What is a Bounce Rate? Why Should You Care? In this blog we will walk through bounce rates with a focus on optimizing for conversions. You’ll learn the questions that will help you better understand why people leave your site quickly as well as the powerful business benefits of reducing your bounce rate.
Google Analytics defines bounce rate as the percentage of single-page visits where the person left the site without doing any other interaction. It is a measure of the percentage of people who land on your website and fail to do anything else such as click on a menu item, or follow any internal links leading to other pages on your site. What we can get from this is that the visitor was not interested because they either did not find what they were looking for, there were technical issues like error messages and slow loading of the page, or that the site is not user-friendly or professional-looking. All of these things can be a contributor to bounce rate being high. A high bounce rate for an eCommerce site means that you get fewer conversions.
Why did the visitor leave so quickly?
But checking if a visitor came and went without doing interaction is a very simplistic way of looking at this metric, this could only be the tip of the iceberg. Yes, the person did visit only one page. Yes, that person left without doing anything else. This are all true, but there are also other factors that we need to be aware of in order to know why the visitor bounced. Objectively looking at the bounce rate and trying to randomly fix the site from top to bottom is like giving your car a hot new paint job because it does not start. You could be wasting your effort if you do not know what exactly to fix.
Consider these questions:
- What was the visitor’s intent?
The intent is very important as it lets us know why the person came to visit. In our case, it could be to check a product out, and not necessarily buy it. The common online shopper will do a lot of browsing before committing themselves into buying a product especially if that product costs an arm and a leg. In such cases the shopper would compare between different competing products to see which one is better quality-wise or the better deal. In cases where you are seeing a high bounce rate in a specific product page, the visitor could just be looking or didn’t find your offer compelling enough. If that potential customer has previously visited the site and left their email address, we can then run a follow up email campaign offering discounts, free shipping, or even freebies to make them return and make a purchase. As you can see, there are still opportunities to convert bounces into sales. But for unique first-time visitors that bounce, we can take that as a learning opportunity. And with proper information regarding the source of the visitors, we can formulate targeted solutions.
- What source did the visitor come from?
The source of the traffic also has an impact to our bounce rate. All traffic actually contributes to increasing or lowering the bounce rate for your site. If the visitor engages with the site, then that will lower the bounce rate, but if the visitor left without doing anything else, then that increases the bounce rate. This knowledge can help you learn more about your site optimizations and marketing campaigns. For example, if you did a Facebook PPC campaign to funnel visitors to a specific page and you see a high bounce rate, then the obvious conclusions would be that the PPC is targeting the wrong audience, or that the page just doesn’t engage them.
- What sort of page did the visitor land on?
We have discussed that the bounce rate is a bit iffy when it comes to telling the whole story and it is up to us to decipher why the bounce rate is what it is. Knowing the function of a page where we are sending traffic to makes a big difference in our understanding of the increase or decrease in bounce rate. Take a blog for example, when a visitor arrives on the page, the intent is to read the blog and in most cases the visitor will navigate away or close the tab outright. This is the definition of a bounce; the user didn’t do anything other than read the blog. But this is not a bad thing because that is the nature of that page, sure it would have been better if the visitor read some other topics, but at the end of it the page served its purpose so an increase in bounce rate here is not detrimental. Now what if traffic is being sent to a product page that is meant to engage and convert a visitor? Then in this case an increase in bounce rate surely paints a negative picture for the product or the way that it is listed.
The answer to the above questions will help paint an overall picture of the state of your eCommerce site and will help you target your efforts on the correct areas.
What’s a good or bad bounce rate? It depends…
But how do we know what’s a good or bad bounce rate? According to Google Analytics, these are the industry standards, so if you fall within these numbers, your site should be well in the green. We must root our expectations in reality, after all.
Benchmark Averages per page/site type:
- Ecommerce and Retail – 20-40%
- Content – 40-60%
- Lead Generation – 30-50%
- Blogs – 70-98%
- Service Sites – 10-30%
- Landing Pages – 70-90%
As you can see, blogs have the highest bounce rates simply because of their nature. People find a blog about a certain topic and then leave once that curiosity is satiated. E-commerce and service sites have the lowest because people really do need to browse these sites, so if your eCommerce site is seeing high bounce rates, you need to do something quickly.
