Bounce Rate: The Misunderstood Metric

Bounce Rate: the misunderstood metric

Today the internet is celebrating  it’s 25th birthday. In the early days, when people were still learning what makes the internet tick, they kept hearing about one metric: bounce rate – bounce rate – bounce rate. We were told that this was the metric we need to keep an eye on. High bounce rate was the smoke signal showing you may have issues on your site, causing people to view the page they landed on and leave. Even back in the early 2000’s bounce rate was a misunderstood metric, but 25 years later, in today’s world of online advertising, complex design, and extensive data, the relevance of bounce rate is only getting smaller and smaller.

How is bounce rate calculated? Google explains bounce rate like this” “Bounce Rate is the percentage of single-page visits (i.e. visits in which the person left your site from the entrance page without interacting with the page)”. To put that simply. If someone only views a single page or your website and leaves (bounces) that will increase your bounce rate.

bounce rate formula

Why Do People Think Bounce Rate Is Important? People assume if someone hits a single page and leaves the site, there must be something wrong with that page, why else would they leave and not continue on exploring the site? This is a legitimate question, but the answer depends on the situation. Maybe all the info the user needed was on that one page – Google doesn’t look at the amount of time they spend on that single page. I could spend 7 minutes reading about the 2013 Ford F150 you have in stock, call the dealership to book a test drive (which would be considered a success) but Google Analytics is going to show that as a bounce.

Bounce rate is even more watered down when you are running online advertising. Many online advertising campaigns target specific people searching for specific things. Landing pages for online advertising are designed specifically to remove the temptation of exploring the site. You want that user to see your ads, click to get to the landing page that is most relevant to the ad, and take the desired action; whether it be filling out a form, calling, printing off a coupon etc. If that person does the desired action, that is a success, a success by every metric except for bounce rate. This is why bounce rate is no longer the key performance metric you once thought it was.

So what metrics should I be using to determine if my site is working well? Unfortunately, there is no simple or single answer to this. You have traffic coming from many sources, and the different people from those different sources interact with the site differently. You may think time on site is a good metric, but you’ve noticed it go down. Is this bad? Maybe something needs to be done and let’s redesign your whole site! But did you also notice that the amount of traffic from mobile and tablet has gone up? People visiting the site on mobile spend less time on the site than those visiting from desktop, so now that drop makes sense. The solution is not to look at your traffic as a whole but to segment out the traffic. Look at the sources of traffic individually and whether they are going up or down. Look at what devices people are coming from, and check out behaviour flow to see how they are flowing through your site.

You should have access to your Google Analytics, your website provider has no good reason to keep that from you, so make sure you have access and go in and look around, if you see anything you don’t understand ask you website provider or drop us at Strathcom a line and we can help decipher the data for you. Data is power, but only if you look.

User viewing many pages online

Does Your Dealership Have a Behavioural Exit Intent Strategy?

Bounce Recovery – Convert More Users before They Leave Your Site

It’s a well-known fact that most users coming to your website don’t convert. Whether it’s because they are just starting to consider upgrading their current vehicle or simply researching what the latest tech features are, they are not always likely to fill out a ‘book a test drive’ form.

So if you’re spending all this money to make a kickass website with unique content, real photos of your inventory, how-to or introductory videos the latest and greatest auto features, what are you doing to convert all of those users before they leave your site?

Enter Bounce Recovery! Our Bounce Recovery technology will learn what your users are doing on your site and detects “exit intent”. We don’t target these customers with gimmicky offers and creative. We target them with relevant manufacturer incentives and price updates on new and used vehicles. We create offers that are designed to look and feel like your website, and at the end of the day, generate a lead that you may have otherwise not received.

Bounce Recovery2

How does this tool work? Every month we will take care of updating the manufacturer incentive and on top of that, we will also take care of updating your customers via email when the incentive changes each month.

This is a simple solution that requires no additional effort on your part. It can integrate with your CRM, is CASL compliant, can be used to create different messages for different pages, and it can be used for New, Used and Fixed Ops. It will grow your database and give you another opportunity to reach out to prospective clients who may not realize that there’s a new incentive that comes out every month.

Here is an example of what your potential customers could see in their inbox at the beginning of each month with the new incentive:

Bounce Recovery3

If you’re ready to start converting some of those users who are leaving your site, then give us a call so we can start helping you to build up your client list and generate more leads!

What is Bounce Rate? (And What It Isn't)

Have you ever gone to a party, and thought, “Nah, this is boring. Let’s bounce!”? Maybe the music was too loud, maybe they were out of beer—maybe you showed up to the wrong house! Anyway, the record will show that you arrived at the doorway, made a quick impression, and then promptly left before exploring any of the other rooms. The same principle is behind Bounce Rate, one of Google Analytics’ most misunderstood statistics. But as we’ll discover, there are plenty of factors that come into play when dissecting this statistic. We’ll explore a few of these in this post.

