What is Your Bounce Rate?
Do you know your website bounce rate and should you care? The answer to the second half of the questions is, of course you should care. Bounce Rate is the percentage of website visitors who view a single page on your website, then leave without taking any further action, without viewing any other pages or content. These are visitors who have either not found the website they were looking for or who were not compelled by what they found on your site to stick around and view more.
On the Google Analytics dashboard, you will find a site-wide bounce rate. Dig deeper and you can find the bounce rate by day, by page, by keyword, by source. This will help you determine what content on your site (by page) is driving visitors away or what attraction method is not working (by keyword and by source). This assumes you are running Google Analytics. If you are not, you should, even if only for bounce rate data. You will also find bounce rate extremely valuable when analyzing your pay-per-click campaign such as Google AdWords.
Now, why doe this matter? It matters because it is costing you, either an opportunity cost or a hard cost of wasted money. If you are running a pay-per-click campaign, and your visitor clicked on one of your ads, you have spent real money and this visitor did not take the action you were hoping for (buy something, subscribe, download content, etc.). This is money from your marketing budget. Within your Google AdWords reporting (also in Google Analytics if you link your reporting) you can view your bounce rate along side your expenditure for each keyword. Multiply your expenditure times your bounce rate. That is money you spent to have visitors bounce off your site. Pure cost with likely no benefit. This money is likely better spent on other keywords with lower bounce rates.
That's the cost under a pay-per-click scenario. So what if you have a high bounce rate on organic traffic? It's free traffic so it's no cost, right? Not really. This falls into opportunity cost. If your website, or particular pages, are attracting traffic with high bounce rates, then either you are attracting the wrong traffic or your website is not deemed useful (for potentially a variety of reason, including poor content and poor design). If you have high traffic and high bounce rates, then you are missing opportunities to convert these customers into revenue (or whatever your website objectives are). Your action should be to find the high bounce rates on the combination of keywords and pages and work on your website conversions to improve the performance.
Bounce rate is a powerful statistics as it is an early gauge of the success of your content and site design.