Reducing bounce rate can increase revenue
At the end of the day, conversion is really what we are aiming for and bounce rate can be one of the most relevant metrics you should be optimizing for in your eCommerce site in order to get visitors to convert, we need to get them engaged, that means optimizing the site to provide the needs of your chosen audience.
Tips for decreasing your bounce rate to improve e-commerce conversions:
- Optimize your product listing by giving great product titles and descriptions. Having professional looking images and life shots of the products help greatly in convincing customers.
- Make your site user-friendly. Make navigation easy, especially with regards to finding products. A very big turn off for visitors is if the search and advanced search functions do not work well. Make sure that the search function allows users to find relevant products even if they do not know exactly what to type in the search bar.
- Make the checkout process easier and streamlined. Sometimes, this can make customers abandon their cart, especially if they already got frustrated with some other quirky things about the site.
Doing these optimizations will help to ensure that targeted traffic are not bouncing but are actually engaging, giving a high probability of conversion. In conclusion, even though there is another side to the story of bounce rate, in the context of eCommerce, smaller is better.
Need to optimize conversions to grow e-commerce revenue? Stikky Media can help.
Want to know how you can reduce bounce rate and increase engagement and conversion further? Read our case studies then give us a call and have our conversion optimization experts help you!
We don't often get to talk about websites and web design on the Stikky Media blog. These subjects are covered on the North Studio blog (which I also manage and write for). But the other day I was having a discussion with Marcus, our digital marketer, about the link between good web design and successful online marketing. In fact, few people realize how much your website influences your marketing results, especially when it comes to SEO.
Good website design is about more than slick interfaces, trendy logos and intuitive menus. Good website design is about having compliant code, no navigation errors and many other backend technical issues that few people outside of developers get to think about.
The foundation under your online marketing house
In general, we recommend to each of our marketing clients to get a professionally designed website if they don't already have one. This is because we know that effective online marketing campaigns depend on strong branding, good website usability and best SEO practices, among others. Let's have a look at some of these elements in more detail.
Branding is at the heart of your website. Who's your audience? What message do you want them to hear? What emotions do you want them to feel? All of this can be transmitted through your website design. When your website branding is strong, it's easy to follow suit with an excellent online marketing campaign that uses these branding elements.
Since the goal of an online marketing campaign is to bring people to your website, you want a seamless experience between the promotion online and the website visit. If you lack strong branding elements on your website, your visitors are more likely to bounce away.
Good website usability
Web usability is an essential component of web design. Good usability ensures longer stays, deeper engagement and helps with conversion. If you've ever visited a very bad site, you know what I mean when I say that most people have no desire to interact with an unusable website.
It's important to provide a pleasant browsing experience to those who click through your marketing campaign links. Visitors base their first impression of your business on the first few seconds they spend on your website. Do you want to lose them because of bad usability?
Best SEO practices
SEO is a complex topic that deserves several thousand words of content (just look at SEO-specialized blogs, books and webinars). However, we can explain why a good website is helpful for SEO in much fewer words.
The thing you need to know is that SEO is not exclusively based on keywords present in your website's content. Things like uneditable homepages, 404 errors, image indexing issues and the absence of a site map or a robots.txt file can affect your Google rankings. (Look at Search Engine Land's SEO Periodic Table for a full description of all SEO factors, on-page and off-page.) Professionally designed websites, however, are built on SEO-friendly platforms like WordPress or Drupal and avoid many of these errors.
Of course, other things can make or break your SEO that have nothing to do with your website backend. Things like keyword stuffing, too many ads and ineffective use of tags and headings can also affect your rankings. But with a good website, you can at least stop worrying about a few SEO ranking factors.
Good design is everything
If you want to understand this from another point of view, Ryan Holmes of Hootsuite wrote this article on LinkedIn about how design can make or break your business.
Free website builder vs. professional development
I won't lie to you and say that all self-built websites are bad. Some people are tech-savvy enough to build a nice website with the help of good themes and a little bit of experimentation. I also won't lie about how using a free website builder like Wix or Weebly for your business website is probably a bad idea. Aside from the things mentioned above, these websites don't really have what it takes to promote a strong brand, good web usability or proper SEO.
