How Can I Improve My Bounce Rate?
- By Dimitris Constantinou
- Jan 01, 2011
Dear Dr. D,
I took your advice and started using Google Analytics to follow my website’s trends. While there is a lot of information that I’m still working through, I was hoping that you could share some opinions on how to improve my “bounce rate” and explain to me what the difference is between the website bounce rate and the exit rate.
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This is a very good topic, and one that I think some people get confused with (that is, the difference between and significance of a “bounce rate” and “exit rate”). I’m going to answer your question by looking at a broader cross section of your Google Analytics reporting in which both the bounce and exit rates appear: in the “content” section of Google Analytics.
Let’s take your home page, or index page, for example. If you click through to the content section within your Google Analytics account, you should be able to select your index page from the pages listed in the “content overview” tab. Clicking on the link to your index page will show you the following statistics that pertain to that page for the time period designated (by default, the last 30 days):
• Page Views
• Unique Views
• Time on Page
• Bounce Rate
• Exit Rate
While the first three statistics are generally self-explanatory, others merit clarification. According to Google, the bounce rate is defined as the percentage of single-page visits — visits in which the person left your site from their entrance (landing) page. The exit rate represents the percentage of visitors to a particular page who exited the site from that page. Another way of looking at this is to consider the bounce rate as the percentage of those who entered your site on one page and exited without visiting any other pages, and the exit rate as the percentage of visitors who exited the site from a particular page but did not necessarily land on that page first. Therefore, the numerator in both equations (that is, the number of visitors who exited from a page) is the same for both definitions, while the denominator is different for each equation; a higher denominator exists in the case of the exit rate, since it includes visitors who landed on the page they exited from but who may have visited other pages as well, while the denominator for the bounce rate includes only visitors who viewed one page before leaving the site (and is therefore smaller). Through this simple mathematical logic, you can also make sense of the fact that the exit rate is smaller than the bounce rate.
As to how to improve your bounce rate, I can offer you the following advice. First, recognizing that not all your visitors enter your site from your home page, you need to focus on optimizing users’ “first impressions” at every point they can enter your site on. Many entry points are within your direct control — for example, the page(s) that you direct your visitors to from a paid-for placement campaign or an e-mail campaign. Use the data from Google Analytics to make informed decisions about what works best and do comparative experiments. Direct users to your home page in one e-mail campaign, direct them to an optimized page (for example) that continues the theme of your e-mail message in a second campaign, then compare the bounce rate from each campaign. Learn from trial and error what has a better success rate, then keep fine-tuning that approach. You probably have a lot of data that you can begin to use as a good starting point. Look at the pages on which you have the better bounce and exit rates (lower is better, of course) and see what you can learn about how the content on those pages is affecting your users’ behavior as compared to pages that have the worst bounce and exit rates. Use this as a starting point, and with a more informed understanding of bounce rates and exit rates as well as how to take advantage of them, you should be able to start making a difference in your campaigns.
Work hard, but don’t forget to work smart!
Contact Dr. D at www.123refills.com or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions.
This article originally appeared in the January 2011 issue of Recharger.
Dr. Dimitris Constantinou is president and founder of Easy Group, LLC. Constantniou has more than seven years experience in both the e-commerce and ink and toner industries, having grown his own companies’ brands (such as 123 Refills, Inktelligent, Uni-Kit and others online as well as through traditional channels). Constantinou has developed and managed Web sites that have been consistently listed among the top 10 organic search engine results for popular ink and toner related keywords in popular search engines such as Google, Yahoo! and MSN. His marketing experience extends beyond SEO (search engine optimization) and into affiliate marketing, e-mail and call center marketing. In addition to his background with online marketing, Constantinou will also discuss topics related to online sales and marketing tools such as printer/cartridge navigation tools, printer identification software, product cross reference as well as other online tools that help provide the highest possible conversion rate per unit of Web site traffic. Contact him at email@example.com or www.123refills.com.