Whether you’re an e-commerce business or a brick-and-mortar store, many of your customers’ first impressions of your business will be through a digital platform such as a store website or your social media accounts. Maintaining a strong online presence is a key part of doing business in the digital age and having a website is crucial to promote your products, and attract new customers and clients. It represents your whole brand to the online community.
With this comes the need to understand and maximise digital metrics such as page speed, conversion events, and bounce rates. When properly optimised, business websites and social media accounts can be a powerful tool to direct, engage, and retain customers at any point in the customer journey.
Of the various metrics available to you as a business owner, one of the most important factors to pay attention to is the bounce rate. A bounce rate is defined as the percentage of visitors that leave your webpage without taking any action.
While you want to increase the rates for almost any other metric available, a high bounce rate is not good as it signifies your site is not keeping users interested long enough to potentially convert them into paying customers.
Bounce rates can actually vary across industries or sectors, and it is important to contextualise your bounce rate against other companies in the same field. E-commerce websites experience an average bounce rate of 47%, with retail sites having the lowest bounce rates at 42%.
Different types of web pages also have different thresholds for what counts as a ‘bad’ bounce rate; for a gateway page such as your homepage, a high bounce rate is bad as it can affect your overall site traffic. Whereas for single-page and single-session sites such as blog posts or personal accounts, a high bounce rate is normal.
Bounce rate can also be affected by users’ choice of device. Across all industries the bounce rate for mobile devices such as smartphones goes up to 51% compared to 43% on desktop computers. With more Malaysians using their smartphones rather than desktops to browse the Internet, you could be losing out on more than half of your potential customers if your site is not appealing enough.
Additionally, there are different types of bounce rates that reflect varying levels of user engagement:
Hard bounce: Minimum engagement with your site; user barely scrolls or clicks on any links
Medium bounce: Medium engagement with your site; user may scroll or stay on your site for a few minutes but ultimately does not go any further
Soft bounce: High engagement with your site; user scrolls, clicks on links, or browses items, but eventually decides not to continue with their user journey
A high bounce rate fundamentally reflects that your site is not meeting customers’ expectations in some way, causing them to lose interest. While bounce rates do not directly affect your organic ranking factor in search engines such as Google, it can be related to other factors that search engines do consider. For example, your website might be getting a high bounce rate due to slow page load speed or poor optimisation for mobile devices. These are factors that can affect your rankings on search engine result pages (SERPs), so a high bounce rate might be a sign of a larger problem in your site’s infrastructure.
As a business owner, a bounce rate serves as an indicator of whether your digital marketing is successful or not. You might attract quite a huge amount of traffic to your website but if they do not engage, then there is no point as they do not convert into paying customers. You may check your traffic sources (social media, pay-per-click, SEO, etc) to pinpoint the exact problem but sometimes, the problem lies with the website itself.
There are many possible reasons why your bounce rate is so high including:
Lack of website or webpage optimisation for mobile use
Unappealing, confusing, or misleading site design
Technical errors leading to website delays, wrong item listings, or slow loading speed
Lack of relevant content to the user
Users may have accidentally clicked into your website
To lower your bounce rate you will need to optimise your site’s technical aspects as well as improve your on-page and off-page content to ensure the right users arrive on your page. This could mean:
Relooking your digital marketing strategy to see if your ads or social media outreach are reaching the right audience
Updating or refreshing your content to make it relevant to your audience
Improving your online shopping user experience to get rid of pain points.
When done correctly, these measures can help make your marketing and outreach efforts more targeted as well as build trust amongst your customers. In the long run, this will help to decrease the number of hard bounces, as well as convert soft and medium bounces into full customers.