happening your tracking is either setup incorrectly or something is putting people off, and this could be as simple as bad design or even browser compatibility issues.
If your site takes a very long time to load people will likely bounce off before giving your page a chance. That’s just the nature of online these days – consumers want things fast! Visitors are becoming more demanding on site speed every year and will see a slow site as poor quality, insecure, and will get fed up and look elsewhere. People know that there are likely many other competitors selling a similar product waiting for their purchase so they can afford to be picky.
Excellent ‘responsive’ website design, fast and secure servers, relevant content/products and a great user experience play a huge role in keeping your visitors on your site, lowering bounce rates and helping you to achieve more conversions.
Set your own baseline
“Good” bounce rates vary from site to site, depending on the type of business, the industry as well as the type of device being used by visitors. Mobiles tend to have higher bounce rates for ecommerce website because people tend to perform a lot of research tasks whereby they compare multiple competitors on their mobile throughout the day. Then when satisfied are more likely to convert later on a desktop, although this figure is falling as consumers become more comfortable and feel more secure purchasing off mobiles. Tablets are less predictable but tend to behave more like a desktop in terms of data.
When bounce rates are well above 60%, it’s probably time to review content or segments that are pushing up bounce rates. At the same time, it’s important not to treat this metric as a magic number that must be reached at all costs, but rather a way of finding your ecommerce site’s weaknesses. A much more effective strategy is to set your own baseline and work to improve it in specific areas.
Conversion Rate Optimisation, or CRO, is a fantastic way to improve the number of people converting on your site through the use of specific tools, analysis, hypothesis and tests that improve the overall user journey, user experience and website sales from existing traffic numbers.
If you like the sound of CRO, please get in touch with us at SOZO as we offer a CRO service dedicated to improving the conversion rate of your website. Small increases in your conversion rate could equate to a huge amount of extra revenue and sales.
Segmented bounce rates
What is deemed a “good” bounce rate will be different for every site. It will most likely even be different for every segment of your site. In short, it’s just too broad a metric to be a useful benchmark.
Instead, try looking at section-specific bounce rates. For instance, a blog heavy website will likely have a relatively high overall bounce rate as readers find your article on a search engine, enter your site by landing on your article page, absorb the information and then bounce off.
This isn’t all bad though because blog writing is a fantastic way of creating fresh and relevant content for your ecommerce website which is a positive ranking signal for search engines. They also can help pull in a huge amount of traffic, especially for ecommerce websites if you can compare similar products that people want to know the difference between.
We have many ecommerce clients who pull in a massive proportion of traffic via their blog articles which rank very highly for high volume keywords. By doing so, people are becoming aware of the brand, and is a fantastic place to promote your products and entice the user to click through to a product or special offer.
Bounce rates could be higher or lower than the site average for product pages on an ecommerce site as visitors who land on your product pages may look at similar products suggested on the page or head elsewhere on the site if your navigation is clear and user journey is clear, or they may explore your website to learn more about the company background/ethos, it's warranties and delivery details before purchasing if not presented on the page.
By segmenting the homepage from product, category and blog pages the bounce rates of your site will become much more meaningful to you when reviewing your data, and therefore much more effective when making improvement decisions for these key sections.
If your bounce rates are worrying you and think the performance and sales of your ecommerce website could be improved, we at SOZO would be happy to discuss re-vamping your website with you.
Call us on 01242 511912, fill out a quick form or drop us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org.