Bounce rate can mean different things whether you’re considering it in the context of your website or your email marketing.
Website & Page Bounce Rate
Your website bounce rate is the percentage of visitors that leave your site to go back to the search results after visiting just one page of your site.
The length of time a user spends on the page will not affect your bounce rate.
You can calculate the bounce rate of an individual page on your site or measure the overall bounce rate for your entire site.
Website bounce rate is calculated by dividing the number of single-page sessions on your website by the total number of sessions. For example, if there are 100 users that visit your site and 10 of them are single-page sessions, your site bounce rate is 10%.
Page bounce rate is calculated the same way but counting only the sessions on a particular page.
You can see your bounce rate metrics for all the pages on your site in Google Analytics by navigating to Behavior > Site Content > All pages.
Your overall website bounce rate is displayed in the Audience Overview report.
You can also exclude individual pages or all pages in a directory from your website bounce rate report in Google analytics.
This can be helpful to exclude certain types of pages that naturally have a high bounce rate. You can also exclude certain sections of your site for example, if you want to see the bounce rate of your store pages without considering the informational content in your blog.
What is a Good Bounce Rate?
Many website owners think that a high bounce rate is undesirable, but this is not necessarily the case. A high bounce rate can be caused by many factors. For example, if the user finds exactly the information they need after visiting the first page of your site, this will result in a high bounce rate.
It’s important to consider user intent and also how you want your site to be used by browsers.
For example, it’s typical for blog posts to have a high bounce rate as users tend to click on them from the search results, find the information they were looking for, and leave.
However, in most cases, you don’t want a high bounce rate for your homepage as it acts as a gateway to all the other pages on your site.
Bounce rate also doesn’t account for time spent on page so there’s no indication if the user spent half an hour browsing through products on a single page of your site or just left after a second or two.
However, sometimes a high bounce rate can indicate that there’s a problem with your website such as a slow loading time, misleading meta description or ad, unclear CTA, poor design, or low-quality content.
It’s important to look at your bounce rate together with other metrics and to track user behavior if possible to get a realistic idea of how your pages and site as a whole are performing.
How to Lower Bounce Rate
Before working on reducing your bounce rate, you need to consider it on a page-by-page and traffic source basis.
In Google Analytics, you can view your bounce rate by traffic source and channel. This can be helpful to examine. For example, if your bounce rate from ads is much higher than your bounce rate from organic traffic, it may be an indication that your ads are misleading or you’re targeting the wrong audience.
Some things you can try to improve your bounce rate include:
- Optimizing page load time
- Improving the formatting and layout of your content
- Removing pop-ups, overlays and other annoyances
- Making sure your site easy to search and navigate
- Optimizing your site design for mobile
- Making sure your meta descriptions and ads are relevant to your content
- Reducing CTAs (one is best) and making sure they’re clear and stand out from other content
- Using A/B testing to optimize your pages
Email Bounce Rate
In email marketing, your bounce rate refers to the percentage of subscribers in your list that didn’t receive your email because it wasn’t delivered.
You can find your email bounce rate in your email marketing software under your campaign statistics.
Email bounces may be considered “hard” or “soft”.
Hard bounces happen because the email has not been accepted by the receiving email server because the email address or domain does not exist or the server has blocked delivery. Or it may be because your email has been flagged as spam and rejected by the server. This is classed as a permanent failure
Soft bounces are used to describe emails that have been accepted by the receiving email server but are then bounced back to the sender because the mailbox is full, the message is too large, the recipient email server is down, or there’s some other kind of temporary issue.
Most email software will attempt to resend emails marked as a soft bounce a few times before giving up.
What is a Good Email Bounce Rate?
Ideally, you want your email bounce rate to be as low as possible. Generally, less than 2% is considered a good benchmark to aim for.
If your email bounce rate is more than 2%, it’s an indication that something is wrong. Remember, your bounce rate has nothing to do with whether users actually open or read your emails – just if they receive them.
How to Reduce Email Bounce Rate
There are several things you can try to avoid a high bounce rate or to lower if your existing email bounce rate:
- Use double-opt-in for your email list registration – In this method, your email marketing software will send a confirmation message to a new subscriber before adding them to your list. This prevents inactive or invalid emails from ending up on your list.
- Don’t send emails from a free email service like Hotmail or Gmail or use addresses from these services in the sent from field – Sending emails from free email services can trigger spam filters. Using a service specifically intended for email marketing and using a proper business domain for your send-from address is the best way to ensure your emails reach their intended recipients.
- Perform regular list cleanups – Remove inactive email addresses from your list regularly.
- Send emails regularly – If you don’t send any emails out to your list for 6 months, it’s quite likely that some of your recipients may have changed their email address. By sending emails regularly and keeping an eye on your campaign statistics, you can keep your overall bounce rate low.
- Authenticate your sending domain – Check if your DKIM and SPF records are verified in your email marketing software. If not, you’ll need to generate DNS records that indicate to the recipient mail server that your email service provider is using your domain with your permission.