If you use Google Analytics, chances are you'll have noticed the "Bounce Rate" statistic, which is shown as a percentage of your visitors.
Today, we're going to take a look at what the bounce rate is, how it's calculated, and whether or not you should be concerned about it.
Bounce rate is rather aptly named, it is a measurement based on the number of people who visit your website, and then leave your website again without interacting with it in any way (for example, clicking a link to another page on your website, or filling out a contact form and submitting it). If someone visits your website and lands on your homepage, and then clicks to visit your "About" page or any other page on your website, they will no longer be classed as a bounced visitor, even if they leave immediately after clicking the link.
The Bounce Rate percentage calculation is simple - every time a person visits your website, they will either click a link or perform some other interaction, or they will leave without doing that.
These will be classed as either a visitor, or a bounced visitor.
To calculate the Bounce Rate percentage, every visit (both bounced and normal) are added together, this gives you your total visits, your number of bounced visitors is then divided by your total visits and this gives your bounce percentage.
Whether or not you should be worried about a high bounce rate or not will depend entirely on your website, or the page that your visitors are "bouncing" from.
If your website is informational, and your user finds the information they are looking for on the first page they visit, then that's great, a high bounce rate may actually be a good thing, as it means your visitor is finding the information they wanted, reading it, and then leaving (you'll get a better idea of this by looking at session times too).
If your website has for example a sales funnel and your visitor is bouncing from the first step of the funnel then it may be that your page isn't performing well. In these cases, we'd recommend using something such as SmartLook to see what your visitors are doing on your page, and see if that gives a better idea of why they are leaving. The other alternative would be to perform A/B testing on that page to see if a particular layout or design works better.
As mentioned, a high bounce rate doesn't always mean the page is performing badly, and likewise, a low bounce rate doesn't mean the page is doing well. It's important not to make any major changes until you know whether it's an issue or not - not only that, a lot of people incorrectly implement Google's Analytics tracking code, and this can lead to incorrect statistics. If you're not sure, it's often better to leave well alone, or get in touch with us and we'll be able to advise further!