Bounce rate is like most Google Analytics metrics.
It doesn’t come ready ‘out of the box’. In fact, most of the time it’s plain old broken.
That’s not the fault of Google; it’s mainly down to those pesky bots which distort your data.
Here’s the thing: Bounce rate is one of the metrics that most people know and understand. The % of website visitors who land on a page and then leave the website – without visiting any other pages.
Bounce rate may not make a difference to your bottom line. For that, you need to look at your conversions and their relationship to your website goals. However, it’s often top of the list when it comes to reporting on website performance.
That’s why it makes sense to fix it. Here are 4 ways to have the biggest impact on your bounce rate – in the shortest space of time:
Imagine you’ve slaved over a 2,000-word blog. It’s packed with content you know will grab your reader by the lapels and fling them on a rollercoaster of emotions. Then you create a Facebook ad that links to the blog.
Visitor 1 arrives on the blog page. They spend 15 minutes of their life being enthralled and enthused. And then they leave.
Visitor 2 lands on the same page. However, they take one look and decide the content isn’t their cup of tea. Two seconds later they leave your website.
In Google Analytics, these two visits are both classed the same. Even though Visitor 1 spent their time fully immersed in your work, while Visitor 2 said ‘thanks but no thanks.’
What’s more, after landing on your blog, Google has no way of knowing how long a visitor spends on that page. Unless a visitor clicks somewhere else on the blog page, Google can’t record the length of time between arriving and then clicking. Both Visitor 1 and Visitor 2 will show up as having spent 0 seconds on the page.
Metrics like that can lead to you losing faith in your ability as a blogger. Others may think ‘Creating blogs is a waste of time’.
That’s why you need to set up scroll tracking. Do it via Google Tag Manager (the simplest way). Track when visitors scroll 25%, 50%, 75%, 90%, and 100% down the page. Once scrolling past 25% happens, that counts as an action (Google Analytics calls it an ‘event’). This is recorded as an action, and means there’s no bounce. Here’s how to set up Scroll Tracking in Google Tag Manager.
Imagine you’re running an ecommerce store that only ships within the EU. Your website has an IP detector flashes up a message telling non-EU visitors “Sorry, we only ship within the EU”. Naturally, most of your non-EU visitors will bounce, which will push up your bounce rate. So filter them out from your traffic.
Once you’ve set this up, you can start going granular with your remaining data. Try segmenting based on new v returning users, mobile v desktop users, even days and times of the week. Soon you’ll build up more in-depth customer personas, and can adapt your website to match user behaviour.
What’s more, if you’re tracking conversions, filtering out non-relevant target audiences has the added bonus of lifting your conversion rate.
Have you filtered out bots? Like wasps at a picnic, or people blocking your view at a concert by recording with their phone, you can’t escape them. Bots come in and show up in your data as:
The more bots you have, the more 100% bounce rate visits will show up in your data.
While filtering out bots is an endless task akin to playing Whack-A-Mole, here’s how to minimise the damage.
If this seems simple, that’s because it is. Your visitors will have all manner of motivations for being on your page. They may want to read, or they may want to explore.
So help them on their way with a few tried-and-tested ways:
Bounce rate is all about context. If your page offers your visitors everything they need, expect a high bounce rate. For example, a contact page.
That’s why you should always ignore a website’s average bounce rate – always analyse on a page-by-page basis.
Now you’ve improved your bounce rate, it’s time to improve your campaigns…
Discover the secrets of B2B lead generation