The average bounce rate is a topic that we get a lot of questions about. Is having a high bounce rate a bad thing? Is there such a thing as too low? The solution, like most areas of digital analysis, is complicated.
High bounce rate is not always bad. The percentage of bounce rate is different for different categories and types of websites. A website with good video content, usually makes the audience sit on the site for long and the people who want to get any quick details like phone number tends to jump fast.
What does bounce rate measure?
Let’s start by making sure we’re all on the same page when it comes to what a bounce is. A single-page session on a website is known as a bounce. That indicates a person visited one page on your site and then left without making any additional requests for the Google Analytics server to track.
Google Analytics divides all of your single-page sessions by all site sessions to calculate your website’s average bounce rate. This is the percentage of sessions when users only read one page before leaving. In a nutshell, it tells you how frequently visitors leave your site.
If you were to leave this blog article right now, you’d probably believe that a high average bounce rate is negative since it indicates that visitors aren’t engaging with your site. The case is now closed.
But it isn’t that easy.
When having a high bounce rate isn’t necessarily a bad thing?
A high average bounce rate can be beneficial or negative depending on a number of factors, including user goals, content type, devices used to access your site, and Google Analytics settings. You shouldn’t look at your website’s average bounce rate in isolation from these other factors.
To see why, consider the following elements that influence the average bounce rate:
Some users have single-point objectives.
Users visit your site for a number of reasons because you’re a healthcare company. When they’re looking for a new provider or researching your birth center, they may be exploring many pages.
Others, on the other hand, may only require quick access to a medical records request form, COVID-19 immunization information, or the phone number for your nurse line. Bounces are common in situations like this, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
When looking at your average bounce rate, it’s crucial to consider the type of material that’s causing bounces before deciding whether or not this measure is alarming.
Pro tip: We typically find the average time spent on the page to be more valuable than the average bounce rate. You might be concerned about a high bounce rate for a service line website, for example. However, if you notice that people are spending a lot of time on your page, it’s possible that they’re reading your material and then departing since they found the information they needed without having to go any farther.
High bounce rates are common on popular pages.
If critical pages such as your patient portal, online bill pay, or careers portal are managed by a third-party vendor and have a domain that is different from your main site, visitors may experience a bounce. So a high bounce rate on those sites could simply indicate that the user followed the page’s targeted call to action (CTA), which is a good thing.
It’s vital to keep in mind that an average bounce rate takes into account all of your site’s pages. The bounce rate of your site will be skewed by heavily frequented pages with high bounce rates.
Pro tip: Instead of pondering your overall bounce rate, examine the bounce rates of particular pages. Some pages need to have a high bounce rate, whereas others don’t. In some circumstances, a high bounce rate could suggest a bad user experience or a lack of user engagement. Your supplier directory landing page is an example. A high bounce rate could indicate that customers are not moving on to the next step of looking for a supplier.
Users using mobile devices are less likely to browse.
Web browsing patterns differ between mobile and desktop users. Desktop visitors are more prone to click around and investigate your site, whereas mobile users are more goal-oriented.
Pro tip: Remember to take into account the quantity of mobile and desktop users, as well as your average bounce rate. A greater average bounce rate is usually associated with more mobile visitors.
It’s important to pay attention to your Google Analytics filters.
Your average bounce rate may be affected by the criteria you’ve set up in your Google Analytics account. For example, if a hospital’s public Wi-Fi automatically redirects visitors to your website when they use the internet, the findings may be skewed.
An inflated bounce rate can also be caused by not filtering out internal traffic or having your website set as the default browser homepage for employees.
Pro tip: For more information on how to improve your data, see our earlier blog post about hospital Wi-Fi.
We’re not suggesting that you completely disregard your average bounce rate. However, don’t rely on it as the single determinant of your site’s success or failure. There’s a lot you can learn from your Google Analytics account, and no one metric should ever be looked at in isolation.
Measuring performance of pages with high bounce rates
So, now that we know that a high bounce rate can be acceptable in some cases, how can you ensure that the website is functioning properly? Implementing a heat map is a fantastic approach. This will allow you to see how users are interacting with your page for a set amount of time. We can get a better picture of what’s going on on a page if we can see things like scroll depth and click location. A heat map can confirm that users are leaving a page because they are responding to a CTA (applying for a job), show us what type of content they are looking for (choosing a button to enroll in the patient portal versus logging in), and provide feedback on a poor user experience (rage clicks, not scrolling far enough to see a phone number), all of which contribute to why users bounce.