Bounce Rate is the percentage of web site visitors who arrive at any individual page, then leave without getting any deeper into the site, thus, in effect, bouncing off the site.
Steve DiPietro of DiPietro Marketing Group LLC (www.DiPietro.biz) coined the term Bounce Rate in 1998 while eCommerce Director for a traditional catalog company. Knowing a site’s Bounce Rate is important because you can’t convince visitors to do what it is you want them to do until you first figure out how to keep them on the site.
How To Calculate Bounce Rate
Nowadays, website analytics programs automatically calculate Bounce Rate and display it to you. That wasn’t the case back in the early days of ecommerce. Below are the steps Steve used to determine Bounce Rate…
1) the amount of visitors who entered a site over a given period of time by landing on a particular page, and
2) the amount of single page views for that page over that same time period.
Divide B by A, then multiply by 100. That’s the page’s Bounce Rate percentage.
If A is 10,000 total unique visitors, and B is 6,279, then 6,279 divided by 10,000 = 0.6279 multiplied by 100 = 62.8% Bounce Rate.
What It Means To You
Bounce rates vary from industry to industry, and from business to business. They can vary even from season to season. Generally, a high bounce rate, 60% or greater, means one of two things, and possibly both…
You’re targeting or somehow attracting the wrong prospect; or
Your site uses poor design and/or e-merchandising techniques.
Why Bounce Rate Is An Important Metric
To motivate people to buy, you need to move them to and through a site’s pages. Obviously, you can’t move visitors to and through if they just hit one page, then bounce off the site.
How Bounce Rate Differs From Buy Rate
Where Bounce Rate measures those one-page-and-leave visitors, Buy Rate measures the percentage of all visitors that buy, regardless of the amount of page views.
You can increase orders on two fronts.
1 – You can concentrate on getting more of those who move through the site to buy.
2 – You can concentrate on getting those who bounce to move through the site, then convert them.
The first group is already more inclined to buy by virtue of the fact that they have invested time to view more than one page. Thus, they are easier to convert to buyers. The 2nd segment is more difficult to convert, but they need to be in order to fully maximize sales.
How To Decrease Your Bounce Rate
Target Only Qualified Prospects
One way is tweaking the media buy. Track visitors in to the site from each source in the buy. For those sources with a high percentage of bouncing visitors, test different ad creative, different offers, different landing page creative, etc. You may find that a particular poor performing medium (in terms of Bounce Rate, not raw clicks) needs to be axed from the schedule altogether.
Another way to help decrease the Bounce Rate is to test the addition of content to the site. How-To articles are a great way to move visitors to and through product. Don’t underestimate the power of How-To help. Such articles are very highly read. The result is forging emotional bonds with prospects that should help soften them for your e-merchandising techniques.
For one particular client, DMG reduced the Bounce Rate from over 70% to 25% simply by integrating How-To content within the site. With more visitors moving to and through the site because of the content, merchandising techniques had a chance to work. The result – not only a decrease in the Bounce Rate, but a jump in the Buy Rate as well.
Re-Layout & Design
A high Bounce Rate usually means there is a dire need for a re-design. Folks aren’t getting you.
A site’s layout & design need to instantly communicate 3 things to the visitor:
1. What it is you have to offer.
2. A compelling reason the visitor should be interested.
3. What it is you want the visitor to do next.
Whether you realize it or not, a web site is a piece of marketing communications, a marketing tool. Therefore, it should be laid out and designed by an art director trained in marketing communications, based on direction provided by a strategic-thinking marketing person. A web developer should only have a consultative role in the design process to provide a technical perspective.
After the strategic thinking and art direction, then, and only then, should the project be turned over to a web developer, trained in the technological aspects of building a web site.
The key is that layout & design is performed by an art director, *not* a web developer. Web developers have no training in the art of visual communication; their expertise is in web construction / development, not visual communications.
This is the best way to ensure that what is being communicated to the visitor is based on strategically sound marketing principles.
What’s Your Bounce Rate?
Take a couple of minutes right now to find out. Just ask your IT person for the numbers and do the math. Or, simply check your web site statistics software to get the numbers. (Google now includes Bounce Rate as a major metric in Analytics.)
Let us know what you discover. Let us know what you did to improve your site’s Bounce Rate.
Challenge us to do better!
Call or drop us a line…We can help!
momentum <at> DiPietro <dot> biz
© 1998-2011 Steve DiPietro All rights reserved.
For reprint permission, please write to momentum <at> DiPietro <dot> biz