Bounce Rate Like a Bouncey Castle

What is Bounce Rate?

Bounce rate is the percentage of viewers who arrive at your website, and leave without clicking through to any other pages. If ten people visit your webpage and nine of them click on at least one link, your Bounce Rate will be 10%, highlighting that mysterious stranger who didn’t click to explore another page for whatever reason.

**Think about this as you read: This blog post has its own Bounce Rate, and our Analytics team will be examining it later. Your actions will help determine this number. Do you feel like you will click through to other pages when you finish this post? Whether the answer is yes, or no, think about why that is. And is that necessarily a good or a bad thing for us? What do you think we hope to expect? Most importantly: How does this line of thinking apply to your website?**

What is a good Bounce Rate? Or a bad one?

To properly understand Bounce Rate, it is important to give up the idea of “good” or “bad.” Bounce Rate is a statistic. And, like any statistic, it should never be taken in isolation to make general conclusions. Perspective is key. For instance, if you’ve hired a firm to design and run your business’s website, and your site attracts only seven visitors, it doesn’t matter whether you have a high bounce rate, or even a low bounce rate—where are the visitors? Similarly, if you run the most lucrative car dealership in town, with one of the best reputations around, then your Bounce Rate shouldn’t rank among your primary concerns. Life is good! So just as you should be suspicious when your barber suggests you need a haircut, be a little wary when someone points to a Bounce Rate in a presentation and builds their case based on a number. confused 

Not all pages are created equal

Each page on your website fills a unique function. And, ultimately, these pages should work together in a way that best helps you sell cars. Your inventory pages should have low bounce rates, as customers should want to click on more links as they browse and compare vehicles. Your home page should also have a low bounce rate since it acts as the main hub to all other content pages. If your Bounce Rate is high here, then either you have an off-putting webpage (you should be able to tell), or you’re too good at attracting the wrong kinds of visitors (think car buyers from far away regions looking for local service). Meanwhile, some pages should have a higher bounce rate if you’re doing things right. Blog posts with regularly updated content and “Contact Us” pages are both natural one-and-done stops. Try to include some more engaging links to keep your visitors on the site if it makes sense to do so, but don’t be discouraged by a high Bounce Rate here. 

Reasons why you might have a high Bounce Rate

  • Your site isn’t engaging: This is what you should be worried about. If your content is too bland, if your navigation tabs aren’t anticipating your visitors’ interests, or if your Calls to Action are missing or simply not enticing enough, you’ll have a poor website. You’ll probably also have a high Bounce Rate.
  • False advertising: If you’re looking for a truck and you click on “Check Out These Great Pickups,” only to find this at the other end of the link, chances are you’ll exit right away and refine your search terms (before never looking at your neighbour in the same way again). Somewhere along the line your website isn’t meeting expectations; either your content doesn’t measure up, or the link to your site had a misleading description. Either way, your visitors will bounce.
  • Your landing pages are also your Exit Pages: People need to leave a website eventually, and some pages act as better terminals than others. Your Bounce Rate may be high if the sites your web visitors are landing on answer all of their questions, leaving them fully satisfied and ready to move on to their next task. (E.g. If someone is looking up your dealership hours, then chances are their web search will have them arrive at the very page they need, after which they can quickly move on to whatever else is grabbing their attention, like driving to your dealership.)


When Bounce Rate is helpful

Bounce Rate is a bit like reading body language. Sometimes you can come close to making accurate judgments on first sight alone, with a lone data point, but this method is unreliable. To get closer to the truth you need to observe changes over time compared to a base rate, or what is considered typical for that stat. Bounce Rate is your canary in the coal mine. When you make changes to the design of one of your webpages (say you embed a few more links in the text, or add a few more call to action buttons), if the Bounce Rate for that page drops, then it is likely that your strategy had some effect. Especially if your Bounce Rate for that page has historically been consistent.

How to lower your bounce rate and keep it that way!

It’s simple: Make a truly awful website where people are forced to navigate through a whole bunch of pages to hunt down an answer for their basic question. They will eventually give up in frustration and never revisit your website, which protects you from future threats to your Bounce Rate. Genius! Or not. You might just have to get used to the ambiguity of this statistic. Keep an eye on your Bounce Rate, but don’t worry too much about it. Focus, instead, on how your analytic measures work together. For more information on Google Analytics basics, or for a Free Audit on your Bounce Rate, contact us!