Business owners and website managers should be checking their analytics regularly. After all, an investment of time, resources and money was made in a public facing piece of technology that should be performing to earn its keep. We call that ROI – return on investment.
Whenever I’m doing my workshops, I usually ask the audience how often they check their web analytics. Answers range from obsessive checking to a majority who never look. My suggestion is that when you review your sales numbers and financials, your web analytics should be reviewed.
While some metrics might be more meaningful than others, each metric has a story to tell and should trigger questions to be answered.
One might think traffic is the most important metric; page rank, new visitors, or traffic sources might be priorities. And while it is true that each of these metrics reveal valuable insight, in my experience, rarely are steps taken to dig deeper to understand what the data means or actions taken to improve.
What the data reveals may be open to interpretation, but without tying these metrics to business goals, the data is without meaning. Like any marketing program, the feedback helps to determine next steps or actions needed to meet the company’s goals. The website is a central piece of collateral that collects an enormous amount of data that can set the direction toward achieving those goals. Upon reviewing website analytics two things should occur: The ‘why’ should be researched and the ‘what next’ actions planned and executed.
Bounce Rate is one of those metrics that is often misunderstood and rarely addressed.
Analytics collected on any website are based on the performance of individual pages and then averaged as a whole. Some pages may perform well, while others might be dragging overall performance down.
By definition, the bounce rate is the number of visitors who came to the site and visited a single page, then left the site. This count is then divided by the total number of website visits to determine the bounce rate percentage reported.
A bounce rate for a specific page is essentially the same but measures only the number of visitors that landed on that page and didn’t visit any other pages before leaving. The number of visitors to that page who bounced is divided by the total of numbers of visits to that entry page to determine the bounce rate percentage for that page.
While there aren’t industry standards that I am aware of, there are some valid bounce rate goals. Determining if a bounce rate reported is a good thing or a bad thing, the answer is always the same — it depends.
In general, a bounce rate of 20% would be fantastic, 30% is good, 50% is okay and if bounce percentages range 60% and higher then there might be a problem.
There are reasons that traffic driven to your site hits a single page and then bounce off into the digital universe. If you can’t tie your bounce rate to specific campaigns, then evil forces might be the cause.
The first and most obvious negative affect of bounced visitors is that if it was a potential customer that bounced, then you just lost an opportunity. Enough said.
Another potentially negative effect is that bounce rates are seen by search engines, and if your site is losing visitors from specific keyword searches, the search engines take notice and will consider not delivering your site in future searches for those keywords. This could have negative effects on your search result success.
If your bounce rate is high for non-campaign related reasons, you might want to explore if your website and content are structured around the right keywords for your business. You might be sending signals for the wrong keywords and not promoting and marketing to more current or more relevant set of keywords.
Ask yourself (and others) if your website is designed and built with the best user experience in mind. I recognize that design firms don’t set out to design and build a bad site, but there are instance where that happens.
Either the user isn’t properly taken into account, or the business goals and objectives weren’t developed enough, or possibly the site is now old and out of step. Regardless of the reason, if it isn’t the keywords then it is the website.
The point of the analytics reports is to provide insight to evaluate where and what needs improvement. And websites always need to be improved. While no one wants to gaze upon their website analytics and believe that their investment is not performing, the reality might be that the site is flawed and could use some cleaning up, or worse case, retired for a newer, better researched, planned and developed website.
I hope that I’ve inspired you to fire up your analytics report. So, what’s your bounce rate?