What does Bounce Rate mean?
Bounce Rate is the percentage of users who visit a site but leave immediately. There are various definitions, but typically a user is thought to have ‘bounced’ if they only visit one webpage.
The term comes from the idea of a user being reflected rather than accepted by a webpage – they bounce off one site and onto another which they like better.
[Disambiguation: If you are looking for the bounce rate which applies to emails, please go here]
Bounce Rate Formula
The bounce rate equation is the number of users who came and left a page without interacting, divided the total number of users who went to that page. As this is expressed as a percentage, the whole formula is multiplied by 100 for convenience.
Bounce Rate = (Single Page Visits ÷ Total Visits) x 100
Technically bounce rate isn’t actually about only visiting one page, but in fact about only visiting one page and doing nothing on that page. For example, Facebook wouldn’t be considered to have a high bounce rate, even though its infinite scroll means that many users don’t actually go onto a second page. For a user to not to be considered to have bounced, they simply need to have interacted with a page in some measurable way – which on most sites would mean having gone to a second page.
Reducing the bounce rate is important for any website, as a high bounce rate means low engagement. Websites are usually punished for high bounce rates by search engines – as in a webpage with a high bounce rate for a certain search term will appear lower in SERPs.
Similarly, on some SEM ad platforms (such as Google Ads), ads that have a high bounce rate will be displayed less, as the ad/landing page combo will be considered irrelevant to the user.
It is possible however that a user will enter a site and find the information they want immediately and then leave. When this happens, although the bounce rate remains high, the site will not be punished by search engines (as this is considered a long click). This is what search engines ultimately want to provide – useful information on the first link a user follows.
Average Bounce Rate
In May 2020 we ran a poll on Twitter and asked: “What was the Bounce Rate of your website in April 2020?” The categories were designed based on what we had seen reported across the internet, with 70% being the threshold between good and bad Bounce Rates (although the truth is much more complex than that).
While average bounce rates will be different depending on the industry a website is in, and the type of website it is, the results we gather should be helpful to put your own bounce rate into some amount of context.
Here are the results:
As you can see:
- Around a third of websites polled report a Bounce Rate under 50%
- A quarter of websites polled report a Bounce Rate over 90%
- Just over half report a bounce rate under 70%
As with all metrics, the key is always to be improving. If your bounce rate is 85% or 55%, try to make it better rather than worry what the average is. You may not succeed, but tirelessly trying to improve engagement is a worthy goal for any site owner.
7 Things To Know About Bounce Rate
- Bounce Rate only takes into account people who entered on that page. All ‘bounces’ are ‘exits’, but all ‘exits’ are not ‘bounces’ (as some ‘exits’ came from people who started on a different page).
- For pages with a goal (like making a sale, or increasing engagement) lowering the bounce rate is the first step to increasing the conversion rate.
- A webpage that is only meant to convey information (like a ‘Find us’ page with an address) will have a high bounce rate (and that’s not a problem).
- Bounce rate isn’t the best measure. If someone enters a page, loves it and stays for hours but never clicks another link, it will still count as a bounce.
- You can lower the bounce rate of any page (and make it more accurate) in Google Analytics by adding more events (for form completions, scrolling, or even time on page).
- Bounce Rate should be thought of as a way of measuring engagement for a webpage.
- If someone doesn’t like what they find on a webpage (or at a party), they bounce.
Not to be confused with
Exit Rate, Email Bounce Rate