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A Guide to Improve Bounce Rate For Higher User Retention

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It’s heart-wrenching to see users bounce from a page you invested time and effort into. But numbers can be misleading if interpreted wrongly and without a holistic approach.

So, is a high bounce rate a bad thing, or does tracking bounce rate even matter? And how to ensure you are analyzing it correctly? How to improve if it falls below the industry standard?

Luckily, we’ve got the answers. Read this guide to understand how to navigate your way through bounce rate and improve your marketing KPIs.

Table of contents

What is the bounce rate?

Bounce rate refers to the percentage of visitors who land on your site's page and leave without taking any action like clicking on a link or filing a signup form. They bounce back to search engine result page (SERP) or any other web page other than yours.

How is bounce rate calculated?

The bounce rate is calculated using the number of single-page sessions and dividing it by the total number of sessions on that page during a particular time.

Bounce rate = (Number of single page sessions / Total sessions) * 100

For example, if one of your landing pages got 1000 sessions in a week and 500 of those visitors leave the page without taking any action, then the bounce rate will be ( 500 / 1000 ) * 100 = 50%

Why should you track bounce rate?

Tracking bounce rate offers many benefits, and some of them are as follows:

• Impacts organic search rankings

Even though bounce rate is not a Google ranking factor, it still impacts other ranking factors that Google cares about - page speed, responsiveness, time spent on site. Tracking your bounce rate and page time can help you identify pages that impact your search rankings and work on those pages.

• Helps detect underperforming pages

A higher bounce rate on your product landing pages can be concerning as you need users to engage and convert. By tracking bounces using marketing analytics tools, you can identify the reason behind such issues and optimize them for higher conversions.

• Helps reevaluate content and design

You can identify website content and design-related problems that need optimization. For instance, if users bounce off within a few seconds of landing on your blog post, you can use analytical tools to check whether the elements of your blog are optimized.

Related guide: A Guide to Landing Page Optimization for Maximum Conversions

What is a good or acceptable bounce rate?

The debate around good vs. bad bounce rate is highly subjective and influenced by your industry, traffic source, target audience, and page type.

It is often common to associate a high bounce rate with bad and vice versa.

But is high bounce rate really bad? Well, not necessarily.

A high bounce rate is normal if a single-page site is like a blog or offers a specific type of content where you expect only a single-page session. Having a high bounce rate for the homepage is equally acceptable if your website has different landing pages and you want users to spend more time on those pages than the homepage.

For instance, an e-commerce homepage might have a high bounce rate as they want users to spend time on their product pages. But, for B2B Saas brands, their homepage is the pitch ground to generate leads and conversions, so if users are bouncing off within a few seconds of their visit, it might be a problem.

However, you can look at industry benchmarks to check your bounce rate and get an idea about whether or not you’re heading in the right direction. So, here are the average bounce rate benchmarks you can use for your reference:

A report by CXL shows that eCommerce sites have the lowest bounce rate while blogs and landing pages have the higher bounce rate.

Bounce rate benchmark based on website type

Besides, website traffic channels also have a great impact on bounce rate. Emails and referrals show the lowest bounce rate compared to other traffic channels.

Average bounce rate benchmark based on channel

Bounce rate vs. exit rate

Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who come to your page and leave without taking any action.

Exit rate, on the other hand, is the percentage of visitors who leave the page even if they didn't initially land on that specific page.

Visual representation of difference between bounce and exit rate

For example, if a visitor lands on page A and leaves the page, it is a bounce rate.

Let’s say a visitor comes to your site's page A and clicks on the link to Page B and after reading page B, they leave the page. It won't be bounce rate for either page A and B because it doesn't meet these conditions:

  • Users took action - and clicked on a link.

  • The user didn't initially land on page B.

So, it will be considered an exit rate for page B.

Why do website visitors bounce?

Users can bounce for several reasons:

  • Low site speed: As per GoodFirms Research, 88.5% of visitors will leave the website due to slow loading speed. If your site takes more than 5 seconds, users will bounce off.

  • The page isn't responsive: 73.1% of surveyors say non-responsive web design is one reason visitors leave the website.

  • Misleading title tag or meta descriptions.

  • Confusing navigational structure.

  • Intrusive ads and pop-ups.

  • Content doesn't align with the user's search intent.

