Bounce Rate – Is Our Content Working?

Bounce Rate is one of the metrics which Google Analytics measures – it is a measure of the % of visitors who bounce off your site – they enter, via a particular page, and then leave without going any deeper into the site.

For example, your homepage attracts 50 000 visits a day. Wow, that sounds good! But, if your bounce rate is 75% it means that three quarters of your visitors leave your homepage without clicking on a single link.  For an e-commerce site bounce rate is a vital statistic – if people leave they ain’t buying. For a content driven site – like our University site – if people are bouncing it means they ain’t reading.

Like all statistics interpretation needs to be carefully considered – but it is an extremely valuable tool when used in conjunction with other measures of success such as usability testing and surveys. Pages with high bounce rates could mean that the content, the words that we are using, are not correct. They are not a ‘call to action’ for the user. For example, maybe ‘Study here’ works better than ‘Education’ . Furthermore, we can look at bounce rate over time and use it to measure the effect of changes that we make.

Here’s Avinash Kaushik talking about Bounce Rate, this is a great video, and it’s only a few minutes long.

The English homepage has a bounce rate of around 20% – which is very low, and very good. But the page which lists our faculties, and their master programmes, has a bounce rate of 50%, not completely terrible, but not so good either.

As I begin to implement the changes from the last round of usability testing I’ll use bounce rate as a key metric, to help me see if the changes I make are better for the user.