“Engagement and experience” – these are the magic words many businesses today are trying to hold on to and truly apply within their business and branding. Engaging, capturing and converting customers into ROI and profits is a hard task. You need to have the right tools, the know-how and the best strategies available to get an advantage over your competition. Surely as a business or brand you have seen or heard about customer engagement. Although many people think that customer experience and customer experience are the same, the two are somewhat different.

For starters, customer experience is the perception that the customers have during all their interactions with an organisation. In the world of business, however, customer engagement can mean many things. On the internet, engaged visitors will spend more time on a web site. With employees, engagement is the measure of how much an employee is committed to the job and the company. With customers, engagement is the depth of the relationship a customer has with a business or brand.

Image credit: www.cminds.com

Image credit: www.cminds.com

But not every customer sees it this way. According to Andy Frawley, author of “Igniting Customer Connections”, customer experience is the emotional connection of a customer with a brand while engagement is the actions that the consumer can take (including buying, tweeting, posting, linking, referring and following a business or brand). The behaviours and attitudes are the two of the main components of loyal customer relationships. If a business or a brand can provide a good customer experience, the business will be more recognised and will be more likely to spread positive word of mouth feedback. This will likely continue as more people will discover the brand, increase purchases of loyal customers and eventually increase profits for the business.

For some experts, experience is what the customers perceive. If it’s a positive experience, the business will be able to see the customer becoming more engaged.

Bounce Rates

With the differences between customer experience and customer engagement, we can now move into “bounce rates”. You may ask, what is the connection?

One of the most important factors for website owners, developers and marketers to be aware of is a website’s bounce rate. If your site’s bounce rate is high, there is a high chance that your website is slow, has bad navigation or is not mobile which can cause visitors to leave your website. In some ways, a high bounce rate may not be a disaster, but if your bounce rate is more than the average for your particular industry, it’s time to do something positive about it.

Image credit: www.numbimage.com

Image credit: www.numbimage.com

What Is Bounce Rate and Exit Rate?

In simple terms, the bounce rate shows the percentage of visitors that come to your website or blog, but leave without taking any action. It can also be defined as the percentage of a single-page session or sessions in which the visitor left your website from the entrance page without making any further interactions on the page. This means visitors aren’t leaving comments, clicking on other pages, articles or clicking on external links posted on your site.

We can liken this experience to browsing for books. Let’s say, for example, someone is drawn in by the cover of a book. The person picks up the book, scans the front and back cover and then puts it back on the shelf. One person doing this is not such a bad thing, but imagine if 100 people repeated this. It means the book is not enticing people to buy it. The expected ROI will not be reached.

An “exit rate” is somewhat similar; it measures users who come across a page while browsing on the site and decided to leave the site rather than staying and continue browsing. Users who bounced and users who exited were both on the website and left, so what’s the difference between these two terms?

An exit rate is a way of measuring visitors who took a look around the website, but then left the website while on a certain page or while completing a certain action. An exit rate measures users who were on two or more pages within your website but left as compared to a bounce rate where a user only visited one page before leaving the website for good.

What Constitutes a Bounce?

There are a few ways that Google calculates a bounce on your website. Again, take note that a bounce rate is just a single page view with no followed action on your site. Here are other types of bounces according to Google:

  • The viewer or visitor closes the tab your site is on or closes the browser completely.
  • The viewer clicks the back button in the browser.
  • The visitor clicks an external link from your site.
  • The visitor takes a long time to do anything on the page they are on and the session times-out.

Why does bounce rate matter? Is this something that you, as a business need to understand? Is a high bounce rate always bad? And if you see a high bounce rate, are there any particular reasons why it is happening?

What this is all boils down to is the fact that your website is not retaining any visitors. Visitors are coming to your site and they either finding what they want immediately or finding nothing at all. The key here is to make sure that once users land on a page, they are enticed and drawn to visit or click other pages around your site. Visitors must be engaged and receive good customer experience to prevent a high bounce or exit rate.

You also need to take a moment to think of the goals of your website to see if having a high bounce rate is really a bad thing. Some goals of some websites or blog sites do not include having visitors browse through different content but instead urge visitors to follow a call to action. These calls to action could include:

  • Calling 1800 numbers for product and services inquiries.
  • Clicking on ad banners that pay per click or lead to affiliate product marketing sites.
  • Leading visitors or customers to product sales on another network or to another domain.
  • Filling out a lead form that doesn’t take the visitor to another page on your website for any confirmation.

So essentially, if your website goals is for people to only visit one page on your website, then you don’t have to worry about bounce rates unless you are seeing far fewer goal completions as compared to the number of people leaving your website after viewing the single page.

Is Bounce Rate An Essential Metric?

The answer is a big YES! Your bounce rate can give insights into the flaws on your website from site design and navigation to content. If you’re not spending time and focusing on what your bounce rate means, you may fall behind in the competitive market. Why? Because in general, a high bounce rate equates to a low conversion rate, which is not what you want to happen.

