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What is a bounce rate and does it matter?

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hat is a bounce rate and does it matter? These are some of the most common questions we get, whether we are running paid advertising campaigns or managing small business websites. Here are the answers to these and other bounce rate related questions.

What is a bounce rate?

A bounce rate is the amount of single page visitors you have. This means a user has entered your website and rather then looking around at the various menu options they have “bounced” (left) your site.

Does a high bounce rate matter?

In the past a high bounce rate was a concern, but in the last few years the thinking has changed and a no matter what your bounce rate is you have to consider it in the context of your overall site, and the goals of the site.

When is a high bounce rate acceptable?

A high bounce rate is acceptable on pages where a conversion is likely to take place. For example a landing page for an e-book download where the user enters their email address in exchange for the e-book would have a high bounce rate. Also most contacts pages would have high bounce rates, as they are either looking for your location, contact information or sending an enquiry via an online form. All of these can be seen as conversions, although some are harder to track then others.

A high bounce rate is acceptable on pages where a conversion is likely to take place.

What if my homepage has a high bounce rate?

This is a tricky situation, you have to look at why. Using Google Analytics you can look at the Acquisition reports and see where your traffic is coming from, is it paid traffic, direct traffic, referrals, social media or paid advertising? If all avenues are showing similar bounce rates you need to look at the design of your page and important elements such as page load times and overall usability. If you are noticing high bounce rates from a particular avenue, paid advertising for example, look at what adverts you are running and see how relevant the page is to the ad, maybe there is a better page to link too.

My bounce rate is 100{6efb0332fd781f0c347173b283b9d8be63db7d39f67c2ac2382596c9582e175c} and the average session duration in 0 seconds, what does this mean?

One thing you have to keep in mind with bounce rates is that every bounced session will result in a session duration of 0 seconds. This is due to the way Google counts session duration. Whether the user navigates the site for 10 seconds or 10 minutes the session duration cannot be counted unless they navigate to another page or trigger an event such as a download or contact form submission. There are alternative analytical tracking programs and sites you can use that will count durations on bounced sessions such as Clicky Web Analytics but unlike Google Analytics, Clicky is not free.

One thing you have to keep in mind with bounce rates is that every bounced session will result in a session duration of 0 seconds.

Bounce rates are just one of many measurements, we always recommend looking at the overall performance of your site rather then just one or two measures. Make sure you know what a conversion on your site looks like and track these to ensure you are getting the best from your website.

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