Inbound & Down

Question of the Day

Published August 19, 2019

What is a website bounce rate?

  1. The average number of pages viewed by each visitor.
  2. The percentage of visitors who view a single page on a website and then leave.
  3. The average number of visitors who visit your website and then view a competitor's site.

The Answer is B.

A website's bounce rate is calculated by the number of visitors who total just one page view in a session prior to leaving, or "bouncing." While this can be viewed as a negative metric, it is often misunderstood.

A page view (logged once a page loads) is captured by analytic tools as an event. If the visitor then fails to view another page or have any additional interactions, the session is considered a bounce. Other interactions that can be designated as "events" are form submissions, video plays, or even the time spent on a page.

Average bounce rate can vary dramatically by both industry and website type. Wikipedia, for example, will have an extremely high bounce rate; while YouTube has an extremely low bounce rate. This is primarily due to user intent.

When a visitor lands on Wikipedia as a source to answer a specific query, chances are he/she will come away with the information needed after just one page view. YouTube, by contrast, tends to lead to one video after another, thereby registering as multiple page views.

Just like website types have a spectrum of bounce rates, so too will specific page types within individual websites. Core site pages may have a very low bounce rate, while blog posts may have a higher rate. This could be due to the fact that there are a significant number of blog posts which do a great job of answering a particular question, but fail to lead visitors to other pages.

Paid traffic to landing pages can also dramatically drive up bounce rates. When paid channels bring a visitor to a landing page and that page is set up with few distractions—and minimal opportunities to explore the rest of the website—a visitor is left with just two options: convert or leave.

When properly understood, bounce rate can be a useful statistic both in identifying issues and optimizing underperforming pages.

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