It’s the oldest question in the marketing book: How do you attract customers? And once you get them in the door, how do you keep them interested?
Attention is hard to get—and keep. With countless algorithms serving up seemingly infinite alternatives, many businesses struggle to hold the interest of an increasingly discerning public. For online businesses, the tension of this pursuit is best captured by one metric in particular: Bounce rate.
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What is a bounce rate?
Bounce rate measures the percentage of website visitors who land on a single page and leave without visiting any other pages on your website. Bounce rate is determined by the number of single-page sessions divided by all sessions on your website.
Leaving a website quickly eliminates what’s known as the “second click” that helps Google Analytics determine the time spent on a given page. For this reason, Google Analytics will show a session duration of zero seconds for visitors who bounce.
Why do website visitors bounce?
Often, visitors bounce because they found everything they needed on one page. If they simply want to look up a business’s address or hours, for example, they’re unlikely to stay and browse. Depending on the context, a high bounce rate can be normal.
However, for businesses like ecommerce sites that rely on users visiting multiple web pages to convert, a low bounce rate may indicate that users aren’t finding what they’re looking for. If you’re the owner of an ecommerce site, finding a way to reduce bounce rate makes it more likely visitors will stay on your site (and complete the steps leading to a transaction).
What is a good bounce rate?
The average bounce rate for a ecommerce or retail business is between 20% and 45% according to Custommedialabs. Understanding your own bounce rate depends on how you measure success and how you stack up against your industry average will help you determine what a good bounce rate is for your site. For example, the bounce rate for B2B industries like software and manufacturing is, on average, 70%, according to recent benchmark data by Contentsquare, while travel and hospitality is 43%.
How to improve your bounce rate
- Assess the visitor experience
- Prioritize page load time
- Improve site search functionality
- Build an internal linking structure
- Attract the right site visitors with high-quality content
- Consider the layout
- Choose a single call-to-action
- Make your site responsive for both mobile users and desktop users
The last thing you want is for your target audience to lose patience or interest and head to a competitor’s site. Here are a few ideas to decrease bounce rate and improve the user experience across your entire website:
1. Assess the visitor experience
The first step in understanding bouncing visitors is to place yourself in their (virtual) shoes. It can be challenging to see your site like this, especially when the information is so familiar, but try to approach it as a blank slate. What catches your attention first? What questions does it answer—or prompt? Note where your attention goes and why. Does it feel busy? Or too spare?
2. Prioritize page load time
Site speed can make a huge difference in getting visitors onto a landing page and keeping them engaged once they’ve arrived. According to Contentsquare, when a page takes more than two seconds to load, 49% of users will leave. That’s nearly one in two users.
You can improve load time by using a content delivery network, minimizing self-loading multimedia files, and ensuring external links open in new tabs. Be sensitive about pop-ups like sign-up forms or advertisements that could drive users away before they even have a chance to view the page.
Test frequently to make sure your load time stays below two seconds. Regular site audits are an excellent way to keep your site updated, and they allow you to address metrics like bounce rate with more agility.
3. Improve site search functionality
Accurate, relevant site search is one of the best ways to help visitors find what they’re looking for. Site search is an internal search engine that allows users to access different pages or products without leaving your site.
Users might take their query to an external search engine if your site search isn’t functioning correctly. Keep these ecommerce site search best practices in mind when building your site.
4. Build an internal linking structure
One way to get a more accurate sense of time on a page and to keep users clicking through your site is to insert internal links throughout your content.
Link relevant content to the given subject matter instead of littering a paragraph with links in the hopes one will land a click. The goal is to show visitors you have an archive of helpful information.
5. Attract the right site visitors with high-quality content
To generate organic traffic, ensure that your site ranks in your user’s search results by providing well-written meta descriptions for search engines and using core keywords in your site headers and content. Many brands also choose to host multiple landing pages, each driven by unique keywords more likely to appeal to a wide variety of users.
6. Consider the layout
A clean, well-structured website design instills confidence and credibility. Easy-to-read fonts, color schemes, and text sizes eliminate viewing friction, while organizational techniques like bullet points or bold headers help quickly communicate key points of interest.
7. Choose a single call to action
One way to increase user engagement is to leave no doubt about next steps. Site visitors should be able to easily navigate your prompts, whether they’re making a purchase or learning more about what you do. Include clickable call-to-action buttons to guide site visitors.
8. Make your site responsive for both mobile usersand desktop users
A responsive design makes your site mobile-friendly. Since 2020, more than half of website traffic has come from mobile devices, so maintaining an easy-to-navigate mobile site should be a priority.
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How to improve bounce rate FAQ
Why is bounce rate important?
Bounce rate is an important metric to track because the longer a user stays on your site—and the more value they perceive it has—the more likely they are to complete a purchase flow or be considered a qualified lead. Though it’s not a perfect metric, bounce rate has real implications for business growth.
What causes high bounce rates?
High bounce rates can be caused by poor user experience or slow loading speeds, but in some cases, it can result from a site visitor finding what they were looking for on one page and leaving. This is often the case with contact pages, form submission pages, and blog posts.
How do you track your bounce rate?
To track your site’s bounce rate, navigate to the Behavior tab in your Google Analytics dashboard. From there, click Site Content and Landing Pages. Each landing page lists its bounce rate as a key metric.
What industries have the highest bounce rate?
Bounce rates for B2B industry sites are higher than average bounce rates, sometimes landing as high as 50% to 75%. This is thought to be a reflection of customer behavior rather than site quality. B2B buyers are more likely to arrive at a site looking for specific information, like pricing, rather than browsing entire websites.