Practical Ecommerce

Monitor “Bounce Rates” to Improve Conversion Ratios

An effective web page draws visitors in and keeps them there. When the Internet was new, people would surf from site to site just for the fun of discovery. Today’s Internet users are much more sophisticated. They know what they are looking for and want to find it quickly. If they don’t find a clear path to the information they seek on your site, they will head back to the search engines for a better fit. Monitoring your site’s “bounce rate” is a quick way to determine if your visitors are finding the products they need.

What’s a Bounce Rate?

“Bounce rate” is a term used by Google Analytics and other similar packages. Your bounce rate is one way to know if people are staying on your site or leaving right away, and you can use it to generally understand how well your home page design is working. If bounce rates are high, conversions are probably low, and there’s likely some design or usability issue that can explain why.

Bounce rate is calculated using the number of visitors who visit a particular page and then leave your site, without visiting any other pages within your domain, divided by the total number of visitors to the page. Bounces can occur for different reasons, such as clicking a link to a different web site, typing a new URL, and clicking the back button to leave the site. A low bounce rate is the goal; you want your visitors to stick around, although different rates will occur depending on the industry and type of page. For instance, an informational page that links to other sites or has a phone number for contact purposes will likely have a high bounce rate, usually not a cause for concern as long as the business’s other goals are being met. An ecommerce site will strive for a low bounce rate on the home page, as visitors are hopefully driven deeper into the site to make their purchases.

It’s easy to check this metric using Google Analytics. It is found in the Site Usage window, when you first log in and view your Dashboard. Clicking on it will allow you to see more detailed information on your bounce rate, and set date parameters. If you find your bounce rate is low, you can begin to make some subtle changes and monitor how your bounce rate responds.

Michael Stearns
Michael Stearns
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Comments ( 3 )

  1. wikiexpert001 January 22, 2009 Reply

    Definitely great for overall ranking as bounce can indeed affect it.

    AMN
    http://www.affiliatemarketingservices.net

  2. Matt Chatterley January 23, 2009 Reply

    Monitoring of Bounce Rate (amongst many other factors) is critical – good piece on the topic.

    As you suggested – the "Analyse, Modify, Review" cycle (ideally using Split Testing) is the only way to achieve good performance.

  3. Michael Turcsanyi January 26, 2009 Reply

    Bounce rates during checkout are also great indicators of possible distractions, confusion, or the shopper being mis-lead to the checkout.

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