Bounce Rates

bounce.jpgSometimes as a webmaster I feel we can over complicate things, with so many things to do , juggle, test and remember it is easy to feel you get too much information. Thankfully I’d say with Google Analytics recent upgrade the interface for website traffic stats analysis is simpler and easier to use than ever.

You can quickly glean important information and drill down any area or url quickly and easily keeping it clear and simple, one of the stats I have mostly glossed over to my peril in the past is the bounce rate. Bounce rates are available in most of the better stat programs and although I had often ignored it, out of curiosity I decided to delve deeper quite recently.

What are Bounce Rates?
Bounce Rates can also be called the percentage exit, basically the percentage of visitors that leave a page or site without visiting any other pages within a certain time limit (for example 30 minutes). They come, they have a look at the page and they exit the site. A low bounce rate shows that the entry page causes visitors to click to other pages within the site.

Why are they important?
Bounce rates can show you very specific information about pages in your website that obviously do not satisfy the visitors, be it a slow load time or irrelevant content once you know there is a problem you can investigate it, having 500 visitors to a page is all well and good but the quality of that traffic and that page can quickly be assessed with a good bounce rate.

What is a good bounce rate?
Well some sites go outside the normal rules, for example mini sites having only one page or so will have a very high bounce rate which is fine, for the purpose of an ad campaign if the purpose is to get the visitor to view one page then the rate can be very high which would be good, for other sites in general  you can quickly tell if your traffic is bouncing right back off your site with a rough guide below.

Bounce rate:
Under 20% – Extremely hard to achieve and very good.
21%-35% – A good score and probably the one most should aim for
36% – 50% – Cause for concern and investigation needed to see if it can be improved
Greater than 50% – Very worrying unless there is good reason.

Some things to keep in mind that may cause high bounce rates

  • Shoppers browsing for prices to compare
  • Mini Site
  • Info sites with good Adsense CTR placement
  • Ad campaign concentrating on one sales page
  • Site does not meet visitors expectation
  • Slow loading site
  • Poor navigation
  • Blogs where visitors read a single post and visit often without having to navigate

Tattoo Fonts – Bounce Rate = 83.8% – One page mini site – no problem.
Tattoos By Design = 32.82% – Very good considering on site advertising
Plus 44 = $78.17% – A problem that needs to be investigated

I know with the site Plus 44 that it is getting a  re-design just now so most of the pages are not included in the stats, most of the data is just from the homepage, why would the homepage cause such a high bounce rate? Well a quick Google shows that there is a band called Plus 44, which means my homepage is getting lot of type in traffic who are immediately not getting what they want, good knowledge to have and perhaps once I update the site I can work back and capitalise on that traffic better.

Hand on heart I really didn’t know what a bounce rate was a few months ago, I think I’ll pay closer attention to that one figure in future as it looks to be a very quick health check that everything is working as it should be and everyone is happy, with so many stats and things on my to do list I’ll certainly be adding bounce rates as higher up on my radar in future.

What is your websites bounce rate?
Can anyone beat 32.82%

About Scott Jones

Scott hails from the north east of Scotland and started earning online at the end of 2000 building websites for local businesses during which time he won an award from Lord Alan Sugar for Excellence in Enterprise. After having quite a bit of success with domaining Scott mainly runs educational evergreen websites which generate over 3 million visitors per month but is always on the lookout for a fresh thinking out of the box way to turn a buck. Follow on Twitter.

Comments

  1. When I read bounce rate I thought it mean % of vistors who return to your site later on. So I then made the conclusion that the higher the better becuase a higher percenatge of people are comming back. But as you said in your post its the opposite.

    For http://www.thewebmasterstool.com/ its 56.18% although I recon I can beat you on Monday, March 19, 2007 when I got 25% :D

    For http://www.99adz.com/ its 83.83% (good considering its a word cloud)

    For http://www.bmw-hydrogen-7.info/ its 78.47% which is low and I need to work on improving it.

    Thanks for the info in the post becuase it has shown me something new.

  2. Most of my sites have a high bounce rate as traffic from places like Digg comes in huge amounts and only reads one page.

    Traffic from search engines that arrives at internal pages has a much lower bounce rate as the users normally go to the homepage to see whats there.

  3. My bounce rates are:
    blog/info site: http://www.photography-basics.com – 50.18%
    blog/random site: http://www.gazraa.com – 69.62%
    photography forum: http://www.dynaxdigital.com – 35.33%

    So my forum isn’t doing too bad, which is good to see. My two other sites may need some work…

  4. http://www.supercarnews.com – 36.19%
    http://www.bmwdealers.org – 25.86%
    http://www.vlturbo.com – 19.19%

    all figures are from the last 30 days from google analytics

    • 19.19% yikes that good work Michael!