Yes, website development can be expensive. But these days, your online presence is the first thing most people will come in contact with when they reach out to your business. Do you really want to leave that first impression up to amateurs? Remember that you have about two seconds to impress your visitors–a bad website is enough to have them go to your competitor's instead.
It's a little bit like plumbing: if all you have a leaky faucet, you can probably repair it yourself. But when a pipe bursts in your basement, you're pretty much screwed unless you call a professional. A self-built personal website or blog is fine, since the audience is probably just your family and friends; however, a business website is a whole another deal.
Here's what a professionally developed website does for you, marketing-wise:
A clear brand identity
Eye-catching visual elements that match your brand colors
Clear navigation paths to lead your visitors through the site
Consistent page layouts to eliminate confusion
Easily readable content with clearly identifiable headings, links and other text elements
All of these things work together to make your website attractive at first glance.
But that's not all
Having a well-designed website is a good first step, but it's not everything. You must also make sure to have great content (ideally planned through a strategy developed at the same time as your web design) that properly informs your customers about your product or services. But since this post is about professional web design, we won't dig into the content aspect here.
We love professional website designs because we know they're an effective marketing tool all by themselves. You can check our portfolio to see our clients; most of them have also had their websites redesigned by North Studio while we were working on their online marketing campaigns.
If you're a business owner, do you feel strongly about good web design or do you think it's not as important as I think? If you're a consumer, how do you react to amateur business websites? To professional ones?
The Target Corporation released a beta website this week called Target Awesome Shop. This website is just that –awesome – with its stunning images and ease of navigation. The website is run by Pinterest, displaying the most popular items of that day. This makes for an easy way to find the deals and best value.
An image-friendly, easy-to-navigate website is what people want this holiday season. Many customers are turning to the internet to research the products they are interested in, and more often than not, to purchase these products online if the option is available. You may have to spend a little in shipping fees, it does save you the gas to the store and the stressful rushing around from shop to shop looking for that specific item.
While I prefer the great cardio burn from going to the mall, I cannot disagree with the tack the online component of Target stores is taking. ECommerce is becoming more popular for everyday shopping and it’s the visuals that are making this possible. Target may be a multi-million dollar business with many resources on hand, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t reasonable ways to share images to get people excited about your product or service.
Suggestions for making products gift-worthy online:
Create a Pinterest account. Curate your products and create boards with themes. Display items to show why it would be worth it to buy two or three of your products rather than one (Ex. An image that shows just how useful the case is to hold those top of the line drawing pencils).
Create an Instagram account. Use photos and video clips to show the product/service in use.
Utilise Twitter and Facebook to create special online promotions (Ex. free shipping on a $25 item if you share this link on your page and get 150 likes).
Post how-to videos on your website so people can easily see how the product works.
Have easy, understandable landing pages for purchasing.
One thing to remember about the social websites is to make sure they link back to your website where the customer can purchase the product. Incorporate your URL in posts often and create hashtags that include your company name. It’s the season of giving so give customers a reason to give your product!
Image attribution: FutUndBiedl
Apple just announced pre-orders of its iPhone 4S have topped one million in a single day, the most for any new product that Apple has ever launched. And they’re expecting to sell more than 100 million iPhones in 2012 alone, not to mention 69 million iPads. That’s a whole lotta mobile, and it doesn’t even include the heaps of non-Apple smartphones and tablets floating around the world.
Ever gone to a foreign country and felt totally overwhelmed by the language barrier? Probably. Now imagine the foreign country is your workplace, and the language is Drupal.
I’ve always thought of myself as somewhat of a technologically-savvy person—not in the I’ll-build-you-a-website-from-scratch sense—but if I don’t understand a tech term, I usually recognize it, or gather its definition from context.
After almost 3 years of development, Drupal 7 was officially released today. To celebrate this much-anticipated occasion, northStudio and VSBT are having a party! Join us at the Victoria School of Business and Technology on Friday, Jan 7 from 1pm – 3pm for one of our famous BBQ’s (and a Drupal cake, of course).