Bounce Rate is bad. Or is it, really?

The article concerns the following question – Bounce Rate is bad. Or is it, really? If you are a web analytics person, chances are that one of the metrics that you constantly obsess about and lose sleep over is the bounce rate. Bounce rate essentially means a one-page visit. It means that a visitor comes to your website, looks at only one page and leaves your website. In most cases, you would want people to browse maximum pages and hence keep the bounce rate to a minimum.

Bounce Rate is bad. Or is it, really?

However, while this may be correct to begin with, bounce rate analysis does not end there. With the web having so many dimensions to it, you need to go deeper to analyze this metric to get precise insights.

When high bounce rate is good

Visitors come to your website for various reasons other than just to make a purchase or sign-up. They often come looking for some specific information, to download, get the contact number or email address.

For e.g. You broke your brand new pair of sunglasses and now want to reglaze them. Now, you will just fill the reglaze form and leave the website. Your visit is for a specific purpose and once your job is done you do not hang around. In this case, you are looking for after-sales service to resolve your problem. This in no way dissatisfies you as a customer. However, analytics reports this as a bounce, despite the fact that the customer got the service that he is looking for.

Another great example that can be sighted is with respect to blogs. Blogs often register a higher bounce rate than websites. This may be because visitors come looking for the most recent post and on reading it, simply leave. Even here, although visitors left the blog, satisfied with the information, analytics would still report it as a bounce in pure data terms.

Tips to Remember

A key point to remember is to always analyze bounce rate in context. Merely looking at it as a standalone metric will give you a hazy and even an inaccurate reading. It is important to consider several other factors while analyzing bounce rate. It is possible that people are able to find the find information that they are looking for in a single click or by visiting a single page, which is great!

Also, it is possible that if you have a radio ad or an advertisement in the local newspaper, you may suddenly see a spike in visits as well as the bounce rate. You may have people coming in to know more about your company and your business. Many of these are satisfied with just the preliminary information and do not end up proceeding beyond the landing page.

Yet another point to note is with respect to tracking downloads. It is necessary to tag events like pdf downloads and any other on click events. If the piece of Javascript code is missing, all downloads will be calculated as exits, thereby pushing up your bounce rate.

These are some of the scenarios wherein although the reports register a bounce, it does not actually reflect customer dissatisfaction with the website. As a web analyst you must be smart to identify positive and negative bounce rate to come up with exact inferences.

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