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What Is Your Website's Real Bounce Rate?

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  chco's Photo
Posted Feb 28 2011 10:11 AM

An important statistic to consider for your website is the bounce rate. In the excerpt below the author of Conversion Optimization suggests an alternative method for calculating your website's bounce rate.
Most marketers rely on website average bounce rate as a general metric against which to measure the bounce rate of different pages of the website. If you decide to follow this approach, we recommend that you rethink how you should calculate your website bounce rate.

Website bounce rate is usually calculated by averaging the bounce rate of the different pages of the website. The theory is that with many pages on the site, data abnormalities will disappear. This theory, however, fails the real-life test.
The image below shows how bounce rate is calculated for a website that has 20 pages.

Calculating website bounce rate

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We recommend evaluating the top 10 or 20 entry pages to the site. These pages are usually also responsible for the most bounces. To determine whether your website average bounce rate might have some abnormality in it, you should calculate:

  • The percentage of entrances these pages are generating to your website
  • The percentage of bounces these pages are responsible for

These two percentages should be close to each another (+/– 5% deviation). If they are not, the top landing page might be skewing the overall website bounce rate. As a result, you should calculate the site bounce rate after excluding these pages.

For example, one of our client's top 10 entry pages was responsible for 32% of their website entrances. At the same time, these top 10 entry pages were generating 38% of the bounces. The website average bounce rate was 47%:

The difference between the two percentages = (38% – 32%) / 32% = 18.7%

Since the two percentages were more than 10% apart, we recalculated the website bounce rate, excluding the top landing pages. We did this by taking the average bounce rate for all the pages on the site, except for the top landing pages; the real bounce rate for the site dropped from 47% to 41%.

Conversion Optimization

Learn more about this topic from Conversion Optimization.

Turn website visitors into customers with Conversion Optimization. This book offers practical advice on how to give your visitors the material they need to make a quick buying decision -- without driving them away through navigation or information overload. You'll examine various techniques for blending successful website sales approaches with the particular needs of your business and the people you want to attract.

See what you'll learn

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