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Bounce rate: important metric or unwanted data?

More than 20 years have passed since the creation of the website analysis tool. Various key performance indicators (KPIs) have emerged and are out of date, and key indicators are used to calculate them. . One of the reasons for this change is that analytical tools are more and more sophisticated and that the extraction of more meaningful metrics becomes easier and less expensive. Organizations are no longer held captive to easily captured and insignificant measures such as "hits".

But it's critical that marketers and analysts begin to examine one of the last remnants of old school analytics: the bounce rate. Although the bounce rate still has value, its real meaning and application may vary among individuals and organizations. Yet its ability to reveal big ideas is largely ignored in most organizations.

In an effort to explore how companies are currently using the bounce rate in their reports, I conducted an unscientific survey of a mix of analytics and marketing professionals digital. The first question they were asked was: " Do you currently include the bounce rate in your regular analysis reports?" "At one time, the answer would have been over 90% yes, but when I conducted the month survey, it was only 68%.

<img class="size-full wp-image-229311 aligncenter" src="" alt=" Do you report on the bounce rate? "Width =" 692 "height =" 446 "/>

This survey demonstrates that, like any measure, the bounce rate is just a number – the context does not make sense." Many professionals do not fail to place the rebound rate in context and, therefore, render this parameter useless.

Why does the bounce rate become insignificant in the context of declared KPIs? Think of these two examples:

Example 1:

An organization spends $ 100,000 to drive traffic to a specific landing page (for example, PPC, SEO). The bounce rate is 95%, but the 5% that do not bounce converts and generates $ 250,000 in sales with a net profit of $ 50,000 ( Revenue – Marketing Costs – Cost of Goods ) .

Is the 95% rebound rate good or bad? This is simply an indicator of additional potential benefits if the bounce rate can be lowered, but at what price?

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Example 2:

An organization spends $ 100,000 to drive traffic to a specific landing page (for example, PPC, SEO). The bounce rate is 50%. However, of the 50% that did not rebound, only 20% (10% of the total traffic generated) converted and generated only $ 150,000 in sales with a net loss of $ 50,000 (). cost of goods ).

In this case, the 50% bounce rate may be an acceptable bounce rate – or is it a bad bounce rate? That's just an indicator that something needs to be done to get a more profitable audience or perhaps reduce the marketing effort to a smaller number of people who could increase the bounce rate but at a lower cost to get this traffic. a profit.

The confusion over the bounce rate between digital marketing and analytics professionals is evident in the way they answered the second question: " Who best fits your definition of && Bounce rate? "

The survey contained four possible answers, plus a fifth option to provide their own definition. For 46.9% of respondents, the choice was the most common definition of "single visit". The response from "They came, they saw, they vomited and left" (18.4%) combined with "They came and did nothing". percent), the two who basically rated the bounce rate as "came, looked around and left," came out at 24.5 percent.

What is more shocking – but perhaps explains why he loses favor as a KPI – that is, 4.1% did not know what a bounce rate is or how he is calculated.

<img class="wp-image-229315 aligncenter" src="" alt=" How to set the rebound rate "width =" 711 "height =" 606 "/>

An illuminating part of the survey is that 24.5% of respondents chose to enter their These answers were extremely diverse, reflecting the problems we face in today's web design using the bounce rate as KPI.

How can the bounce rate be used effectively?

With different customers, we examined the typical user experience, and this goes beyond the rebound of a single page. The problem with many content sites is that they generate a lot of organic search traffic to specific pages. Once the page is read, the user leaves the site.

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Without measurable action, there is a rebound, and the time on the page is zero seconds. Knowing that users come to read content, it makes sense to set up specific measurable events on the page to turn a bounce into an interactive engagement metric for those pages.

This problem also exists with "infinite scroll" pages, where a user can scroll to multiple blocks of content that are actually multiple pages. A user could potentially scroll three, four or even five screens without following a specific event; the visit will be considered a rebound.

The solution in both cases is the creation of engagement events. These events can be one or the other of the following: a scrolling interaction or a timer.

Scrolling Interaction

With "scrolling interaction", if a user scrolls past a specific percentage of the page, an event is logged in the scan. Generally, these are set at 25, 50, 75 and 100 percent. Of course, these percentages are easily configurable according to the specific needs of a site. The added benefit is that when an event is triggered, the time at which it is triggered is also recorded, generating a more accurate time on the page than without it.

Time Triggers

The second option (usually used for content sites) is to set a timer. The timer event is initially triggered after a predetermined number of seconds – typically 15 or 25 seconds to record the first event, then an event is triggered every 10 or 15 seconds to ensure a more accurate calculation of the time on the page .

The hardest part of a time trigger is the setting of the initial event. It must be determined how long it takes for a typical visitor to determine (without scrolling) that this page is a waste of time and that it closes the session. Generally, some tests and tests are necessary to get this set properly.

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Impact on the bounce rate

By setting events (timers, scrolls, displaying a video and other types of interactions), the bounce rate recorded in your scans takes on a new and greater meaning. You will get a more realistic bounce rate and the time spent on the page will become more accurate.

I implemented this solution on a 100% happy site. The sales team was shocked to see the bounce rate go from over 80% to less than 5%. Several advertisers began to question the bounce rate, saying it was impossible to have one as low. But to show advertisers how much the content of a typical surfer is read and where were various advertisements (become visible during a typical visit) facilitated the work of the sales team to sell lower ad positions.

<img class="border=1px wp-image-229318 size-full" src="" alt=" Impact on the bounce rate of event tracking "width =" 650 "height =" 143 "/>

Note that by tracking when a site visitor begins to read (scrolls a specific percentage of the page), Only, 17% of visitors to the article bounced back (failed to read), and among those who started, almost 100% have read until the end of the article.

This is only by deepening the meaning of all those KPIs we see almost daily in our marketing dashboards, understanding how they are calculated, and then configuring them correctly, as we can actually extract value from our analyzes.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. The authors of the staff are listed here.

About the author

Alan K & necht is an independent consultant in SEO, social and analytics, public speaker, award-winning author and business trainer (SEO, social network marketing and digital analytics). He co-hosts the #SocialChat weekly Twitter chat Monday night at 9pm Eastern.