What is Bounce Rate and How Important is it?

- January 19, 2010

Google Analytics defines bounce rate as “the percentage of single-page visits or visits in which the person left your site from the entrance (landing) page.” Wikipedia defines it as “the percentage of initial visitors to a site who bounce away to a different site, rather than continue on to other pages within the same site.”

Both of these above definitions basically say the same thing. What a marketer needs to know is that the lower the bounce rate, the better. So what is considered a good bounce rate? There are actually many different opinions on this. Some experts say that 50% is average and anything lower is considered above average. Others say that a number below 30% is what you should be striving for.

Monitoring your bounce rate can be a very valuable tool, but also a bit misleading and therefore should definitely not be the only way you are measuring your performance. A high bounce rate typically translates into a visitor that was not sufficiently engaged and left your site without so much as visiting a second page. A high bounce rate is also an indication that your visitor was not as qualified as you had hoped for.

That being said, this may not always hold true for lead generation sites. Think about it this way…lets say that you’re running a Pay per Click (PPC) Campaign, you have a lead generation site and you are sending visitors directly to your form page. If a visitor fills out the form and your website is not configured correctly (in other words, the URL does not change when the form is filled out), this could result in a “bounce” when in actuality, your searcher completed the desired action item. This often occurs with blogs, as well. Visitors will reach your blog, read all of the way through and then exit when done. For this reason, blogs tend to have a high bounce rate, as well.

While I encourage you to pay attention to your bounce rate, as it can be a useful way to gauge progress, other factors should also considered, such as time on site, landing page quality, percentage of new visitors, etc.

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