Earlier on yesterday I was looking at some stats for my sites through Google Analytics. I never really paid attention to the bounce rate, but later on that day I saw a new post from Scot at Self Made Minds discussing bounce rates on his own pages. I decided to look a little further into it. Here’s Google’s explanation for bounce rate:
Bounce Rate is the percentage of single-page visits (i.e. visits in which the person left your site from the entrance page). Bounce Rate is a measure of visit quality and a high Bounce Rate generally indicates that site entrance (landing) pages aren’t relevant to your visitors.
Basically a person comes to your site, and leaves without looking at any other pages, it’s considered a bounce. Obviously the lower bounce rate percentage you have, the better it normally is for your site. It would mean that the user found something they liked and looked further into the site for more. This is an interesting statistic to look at, because you can use these numbers to better optimize your site, for example by making the user interface easier to use.
So one of the main things I noticed in Google Analytics when look at stats for my eCommerce site ActiveTuning was that there was a drastic change in January. I noticed that pageviews, pages per visit, and bounce rate had all drastically improved. So what changed in January? I had actually redesigned the entire site, and according to the stats, it made one hell of a difference! A comparison between March 2007 and December 2006 shows these improvements:
Pageviews: Up 117%
Pages Per Visit: Up 92.58%
Bounce Rate: Down 68% (To 14.46%)
Those are some ridiculously drastic differences in numbers, and sales increases have shown for it. I built the new design for the site as optimally as I could from a users perspective, and more people are now using the site the way it should be used.
As Scot mentioned, here’s the breakdown of what percentage of bounce rate is considered good and bad:
Under 20%: Extremely hard to achieve and very good.
21%-35%: A good score and probably the one most should aim for
36%-50%: Cause for concern and investigation needed to see if it can be improved
Greater than 50%: Very worrying unless there is good reason.
Another important factor he mentions are some scenarios where the bounce rate is actually expected to be high:
- Shoppers browsing for prices to compare
- Mini Site
- Info sites with good Adsense CTR placement
- Ad campaign concentrating on one sales page
- Site does not meet visitors expectation
- Slow loading site
- Poor navigation
- Blogs where visitors read a single post and visit often without having to navigate
Looking at this list, you’ll see that blogs is listed as a line item. For us blogs, we can expect our bounce rates to be higher than normal just because of the nature of the beast. It should definitely be a goal to lower the rates as much as possible, but the way blogs work, it would be impossible to have such low rates as ActiveTuning for example.
I think it’d be a good time to see where my sites stand and how they compare in regards to bounce rates. First we’ll look at this blog since it’s inception. The average bounce rate is 83.61%, but it has been getting lower (June so far is 71.87%):
ActiveTuning averages much lower, and normally is somewhere between 12-20%. Here’s a look at the bounce rates for ActiveTuning since March 1st:
Remember I mentioned that just by improving the design and UI for ActiveTuning, it made a drastic difference in bounce rates? Take a look at this chart comparing December 2006 and February 2007 bounce rates:
The rate dropped down from 55-70%, all the way down to the teens. Talk about an improvement!
What is your bounce rate like for your site? Do you have any sites that are lower than ActiveTuning? Scot asked the same question, and it’s worth taking a look at some of the comments that were posted on his site.