      • Yeh I am really happy with the way this site was performing, picked up the domain after it had dropped over a year ago, then developed the site, found out the domain had been banned from google, so next few months kept building it and once it google unbanned it (by request and long delay) then it took off in the rankings, even had an eCPM of around $30, has died off quite a lot now, waiting for some new big releases of aussie cars, thats when the adsense click value goes nuts.

    • Isn’t the adsense on the bmwdealers site against googles TOS, as they say you can no longer put it next to images like you have done, maybe something to look out for before google finds it

  5. You definitely need a new and updated design for plus44 as it looks like a site from 10 years ago (no offence).

    • That site was built in 1997 & recently bought so your bang on the money there ;)

      • I like the Plus77 site. Reminds me of Travels with Rick Steves. I wanted to find something to click through but had a tough time finding a link – or at least one that caught my eye. If there had been a ‘hot spot of the day/week/month’ with a link to a page with something cool happening and a few photos to build up the event then I would have been satisfied. Hope the re-design goes well.

        • Thanks Wayne, it was a good find I think, ranks well for a lot of places of interest/tourist attractions in the UK so hopefully a good buy.

  6. Gadgetvenue.com – 35.53%

  7. Only you guys could have thought of posting about bounce rates ;) like yourselves i gloss over that number not paying attention to it. But its a great indicator most of my sites runaround the 40-65% range which is ok considering what they are their for & where I’m at in this game “very new” I have two sites on looking that perform well my first ever site http://www.fort-lauderdale-to-miami.com 22.12% And another which comes in at 15.46% http://www.nenib.com its a directory with free subbmissions so the low bounce rate is probably to be expected all considering.

  8. Perhaps its a slight cheat, but my offline businesses site has a bounce rate of 18.83%…

  9. Thanks for explaining the bounce rate scenario. I knew what it was but I did not know how to use the information.

    My bounce rates are pretty ugly on my blogs. I’ll have to investigate further.

  10. That’s funny that you posted this today, I was just looking at some results earlier on for my eCommerce site, ActiveTu

    I did a redesign back in January and I noticed that my pageviews, pages per visit, and bounce rate all improved drastically. A comparison between Mar 2007 and Dec 2006 show these improvements:

    Pageviews: Up 117%
    Pages/Visit: Up 92.58%
    Bounce Rate: Down 68%…new bounce rate is 14.46%

    My bounce rate between Feb 1st and today has been 15.81% and that’s on over 50,000 unique visitors. Not too shabby I’d say! I give myself a big pat on the back for a good design that I made :)

  11. Dave Congrats thats an awesome turnaround :)

  12. My low-traffic site (36,000 page views for June).

    Bounce Rate: 16.35% (google analytics for June 1 to July 1, 2007).

    Frankly, until your article I considered that much too high. I had no clue what bounce rates others had. In fact, I almost never look at bounce rates, but noticed the other day that it’s now front and center on GA, which I only check every few weeks anyway, which may explain the low bounce rate. How is not checking stats related to having a low bounce rate? Shouldn’t it be the reverse?

    I think I can explain my low bounce pretty easily

    1. I’m in it for the long run. I build pages that I think people will care about, do it slowly, and receive many notes saying that I have the best resource on topic X. In the year the site has been running, with no promotional effort except letting Google crawl, my pages have been cited twice in major national magazines in the field.

    2. I don’t promote the site in irrelevant places (thus no URL in my sig here – most people here probably just don’t care).

    3. Lots of old-fashioned interlinking. I don’t do this in an automated way, but in the old-fashioned hard work way. In other words, I make an effort when I write a new page to make it relevant to at least another page, as in “This is the next obvious step up from Nutcracker” or some such thing that provides for a link.

    4. I get lots of long tail traffic. I suspect that most long-tail traffic does not bounce, since the site is pretty focussed, so they are likely, having gotten there, to find something else of interest. Given that there are sites established in my niche with 12 years online and thousands of good, organic backlinks, building for an underserved sub-area was a conscious decision and tends to draw long-tail searches. I’m guessing that if I keep rising in the SERPs for general terms, I’ll start to see the bounce rates climb as well.

    I’m a total neophyte in most respects and build the site in question primarily as a service to visitors. I think makes it likely that anyone who finds it, will find other material there worth looking at.

  13. http://www.chiptalk.net – 13.91% Bounce Rate. Averaged over the last 30 days. We get about 3500 visits a day, 45,000 page views, 1500 absolute uniques etc. All according to Google Analytics if that helps.