As a business or brand, you want people to stick around after they come to your blog or website; to like and share what you’ve spent so much time creating and to build long-term readership and trust from your visitors and customers. Plus, many business use their websites to make money in one way or another. Also, it will also help you understand your visitors and learn what changes you need to make to boost conversion thus ensuring ROI in the future.

1. Where to Start

It all begins in Google Analytics. After you’ve signed into your Google Analytics profile for your website, you will be shown the average bounce rate. Yes, you want the bounce rate to go down but there are more metrics and data that you need to look into.

2. The Best Content

You want to put focus on your Content>Site Content>Pages. Here, you will be able to see the pages on your website that have received the most page views within the last 30 days and their bounce rate. Here you will be able to see:

  • You website/blogsite bounce rate
  • The most popular post for the month and its bounce rate

You can identify the bounce rate by clicking on columns to see pages with highest and the lowest bounce rate. This information can help you understand:

  • Which content leads visitors to more pages on your website as compared to which content is the first and last that your visitors see.
  • Which pages on your site need improvement first. In general, you want to enhance the bounce rate of pages of your website with a high volume of page views. And in this way, the pages that create the most traffic to your website will provide a gateway for visitors to access your entire website.
  • Which pages you need to check out as models to keep visitors on your website longer. Remember that the ones with the lowest bounce rates are probably the best leads to other areas on your website.

3. The Best Sources of Traffic

Next, you need to go to Traffic Sources> All Traffic. This will show you the traffic sources that have brought the most site visitors along with their respective bounce rates. This section of Google Analytics can tell you which traffic sources bring in the visitors that will stick around longer on your website. It can also tell you which traffic sources to focus on if your goal is to keep visitors on your website.

4. The Best Keywords To Use

You need to go deeper into the Traffic Resources. Under Search>Organic, you will be able to see which keywords have brought the most visitors to your blog or website through organic search along with their respective bounce rate. You’ll be able to see which landing pages the keywords lead visitors to by clicking on the Landing Page above the data and then choosing the Keyword dropdown.

The Average Bounce Rate

Depending on the website, most will see bounce rates fall somewhere between 26% to 70%. The average bounce rate for most websites can be between 45%-49%. Highest bounce rate can reach to 90% and can be as low as 27.33%. As a general rule, a bounce rate ranging from 26%-40% is excellent; a bounce rate between 41%-55% is a roughly the average; 56%-70% is higher than average but still acceptable and may not cause too much alarm depending on the website. Anything that is over 70% is a bad sign.

Consider The Mobile Bounce Rate

Wireless smart devices are the primary devices used for internet connection now thus they should be taken into consideration when analysing bounce rate. Mobile users are more likely to bounce from a website page, thus it is reasonable that any website with a large and growing mobile traffic percentage will see a higher bounce rate. So in general, expect mobile bounce rates to register about 10%-20% more than desktops.

A mobile bounce rate below 20% or over 90% is a bad sign. The first one hints at a problem with the analytics setup and the second, with the website itself. If the mobile bounce rate is over 90% it can be due to bad website design, browser compatibility issues or a disfigured tracking code. Or it can also be a single page website that has no content, links or virtual page views.

The under 20% bounce rate is just too good to be true and the analytics implementation is most likely broken. Possible causes can include a duplicate analytical code, incorrect implementation of event tracking and 3rd party add-ons. A 20%-25% bounce rate is possible but don’t celebrate until you dig around a little bit and ensure your analytics are set up correctly.

Image credit: http://bluestout.com/

Image credit: http://bluestout.com/

 Is A High Bounce Rate Always Bad?

You’d think that a high bounce rate is always bad right? But actually, it’s not always as horrible as some people think. In fact, some sites receive a high bounce rate that Google considers normal. Below are some average bounce rates across different types of websites and web pages that Google has learned to view as normal:

  1. Blogs – average bounce rate from 70% to 98%
  2. Landing Pages – average bounce rates from 70% to 90%
  3. Content website – average bounce rate from 40% to 60%

As you can probably see, the averages for most of the sites that fall into these categories have high bounce rates but it also doesn’t mean that it can’t or it shouldn’t be improved. Although Google has yet to truly confirm this, many still believe that a high bounce rate can have a negative impact on your page rank and your SEO efforts.

Decreasing Your Bounce Rate With Some Simple Tweaks

In general, bounce rates are usually seen as a plague for websites. A higher bounce rate may mean that you will see fewer conversions, lower rates of engagement and possibly low ROI for any traffic generation strategies you’re implementing. It’s a good thing that you don’t have to make a massive investment or do a complete overhaul of your website’s architecture to do this. You can decrease your site’s bounce rates with some simple tweaks.

1. Set Proper Expectations

As a business and website owner, you need to make sure that the users who visit your site are there for the right reasons. If a user is not interested in what you have to offer, there is no reason for the visitor to stay and browse your website. Ensure that all your page titles, meta descriptions and offsite brand associations are aligned with the actual purpose or goal of your business or brand. Focus on highlighting who you are and what you do best so visitors know exactly what they will be seeing.

