Understanding Bounce Rates and How to Improve Yours

Amanda AmoreEcommerce

Understanding Bounce Rates and How to Improve Yours

What makes understanding bounce rates so important? Well, you know what they say about first impressions. You never get a second chance to make a great one. So, let’s talk about the visitors who enter your site, only to leave without any further engagement. We’ll break down what “bounce rate” is and how to improve yours. If you want to give your online business the best possible shot at success, this is the key to doing just that.

What is Bounce Rate? 

The success of your business depends on engaging your customers – and that can’t happen if they leave immediately after arriving. This single-page session is known as a bounce. Imagine walking into a store and quickly doing a 180 and heading back out. A bounce is the online equivalent of that.

Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors that bounce from your site, meaning that they do not take an action, such as clicking on a link, filling out a form, or making a purchase. Bounce rate is calculated with a very simple formula: the number of visitors who bounce, divided by the total number of visitors to the site.

What is an Average Bounce Rate?

Bounce rates are perhaps the most important (and most dreaded) metric in digital marketing. But before anyone panics, it’s important to understand that site bounces are incredibly common. In fact, 47% of overall visitors abandon their journeys after viewing just one page on a site, with mobile devices seeing the highest percentage. Average bounce rates vary by industry, with travel seeing an average bounce rate of 43%, apparel and consumer electronics both at 44%, and beauty at a higher bounce rate of 48%.

Not all Bounces are Bad

Unlike other forms of abandonment, bounce rates aren’t usually the result of some kind of distraction or indecisiveness on the customer’s part. When a bounce happens, it’s because a customer, based on their first impression, has decided not to continue doing business with your site. Reducing bounces is an important step to improving your conversion rates because if people aren’t engaging with your site, none of your other strategies are going to work either. However, a preliminary step to improving and understanding bounce rates is knowing the difference between a good bounce and a bad bounce.

Even though bounce rates can be scary, sometimes a bounce actually indicates that your site is performing as it should. For example, if your “contact us” page has a high bounce rate, that’s probably a good thing. It demonstrates that customers are finding the information they need in one place, without a need to hunt down your contact info elsewhere. 

The same is true of many blog posts. Since they tend to be self-contained, one-page posts, there’s likely not much more for them to click on. That being said, it’s always nice when your content is engaging enough to drive people toward other articles and pages on your site.

However, while not all bounces are bad, in many cases, they’re indicative of a problem with your site.  

How to Improve Bounce Rates

Improve User Experience

The future of ecommerce belongs to those that prioritize the user experience. How does your site make the user feel? How seamless is their path to conversion? Prioritize your visual elements, copy, and structure to ensure that everything aligns to give the kind of impression you’re aiming for. A rework of your pages and calls to action may be just what you need to increase that engagement.

Reduce Page Load Times

While fixing slow loading times is actually a part of the user experience, it’s important enough to deserve its own section. We’ve all experienced the incredibly frustrating issue of a web page taking forever to load. It doesn’t matter how great your content is if the user can’t even see it. Don’t frustrate your customers into leaving your site before they’ve even given it a chance. Try to optimize your load times so that customers can see what you’re offering in a reasonable amount of time.

Optimize for Mobile

All devices are not created equally. In a mobile-first world, it’s crucial to optimize your site for mobile devices. Remember that mobile users are more likely to be accessing your site while on-the-go. So, use shorter copy and CTAs that really pop, and avoid overusing images and form fields. It’s important to test mobile functionality on a regular basis. Mobile devices (and screen sizes) are constantly changing. It’s up to you to ensure that customers can access your content on their preferred device. 

Limit Use of On-Entry Strategies

Have you ever entered a store and gotten bombarded by sales associates welcoming you, offering you the latest deal, and asking if you need any help? It can be a little off-putting, no matter how well-intentioned they are. That’s how your website visitors feel when you have multiple on-entry strategies popping up at them. A native entry lightbox can be great, just don’t overdo it. And always ensure that ads are not intrusive.

Target Abandoning Users

A great way to reduce your bounce rate is to make an effort to recover shoppers before they abandon. Exit intent strategies essentially turn abandonment into opportunity. When a visitor goes to exit your site, you can use that action as an opportunity to offer them unique ways to optimize their user experience. You can incentivize the shopper to stay and continue their journey or prompt them to provide their contact information to continue the conversation later. Either way, your bounce rate and your overall online marketing strategy can certainly benefit from targeting abandoning users.

Benchmark Your Site with Competitors

Keeping up with web design trends can be difficult. Every year, certain fads go in and out. Instead of trying to keep up with every trend, an easy alternative is to take a look at your competitor’s site. How does your site design compare with theirs? 

While it’s never good to create a carbon copy of your competitors’ sites, make sure you take note of what’s included – and what’s not. Is the site more copy or design heavy? Are they promoting a sale, or focusing on new arrivals? Is the design clean and neat or more intricate? Take note of the design of their landing pages and the information provided on their product pages and use this as inspiration when it comes to deciding for what may work for you. By taking notes about sites similar to yours, you can evaluate where your site succeeds and where it may fall short.

Perform Site Audits Regularly

Although it may seem obvious, it’s vital that every aspect of your site works. External and internal links should lead to the correct place, and outdated content should be removed. A great place to start is by using Google Analytics to track your metrics. In case of a problem, design a custom 404-error page. Visitors never want to wind up here, so try to make the page somewhat endearing – or at least something other than a blank “error” page. 

Bouncing Back 

High bounce rates are frustrating. Fortunately, solutions are generally easy to implement. Understanding bounce rates is the first step to improving yours, so you’re already on the way to seeing increased engagement. By optimizing your content and keeping your website up to date, you can improve your bounce rate, actively engage visitors, and drive them toward conversion. 

Ready to level up your conversion strategy?

Check out UpSellit’s Match Game. Grab this FREE resource to learn about the reasons shoppers leave and how you can turn a missed connection into a match made in heaven.

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