Why bounce rate envy doesn’t help anyone, not even marketers

Photo credit: Anoldent

Am I normal?

Ask people about bounce rates and they’ll tell you that a high bounce rate is bad. Fair enough, it sounds pretty logical. You don’t want lots of people taking one look at your site and running away screaming. But how do you know what’s a high bounce rate? What is normal?

Trawl the internet for the answer to this and you’ll find everyone and their Auntie Fanny has an opinion on it, especially B2B marketers. Some people say that anywhere between 15-50% is normal, others that 60% is fine. That rather suggests that there’s no such thing as normal (which, fortunately for this office, is true in so many aspects of life).

The fact is that bounce is rate is highly variable, depending on specific circumstances. It’s too particular to your website to be comparable to anyone else’s. That’s not much help when you’re starting out. In that case you have to take the temperature of your bounce rate at the start and then compare with yourself over time.

Bounce rates are a very useful internal benchmark. But it’s just one tool in the B2B marketer’s toolkit, it’s not a guaranteed indicator of the health of your website. But, as one forum contributor said: “What should your bounce rate be? Lower than it was yesterday”.

A point to note:

There are occasions when a high bounce rate is a good thing. If you host lots of adverts on your site, you’re likely to get a high bounce rate – especially if the ads are really targeted and relevant. Or similarly if you’re an online publisher you may well get people visiting just one page: an article or a blog post. So the take home message is: stop looking at other people’s bounce rates and don’t panic.


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