Bounce Rate Demystified

Hopefully, all readers of this blog should have access to a website statistics package – usually Google Analytics – that tells them how many visitors are coming to their website, what the most popular parts of the site are, how much of their traffic is coming from Google, and so on. (If you haven’t got this kind of information, you really should have – contact us if you need help sorting this out). Many clients feel overwhelmed by all the data available to them in Google Analytics and aren’t sure which are the key metrics they should be looking out for. In particular, many new clients aren’t sure what ‘Bounce Rate’ is.

Google’s definition is that “Bounce Rate is the percentage of visitors who left your site after only seeing one page”. For most sites, a high Bounce Rate is bad since people are arriving, taking a quick look around, and leaving immediately. However, it’s not always bad – some sites are set up with the specific aim of referring you on to somewhere else – in which case a high bounce rate can be regarded as good. Blogs normally have a high bounce rate too, as visitors come in and only read the latest post. This does not mean there is anything wrong with the blog – it’s normal visitor behaviour.

What, then, can we say is a typical Bounce Rate, assuming your site isn’t a blog and isn’t trying to send visitors to another site? Many in the industry regard the ‘line in the sand’ as being around 50% – anything over 50% being a poor bounce rate. Analytics industry expert Avinash Kaushik describes a bounce rate over 50% as ‘worrying’.

From our own experience, at Ascendancy, we regard an average bounce rate of a typical website as being around the 45% mark. Of course, you shouldn’t just look at your overall bounce rate but at the detail – are there particular search phrases which have a higher bounce rate than others? Do visitors who enter the site at a particular page have a higher bounce rate than visitors entering elsewhere? This kind of information is key to improving the bounce rate, and crucially, the conversion rate of your website.

So – how do Ascendancy’s sites compare with those built by other agencies? We have access to many client’s Analytics – some who have had their site built by Ascendancy and some who have not, and use only our internet marketing services. We looked at 10 of our sites and 10 built by other agencies and compared the bounce rates. The sites were chosen at random, though we excluded any which are blogs or which are set up to drive site to other websites. Here are the results:

The average bounce rate of the 10 sites built by Ascendancy is 31.7%; the average of the sites built by other agencies is 48.4%. Need we say more!

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