Calm Down! Bounce Rate is Not That Important


Bounce rate is probably the most annoying metric we marketers have to deal with.

We keep exhausting our brain muscles on analyzing its impact (if there is any at all!), ways to decrease it, guessing the industry averages, and sometimes we get so carried away optimizing it that we forget to ask ourselves if it REALLY matters for OUR business website?

Please remember this — bounce rate is important, but it’s NOT the only or the most important metric you should be tracking. In fact, bounce rate (and a number of other metrics on your Google Analytics dashboard) should mainly be analyzed in correlation with a few other metrics like lead generation (or any other goal completion), average session duration, time on page, and so on. Let me tell you more ...

According to Google, Bounce Rate is the percentage of single-page sessions.

I repeat this a lot; the effectiveness of each marketing metric depends on your business goals. A news magazine should be more concerned with their bounce rate than a website selling construction technology. So, ultimately, following the industry averages and benchmarks is useless, the bounce rate depends on your website and digital marketing strategy.

Think about it, how many times have you had a question in mind, googled it, opened the top 5 SERP results at once, read each page, found your answer, and exited all of them? It’s the natural process of the Zero Moment of Truth; most of the users who can potentially become your customers don’t browse, they google to find an answer. Even if they find the answer on your blog (Good job there!), they might still exit it without viewing another page.

Look at the Scrolling Depth Data

You don’t publish content for readers to click on your website pages, you’re producing all that content for your users to read it. And the bounce rate is not an indicator of your visitors reading or not reading your content. Even if a visitor bounces, they might still have read your article.

The accuracy of metrics like Time on Page and Average Session Duration depends on your website structure and might not be very useful for small ones. So, instead of delving into metrics that might or might not mean anything, go for data that has no double meanings, like scroll depth.

Scroll depth is data showing if and how much your visitors are scrolling down on a page. We don’t usually scroll if we’re not reading, so this data actually shows if your visitors are reading your content. For inbound marketers, this is even more important and will show if your CTAs placed at the bottom of the article are seen at all. If you have a positive scroll depth data, a high bounce rate does not indicate bad marketing.

If your website has a lot of content, a very low bounce rate will not be a good result in correlation to 0 scroll depth. People have been clicking your web pages without reading them? I’ll take a guess and say they didn’t find what they were looking for (looks like you need help with your content there).

Look at Your Lead Generation Dynamics

So, here’s a question you don’t want to hear. What are you doing all that marketing for? Do you remember that the destination point of any activity you’re doing must be generating leads for your business? More leads, more customers.

Some of you may not be using Google Analytics to measure your performance. If you’re using HubSpot’s marketing automation software, your number top metrics are your conversion and lead generation rates. Let me tell you a secret: neither of those rates are directly related to your bounce rate or traffic.   

After our latest website redesign (which you should check out .. like right now!), we obviously had some post-redesign traffic turbulence. It increased and decreased for a month until our keywords and new website content made up their minds and took more or less fixed rankings. But what’s interesting is that we didn’t lose any percentage in lead generation. We kept receiving almost the same amount of leads every month, despite the difference in traffic numbers and bounce rate. Why? Because we were receiving less but more targeted and qualified traffic.

Obviously we’re working to improve all traffic channels and metrics (and so should you!), but don’t forget the key metrics that actually matter for your marketing and business to grow. Results are what matters! And in business, results is “more customers.”

Not sure what your key metrics should be? Get in touch with us and let's figure it out together. 

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Posted by Larisa Aslanyan on October 21, 2016 in Digital Marketing | 0 Comments