Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who enter the website at a landing page but leave it without ever navigating to a 2nd page on the site. Google Analytics defines bounce rates as:
Bounce rate is the percentage of single-page visits or visits in which the person left your site from the entrance (landing) page. Use this metric to measure visit quality – a high bounce rate generally indicates that site entrance pages aren’t relevant to your visitors. The more compelling your landing pages, the more visitors will stay on your site and convert. You can minimize bounce rates by tailoring landing pages to each keyword and ad that you run. Landing pages should provide the information and services that were promised in the ad copy.
Based on this definition, bounce rate is calculated as follows:
Bounce rate = Number of single page visits / Total number of entrances to that page
Analytics software reports the bounce rate for single pages as well as website average, usually calculated by averaging the bounce rate for all pages of the site. High bounce rates (more than 50 to 60%) indicate a problem in your online marketing. Assuming that your website performance is not an issue, then visitors are leaving your website because the landing page is not providing the information they need. In this case, you need to assess:
- Messaging on the source of traffic
- Continuity of messaging on the landing page
- Page relevancy to the search term
A word of caution here! Website bounce rate can be misleading most of the time. Taking an average bounce rate of thousands of pages is too generic to measure the health of your website.
How do you use bounce rate in optimizing your website?
You can choose between two approaches when using bounce rate for CRO:
1st Approach: Focus on pages with bounce rate higher than the website average bounce rate. For example, if a website has an average bounce rate of 52%, pages with a bounce rate higher than that should be considered first for optimization. We do not like nor recommend this approach.
Establish a mark for the highest adequate bounce rate on each type of page. Evaluate pages with a bounce rate above this mark.
- For the home page of a website, we assess bounce rates above 40%.
- On a lead generation website, we focus on pages with bounce rate of 30% or higher.
- In an e-commerce website, we look at category pages with bounce rate higher than 20%.
Take into account that optimizing pages with high bounce rates only makes sense if these pages receive a large number of visitors. Optimizing a landing page that has a bounce rate of 80% will not make any sense if that page only gets 100 entrances per month. We recommend the following guidelines:
- With smaller websites, focus on pages with high bounce rate if they receive a minimum of 1,000 entrances to that particular page.
- With mid to large websites, focus on pages with high bounce rate if they receive a minimum of 10,000 entrances to that particular page.