Tickled by the Bounce

November 12, 2014

According to KISSmetrics, an average website has a bounce rate of about 40.5%.

We recently heard a CEO ask the company tech guy: “What in the heck is a bounce rate?” This question brings a smile to our face and a tear to our eye, because it shows that the C-suite is looking at website analytics. Really looking.

Bounce rate is a reporting metric used in Web analytics to track the number of single-page visitors to a website. These are the visitors who reach your site directly or through an ad, social media post or other referrer, but then leave without clicking deeper into the site. Either they found what they needed on that first page — or not — and decided to move on without exploring further.

According to this KISSmetrics infographic, an average website has a bounce rate of about 40.5% with self service or FAQ sites scoring the lowest and simple landing pages scoring the highest.

So why should you or your CEO care? Because bounce rate can be a good indicator of how your website and individual pages within the site are performing. A high bounce rate might, for example, be telling you that your landing page content needs work to be more relevant to visitors or to entice them to learn more.

Understanding the mechanics of bounce can also be useful. Visitors bounce off of a site in several ways, including:

  • Clicking on a link that takes them to a different website;
  • Leaving the page by typing in a new Web address;
  • Closing an open window or tab, either mistakenly or on purpose; or
  • Backing out to where they came from by hitting the back button.

The way visitors leave your site is relevant because it might help you design a more effective site. For example, before sending visitors down another rabbit hole via embedded links, make sure that any page on another site opens in a new window.

The fact that bounce seems to be getting more attention in the C-suite is a sign that people beyond marketers and Web designers have a growing appreciation of an effective Web presence. And that’s the kind of bounce we like to see.




Jan Hirabayashi founded BroadBased in 1996 and is the company's CEO and lead marketing strategist.