Are you stacking up with industry averages?

Bounce Rate like Boomerangs

Bounce rate is like a boomerang. It’s the measurement of people throwing themselves out there to visit a webpage and how long they stick around before leaving and returning back to a search engine.

There’s really no such thing as a “normal” or “perfect” bounce rate. It’s a tricky measurement to interpret and isn’t always telling of the performance of your website.

But the question still remains: Is the bounce rate for my website good or bad? One way to gauge this is to compare your data to the bounce rates of other websites in your industry. This can help give you an idea of if you’re in a healthy range, if you’re doing better than average, or if you need to work on improving your website’s bounce rate.

Hold up…what exactly is bounce rate?

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term or would just like some clarity on what it actually means, bounce rate is one measurement that helps describe how visitors interact on a website.

Google Analytics can be used to inform you of your website’s bounce rate and defines the statistic as “the percentage of single-page sessions.” In other words, bounce rate is calculated by dividing the number of sessions in which the visitor only viewed one page of your site before leaving it by the total number of sessions initiated on your site.

How does my website’s bounce rate compare to others in the industry?

Generally speaking, high bounce rates are bad and you want to aim to lower them, but we can’t be so quick to categorize high percentages as bad either. You have to take the circumstances that are causing your site to have a high bounce rate into consideration.

For example, on the one hand a web page might be set up so well that visitors find the information they need quickly on the first page they land on and then exit the site. While these quick exits inflate your bounce rate there’s nothing to be too upset about if your visitors are leaving the site satisfied.Other times visitors might leave your site after viewing just one page because the content is misleading and the website is difficult to use, resulting in a high bounce rate for a negative reason.

Because the true meaning behind your bounce rate might be unclear, one way to know if you’re on track is to see how other websites in your industry perform.

According to the Bounce Rate Demystified infographic created by Kissmetrics, the average bounce rate across all industries in 40.5%. Average bounce rates were then broken down further into six industry categories. Which category does your website fit under? How does your bounce rate compare?

Kissmetrics Bounce Rates

Screenshot of Bounce Rate Demystified infographic from Kissmetrics.

Conversion Voodoo also shared a blog post separating bounce rate for websites into various industries. Here’s a quick summary of the categories and findings:

  • Product Information Pages: 33.03%
  • Lead Generation Sites: 47.38%
  • Web Stores and E-Commerce Sites: 33.9%
  • News and Media Sites: 55.56%
  • Other Types of Sites: 41.13% (This last category is very vague but the wide spectrum of industries included in this category helps to explain why bounce rate varies greatly from 13% to 85%.)

While all of these bounce rate averages seem to be within about 20 percentage points of each other, don’t freak out and jump to conclusions too fast when you realize your bounce rate is upwards of 60%. Remember that these numbers are just averages. Within a few of the categories the maximum bounce rate is higher than 80%! Be sure to check out the full article for a more detailed breakdown of bounce rate in each industry, including the minimum and maximum bounce rates.

Improving Bounce Rate

After comparing your site’s bounce rate with the appropriate industry category you may be thinking it’s time to start improving your number. Here are a few quick tips to get you started on the right path to improving your bounce rate.

Share relevant content and don’t mislead your audience.

One reason people leave a website after only visiting a single page is because the web page they landed on didn’t contain the information they needed. In some cases this is the company’s fault because they advertised the content of the page in a deceptive way. The content on the page needs to match what people expect it to be.

Ensure your site has clear navigation.

Pressing the back button means visitors are leaving your site and therefore increases bounce rate. If I go to a home page to find a business’ contact hours and they’re not listed on the homepage and there’s no “Contact Us” tab in the navigation I could very well just leave the site and try to find the information elsewhere. Don’t hide your information. Be transparent.

Have external links open in a new window.

If you’re going to link to something in another website, keep visitors in your site by making sure the new pages open in a new window or tab in their browser. This keeps visitors from leaving your site when they’re interested in learning more about a specific topic. After they gather the information they need from the external link they can simply close the other tab and return back to your website and continue browsing.

Don’t allow pop-up ads on your site.

They tend to annoy people and cause them to leave your site before even having a chance to explore the content you have to offer. If you want to ask visitors to provide some contact information, present it in an optional format, not as a requirement.

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