Bounce rate measures the percentage of people who leave your website having visited only one page. Basically, they arrive on your site and don’t visit any other of your site’s pages – they simply leave.
For many marketers, this is the number they focus on the most – after all, you want engagement – and someone who arrives at your site and then leaves hasn’t engaged – or have they?
Let’s look again at the definition.
A person who arrives on a page in your website and leaves without visiting any other pages.
So, what if your page only has one page? In this case your bounce rate would be 100%!
That’s unusual, admittedly, but there are pages where the desired outcome is precisely for the visitor to leave the page! Imagine you are selling a product and your website has a number of product listings – all on one page. A visitor might want to make a purchase and clicks on the “Buy Now” link – only to be then take to your online store – which could easily be under another domain – 100% bounce – but a completed sale.
And there are more considerations. For some sectors the initial visit may be the start of a longer relationship with the site. Imagine a visitor with a personal problem – something they are just beginning to seek help with. Their initial visit may be tentative and short lived. Having plucked up the courage to visit the site, they change their mind and hit the back button. Another bounce. But they may very well return again and again and build a strong and lasting relationship with the site.
In most cases it depends upon the site and the nature of the expected relationship – if you run a site with a number of alternative offers then a high bounce rate could spell disaster – but if you run a site where the only options to move forward are “Buy Now” buttons then you might expect the bounce rate to be high.
But remember – a visit is a visit. If you have remarketing code on your site, then you can build audiences to whom you can advertise at a later date – and with segmentation you can identify an audience of your bounces. You can advertise to them in a very different way from your more engaged visitors – the possibilities are endless.
You can’t avoid bounce – but you can try and understand it and leverage the dynamics of bounce to your advantage.