2. Check Your Website’s Page Load Time

Page load speed can have a big impact on bounce rate. If it takes too long for your page to load, your site visitors can lose patience and leave the site without going past that initial stage. You can check on sites like pingdom.com to check how fast your site loads. If you’re not using a cache or image optimising plugin, try installing one to help your pages load faster.

3. Be Smart with Pop-up Use

In 2013, 70% of people thought irrelevant pop-ups were annoying, but some pop-ups have also been proven to increase sign-ups and conversions on some websites. So what should you do? Use pop-ups cautiously because they can annoy visitors and could result to an increase in your bounce rates. When using pop-ups, it is recommended that you set a timer so that it doesn’t hit a visitor immediately after they land on your website. You can also do an exit-intent pop-up which will only show if the cursor hovers over the close tab button.

4. Make Your Important Pages Prominent

It’s possible that you have a handful of key pages you want your customers to visit, like a sales page for an e-commerce platform, a contact page for B2B Company or a blog for heavily invested content marketers. One of your goals is to make the informative pages as prominent as possible in your website’s overall navigation.

5. Check Your Website Design

Any website design flaws can have a negative impact on your bounce rate and this is one of the easiest places to make a few changes and get some good results. Here are a few things that you need to do:

  • Ensure that you have clear navigation. If your site leads to confusion or if a user is not sure where he or she should go after landing on your site, it’s likely that the visitor will bounce. Make everything easy to find and navigate.
  • Include calls to action on each page. In the case that a visitor arrives on a page that is not your homepage, there could be confusion or questions about what should happen next. Include sign-up forms on these pages and guide your visitors to the main sales pages at every opportunity.
  • Check the formatting of each page. Make sure that all text is clear and easy to read. The paragraphs should be spaced neatly and the pages should require only a small amount of scrolling in order to find all the information needed.

6. Add More Links

Adding more links within your website to your content will help visitors view, read and share. This will help in spreading your brand to other possible customers and reducing your bounce rates because people have found the content on your website very useful.

7. Check Your Title Tags, Keywords and Meta Descriptions

Part of having a high bounce rate is that you’re attracting the wrong crowd. Many bloggers and website owners will use fancy titles to increase the click-through rate of their site. However, this should be performed with the intention of providing the right and correct information following the title and description. It will appear as click bait and people may feel that they have been duped if they are led to a page they were not expecting to see.

8. Make Your Website Mobile Compatible

Make sure that your website has a responsive design. Any visitor will get annoyed if your website is not mobile-compatible because no one will have the patience to adjust or resize the website to fit the screen of their mobile device. Any visitor will surely bounce if this is not fixed and find a competitor site that is responsive.

9. Make a Compelling Call To Action

Make sure that the most important elements of the page including call to actions are contrasting. The primary aim here is to draw people’s attention. So you have to make sure there is significant contrast between the background and other elements. Produce a good call to action copy and tell people what the reward for their click will be.

10. Take Out All Unnecessary Information

Anything that might distract your visitors and detract from your intended message like extra photos, auto-playing videos, 3rd party ads or some content that doesn’t add value should be cut out. You want your website to be focused on the primary goal of engaging visitors, making conversions and minimising bounce rate.

11. Go Beyond Your Product Pages

Any visitor or new customers would like to have all the information about the product or services you are offering but some of them may not be ready to purchase. Instead of just having the sales copy, you can include links to product manuals, how-to videos, product reviews, real-world testimonials and others. This will help the visitors in their purchasing decision and will keep them on your website long enough to make a connection or a sale.

12. Create High Quality and Relevant Content

This one is a no-brainer. Content is king and high quality and relevant content will go a long way to improving your bounce rate. Put ample time and effort into writing relevant, informative and witty posts that your visitors will like and relate to. Also keep your content fresh and if you take the time to update the content with useful and relevant information, add your “updated on” date so that your visitors know that you have spent the time to improve it.

13. Adding Related Posts

Another sure way of decreasing bounce rates is to add related posts at the bottom of your posts. These related posts are commonly indicated at the bottom of a blog post and use tags or categories to curate a collection of some posts that relate to the article the visitor has just finished reading. This will help point the visitor in the right direction.

14. Add Your Unique Selling Proposition on Every Landing Page

You only have a few seconds to draw your user’s attention and get their approval when they land on your website. So, you have to do your best to communicate clearly why they should get your service or buy your product or leave their email and fill out the form on your site. Remember to use the same unique selling proposition that you use in your advertisements. A unique selling proposition is more credible and will help your visitors in the decision-making process.

 

Bounce rate is an essential metric to understand and keep in check. Taking the time to study and lower it is just one of the many tasks that website and blogsite owners have to deal with. It’s also important to not overwhelm yourself with many issues and making lots of changes all at once to improve bounce rate. Start with small steps and research how your target audience reacts to those the changes. If they like the changes you’re doing, then you’ll know you’re on the right path and you can build on that. Entice your customers, get them engaged, and provide the best customer experience and see your bounce rate go down.

About Author

Jon specialises in research and content creation for content marketing campaigns. He’s worked on campaigns for some of Australia's largest brands including across Technology, Cloud Computing, Renewable energy and Corporate event management. He’s an avid scooterist and musician.