Bouncing All the Way to the Bank

As a child bouncing was fun, on the bed, the couch or if you were fortunate enough to have access to a trampoline bouncing meant fun and laughs that were usually created under your power.

In the web world bouncing has taken on a negative persona. A high bounce rate was/is something to be addressed and corrected if possible all the while knowing it can never be “solved”.

What exactly is a bounce rate and why has it become part of many web analytics conversations?

Wikipedia defines a bounce rate as the percentage of total visitor traffic divided by the total visitor traffic that viewed one page and left the site. Simple terms, 100 visitors total for the reporting period, 47 viewed one page (what page of the site is typically irrelevant, that level of detail is rarely discussed) and left the site. You have a “Bounce Rate” of 47%. A terrible measurement by most standards and analysis. Many believe if you can reduce your bounce rate your conversion rates will go up. “Convert” your visitor to view more pages, and your sales or “Call to Action” will increase.

While it’s true, keeping a higher percentage of your traffic on the site and engaging them deeper into your content will reduce the bounce rate, thereby increasing the likelihood of a higher conversion, it shouldn’t really be done for the purpose of “working on your bounce rate”. Adding better content, higher quality links, designing a better site architecture and other factors will all contribute to improving your conversions. However subtle the mentality in marketing this represents, working in the positive (assisting what works) versus the negative (trying to remove and reduce a perceived Google Adword coined term) will have a profound effect in your marketing activities.

A better use of analysis time would be spent looking at what works rather than focusing on bounce rates. What drove a high percentage of conversions? If you do have a need to address bounce rates, delve deeper into your analysis. What terms did your bouncers come in under or linked from? How does that compare to the non-bouncers? Not all bounced traffic is worthy of site edits. If a bouncer’s search term was “men’s size 12 running shoes” and you sell vacuum cleaner parts, is this bouncer worth trying to keep? However, If you discover a high percentage of bouncers entering with the search term “size 12 running shoes green” when you sell these items, they (the visitor) may be missing your colors, arriving on the wrong landing page, seeing the wrong images or 100s of other possibilities of this nature, all easy to fix.

The point is, if you investigate your conversion successes and make sure that applicable content for relevant incoming search terms is readily available, then you can be pretty sure that the people who visited and left in 4.6 seconds likely weren’t your customer to begin with and likely never would be. Worrying about them and trying to “get them to stay” solely to lessen the “bounce rate” only makes you lose focus on what’s important, the customer ready to buy!

Working on a winning site and focusing on the positive is more exciting and rewarding than working on a site with the approach of trying to sell to folks that aren’t interested.

And finally, consider exactly what was meant in measuring a bounce rate to begin with. Google coined the term as it relates to pay per click campaigns. When a visitor arrives through a paid-for keyword term and only views one page and leaves, there IS a problem. Wrong keyword, wrong landing page or the inability to get the visitor to explore more all may be addressed by a review of your “bounce rates”.

If you’d like to learn more about why a high bounce rate is actually good for your web site contact CrystalVision today and lets us help make bounce more fun, the way it used to be.

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