  • Bad UI, UX.

  • Checkout process is too long.

  • Too many fields in the signup form.

Related guide: Your One-Stop Guide to Conversion Rate Optimization in 2022

How to improve bounce rate

9 ways to improve bounce rate

Here are 9 actionable ways to improve your bounce rate:

1. Reduce page load speed

Reducing your site page's load time can significantly help you reduce bounce rate as users are most likely to spend more time on pages that load within a few seconds. You can use tools like Lighthouse and PageSpeedInsights to gauge the page speed score on both mobile and desktop and analyze issues that might be causing increased load time.

2. Responsive website

Your site might look engaging on a desktop, but it might not be on a mobile screen. And since the number of mobile device website traffic has increased substantially, most of your users are using mobile devices. So, to lower your bounce rate ensure that the navigation bar, images, templates, and other elements are responsive to different screen sizes - desktop, mobile, and tablets.

Responsive above the fold example

3. Engaging website design

Another way to increase page sessions and time spent is to improve website design to keep visitors engaged on your site. It can involve activities like using product-led visuals, good color contrast, readable font type and size, prominent call to action buttons, inline forms, etc. While implementing such changes, keep your target persona in mind.

4. Improve readability of content

One of the most effective ways to reduce bounce rate is to improve the readability of your content - blog posts, case studies, checklists, etc. Users tend to spend time on pages that are easy to read, well-formatted and use easy-to-understand language.

Here are some recommendations to make your content more readable and appealing:

  • Use title and subheading to create a hierarchy.

  • Use bullet points to highlight important points.

  • Bold, Italicized important sentences or phrases.

  • Keep each paragraph within 3-4 lines.

  • Use visual elements - infographics, videos, tweets, inline forms to make content interactive.

  • Proofread your content before publishing.

Use tools like Hemingway editor, Grammarly, or Readable to improve the content's readability and achieve higher engagement.

5. Run content audit to update and refresh content

A content audit becomes crucial when you are generating high-quality content regularly. Links might get broken, or pages might become outdated due to new trends and data in the industry. So, refreshing outdated content and fixing linking issues becomes crucial as a 404 broken link is an open ticket for users to bounce.

Related guide: A Guide to Conducting Website Audit For Higher Conversions

Hyperlinks are the clickable links on your website, and if you want users to stick to your site and check out different pages, you need to write compelling titles to make them click. Your titles should create a curiosity gap so that users are intrigued to check out the link.

Here are three things you must clarify in your title:

  • What is it about?

  • Who is it for, and

  • What will the reader get out of it?

As your title is the only thing users see to decide whether to click or not, it's your best chance to create a great first impression and hook their attention.

7. Use chatbots to help users 24*7

Chatbots and virtual assistants can be your ally as they can help resolve visitors' queries instantly and create a good customer experience. If users feel satisfied, they are less likely to bounce.

8. Use exit-intent pop-ups

Untimely and irrelevant pop-ups can seem intrusive on the reader's end and annoy them as they might be trying to read your content piece. However, exit-intent pop-ups, which appear when users are just leaving your website, can greatly reduce the bounce rate. You can ask to use exit-intent pop-ups for the following purposes:

  • Get feedback to know why users are leaving your site.

  • Offer a lead magnet - ebook, templates, whitepaper, etc., to collect the email addresses.

  • Offer an enticing deal to reduce cart abandonment.

  • Promote your webinar by asking users to signup.

9. Use A/B testing

You can never be sure of what will work and what's not. Even though your instincts tell you that a bigger CTA button might work, you can't go forward with it as there is too much at stake.

But, A/B testing can remove this guesswork and help you generate data-driven insights generated through trial and error.

Are having pop-ups making users bounce? Create two versions with pop-up and one without, and analyze which one generates lower bounce and more engagement.

We have written an in-depth guide to help you perform a/b testing while minimizing the mistakes. Feel free to take a glance.

Wrap up

Bounce rate can be a tricky metric. You need to analyze it in tandem with other variables like traffic source, demographics, industry, and device usage to decide whether or not you need to improve it.

As every business strives to achieve its conversion KPIs, tracking small actions of users becomes imperative as each action will lead to the final conversions. You can read our guide on micro conversions and how to improve them to understand your target audience better today.

What you should do next

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