Relationship between Context and Bounce Rates

Have you ever measured bounces and bounce rate of your website? And how do you consider the metrics? Good or bad? I am sure your answer will be “it depends.”

What is bounce and how is it different from a bounce rate?

A bounce is said to have occurred when a visitor visits your website reads a page and makes a quick exit. Going by that definition a bounce rate is the total number of visits with only one page viewed by the visitor divided by the total number of visits to your website.

Formula: Total one page visits/Total visits.

What is the significance of Bounce?

In case you have a high bounce rate, do you start pulling your hair and get paranoid? Not everyone coming to your site is going to make a purchase or convert to your goals.

Consider the following fact, your website has good SEO and therefore a visitor comes and lands on the relevant page gets the contact details or a phone number or downloads a PDF file from your site and exits. This does not count as a bounce although the visitor still visited only one page on your website.

The point is you have to consider the context of the bounce rate.

For example there is a doctor’s website. Patients often search for the Doctor’s name, land on a page that has the doctor’s information, look up information, make a note of phone number, and hours and exit the landing page. Now this is a bounce in the classical sense, but the website provided all the information the patient wanted on the landing page itself.

Typically some people have short attention spans. Getting them on the doctors site and out of the doctor’s site still provided an essential service.

Now the key to consider is a doctor has several types of patients: existing patients, prospective patients, new patients, serious patients, and ordinary or routine care patients. For the existing patients this bounce rate was good, but for a prospective patients it will be considered bad as the patient did not explore the site further.

Now if we factor in the source. The source was a search for a specific doctor and action. Couple this information with the landing page and you will have a profile of the patient who wasn’t looking to seek treatment, come to the emergency for treatment or attend a counseling session.

Let’s consider another scenario of a group of potential patients. The patients have already learnt about the doctor’s expertise via a email, yet they came back to the landing page and checked some information.

It is noticed that bounce rate spikes up on special occasions. For example the future patients will save the email or bookmark the webpage and come back again to check the doctor’s timing before coming to the clinic or visit the landing page to get the address or directions. Now these cannot be considered bounces. Therefore to draw the conclusion that the marketing campaign failed is wrong.

Segmentation

Segmentation helps in understanding data. We should not only expect that visitors convert to some goal but also consider the intent of the visitor before categorizing it in the bounce rate. Visitors that don’t take any action or complete a goal whether it is a remarketing campaign, survey, or go to competition can be counted in bounce rates. However, we should be able to tell who such visitors are.

It is here that segmentation comes into play and helps understand visitor’s behavior and intent. In the examples mentioned earlier in the article we have seen that many visitors bounced, in the classical sense, but their specific intent was served and we do not count them as bounced.

To avoid over ‘analyzing wrongly’ it is better to set up a report that counts visits without conversions (one page viewers). Segment all visitors who completed one or more micro conversions and exclude them while calculating bounces and bounce rate. What you will be left with will be a far more accurate measurement of bounces and bounce rate.