A high bounce rate means that a visitor came, did not like it, and left. They came, they saw, they're out and they are most likely never coming back!
It can be a very expensive problem especially if you are paying to drive traffic, paying for SEO to get ranked in the search engines, or paying employees/contractors to drive social traffic - the higher the bounce the more expensive the problem). Healthy sales funnels have low bounce rates which generate lots of leads and sales.
What is Bounce Rate?Bounce rate is the metric that measures a users behavior when a person views only a single page on your site and then leaves. Google analytics calculates bounce rate “as a session that triggers only a single request to the Analytics server, such as when a user opens a single page on your site and then exits without triggering any other requests to the Analytics server during that session.”
The most simple to understand about bounce rate is that you want visitors to come, get engaged, complete the conversion action and then hopefully they return back or share socially. So if customers are doing that, your bounce rate will be low and you will have a healthy sales funnel.
High Bounce rate means unhealthy funnel
Bounce rate is a complex metric that most do not understand because the context changes. If you have a single page website and there is nothing to interact with---, no forms, no links, nothing---, then a high bounce rate is to be expected. But that is rarely the case with sales funnels as the goal is to get the customer to engage, click through, learn more and then respond. Most companies and marketing people think that bounce rate is a single metric representing the entire funnel but it is not. If you look at the macro level, you will see in Google Analytics a site/funnel average bounce rate. This means the total bounce rate for all pages, keywords, ads combined.
If you analyze the whole funnel and make changes based on the site average, you are doing the optimization wrong. You must analyze the segments of your marketing by keyword and page to drill down to the specific areas where bounce rate is a problem. For a successful customer journey leading to a purchase, almost every website must load at least 2 pages, the landing page and the conversion completion or receipt page. Sometimes it is not a page load but a pop-up or page load that says the form has been completed. If the user is taking multiple steps, then the bounce must go down.
The bounce rate average is important to know and great funnels average less than 40% bounce rate. The best sales funnels have 20% or lower bounce and funnel experts can reach 10% or less.
To fix the bounce problem you must drill down the specific segments in your funnel that are causing the issue and address them 1 by 1. As you do this, you will see improvement at the micro level and your site average will start to improve as well.
Bounce Rate should be broken down into 3 categories Traffic, Page and Device
- Keyword Bounce Rate
- Ad/Post Bounce Rate
- Campaign/Channel Bounce Rate
- Page Bounce Rate
- Site Bounce Rate
I will start with the keyword and the traffic source first because if you fill the funnel with the wrong type of visitor, it doesn't matter what you do with the funnel page or device as you will always have a high bounce rate.
Keywords are important to test and make sure you have proven the word has intent to purchase. Imagine a couple discussing the subject of a “boxer” To a man it means one thing but to a woman it means something completely different.
The quality of traffic that goes into the top of the funnel will directly impact the quality of sales and ROI you get out of the bottom of the funnel.
Look at this Google Analytics Keyword Report and notice the difference in bounce rate by keyword
When companies have a conversion rate or sales problem, bounce rate is a KPI (key performance indicator) to focus on.
Avinash Kaushik says “On your home page, I should know in five seconds what you actually do. “ and provided this example
Now look at bounce rate by landing page
Compare the difference in page 3 vs page 4 for apartment floor plans. Page 4 has lower bounce rate which then means more average pages per session and more time on the site.
Now look at how Google Analytics measures the Site Average Bounce Rate
So when optimizing the sales funnel and working on bounce rate, you first must analyze at the keyword level. Then analyze the bounce rate per page. Finally, pay attention to the site average while understanding the site average is the least important bounce rate to measure as it averages all keyword and page bounce into one single KPI.
The bridge between keywords to pages is relevancy. Relevancy is an important theme to optimizing your bounce rate and improving the health of your funnel. First, I want you to consider what is the opposite of relevancy? Of course it is Irrelevancy.
If your funnel is irrelevant to your customers then you will have a high bounce rate. They will come into your funnel, find it not relevant and immediately leave.
Keyword Relevancy - What they want vs what they find
Local business also have to be relevant to their local customers and geographical keywords must be used. If your keywords are too broad, then you will generate too broad of awareness and target the wrong customers in the wrong location. When you get people in the wrong location, you become irrelevant to their needs as they intended to find a local company.
Funnel Bounce Rate by Device
Notice below how the device changes bounce rate, pages and duration.
The reason bounce rate fluctuates so much by device is because of the user experience. Basically your funnel looks different on various device types from mobile to tablet and by manufacturer.
To truly optimize the user experience, you must drill down to the specific segments where bounce rate is a problem. In the above example there is 7% difference in iPhone bounce rate vs iPad bounce rate. But LG devices are performing the worst with a 65% compared to the 39% average.
To build a healthy sales funnel requires you to pay attention to the key performance indicators such as bounce rate, time on page, average number number of sessions and abandonment points. Bounce rate is one of the more important KPI’s because it basically means marketing to sales failure rate. When you have 100% bounce rate it should resonate with your marketing team as 100% failure rate!
Aspiring to leave the people and places I visit better than I found them. I am the Chief Funnel Scientist at Funnel Science - a sales funnel optimization software and management service.