    This blog post is the first time I’ve actually looked up what “bounce rate” means. Since I blow the chart away, I’m wondering what I’m doing that’s right? And how can I capitalize from that data?

  14. You are doing well there Greg, such a low bounce rate means you must be giving your visitors what they want and they click through your website. You content matches your traffic very well.

  15. Thanks for the explanation – but now I’m worried that my 67% BR (bounce rate) is too high.. and all this time I thought I had good traffic..

  16. David Ferrell says:

    Yeah, when I clicked on plus44.com I actually expected to see the band Plus 44′s site. That’s definitely the problem. If you started selling ringtones for +44 or something you’d make a killing. Or sell the band your domain… but they already have plusfortyfour.com

    Really good article. I actually thought that bounce rate was talking about how many people can’t view the site for some reason, not that they simply clicked away from it as you described. Phew!! That is such a relief… you have no idea.

  17. For bounce rate metrics try Pagealizer
    Pagealizer helps site owners get insight on how powerful their site content is. Pagealizer shows you in great detail how long people stay on your page (effective bounce rate), how far they scrolled down the page and where they clicked.

  18. Can anyone explain to me the difference between bounce and exit? I have a bounce of 100% on some pages but with an exit of 15% Surely if someone bounces they exit? Or am I just being thick!?

  19. Brilliant post.
    I have a serious issue in my office, as the head of publishing tells everyone that 55% is a very healthy bounce rate. This is an atrocity to hear, but nobody else in the company seems to be shocked. How could I open the eyes of everyone without putting myself in trouble?

  20. For our clients the main cause of high bounce rates is, miss communication from the marketing team.

    If visitors arrive at your site expecting one thing and instead get another, they leave.

    Simple.

  21. I have been struggling with too high bounce rate for a while, it’s been as high as an average of 88%.

    Even though I don’t know how much bounce rate is good enough, I am aiming at 50%.

    I have added a few extra features to my blog, like links in my sidebar to “the best of my writing”. I have also been editing my navigation and internal linking structure.

    -jens-

    Jens P. Berget’s last blog post..Important Information Should Be Different

  22. Thanks for the helpful explanation.

    We have a “personality” website we post to daily, mostly for fun and to keep our humor writing, cartooning, and photo skills in shape. Topics range across the spectrum of whatever we found interesting that day. Still, it’s interesting to see what topics and medium were most compelling. And no surprise, looking at bounce rate shows that topics that are part of a thematic thread or are completely unique to our site have the lowest bounce rate.

    For instance, I crocheted a hat last week in honor of Alexandre Bilodeau’s Olympic gold medal for Canada and blogged on it, titling it “In Honor of Gold, I’m Making A Bobbled Bilodeau.” Three days later, we posted “Bobbled Bilodeau Update,” and guess what? A bounce rate of zero.

    Thanks again for enlightening!

    Ciao, Kathy

  23. I just checked mine and my home page has a bounce rate of 19.18%

    If it wasn’t for this article I would have thought that was a bad thing. Thanks!

  24. Is there such a thing as too low a bounce rate? Our site is sitting at 9.14% after about a week of being on GA. It’s a drupal site, if that makes a difference.

  25. Richard Young says:

    Aug 2, 2010 – Sep 1, 2010

    6,311 Visits
    126,372 Pageviews
    20.02 Pages/Visit
    00:05:20 Avg. Time on Site
    67.49% % New Visits
    15.24% Bounce Rate

  26. My fairly new site, Cheap UK DVDs has a bounce rate of 54%, so would just fall into your ‘Cause for concern’ category.

    However, it’s a fairly new site so it’s mainly new visitors. Give it a year and it’ll have more return visitors and they’ll improve the bounce rate.

    Also, the purpose of the site is to compare DVD prices and allow visitors to then go to the cheapest retailer to buy, so I do expect a higher bounce rate than if I wanted to keep them on my site.

    But it is something I’ll keep an eye on, and could be particularly useful when doing something like changing the site layout to see how it goes down with users and if it’s an improvement or not.

  27. 32.82% is just amazing mate
    i find it difficult to keep that low, mine is 47.35% at the moment
    i am using multiple pages per post to make it less but no use :(

Trackbacks

  1. [...] a lengthy article on the subject, but Scott from Self Made Minds does such a great job explaining bounce rates, that I don’t need to.  Great article, I’ll be keeping that one on hand! Share and [...]

  2. [...] attention to the bounce rate, but later on that day I saw a new post from Scot at Self Made Minds discussing bounce rates on his own pages. I decided to look a little further into it. Here’s Google’s [...]

  3. [...] is essential.   With poor site design people will look at your site and leave immediately.  Your bounce rates will be [...]