Understanding Bounce Rates

When we look into Google Analytics, we see a LOT of numbers and graphs. But what does it all mean and why does it all matter? Well, the simple answer is this: here is where we find the gains.

Having a low bounce rate is important because you’re paying for the traffic that comes to your website. You might be paying for it directly with something like Google Ads, or you might be paying for it indirectly with vehicle signwriting or referring links on other websites.

Having a low bounce rate is also important for SEO, too. Google likes websites that have a low bounce rate, because they assume your website is really helpful and likely to answer the questions of the searcher. If your bounce rate is high, Google assumes your website is unhelpful and your website is less likely to show up in Google search results.


What does Bounce Rate mean?

The Bounce Rate is the percentage of people that arrive at the site and leave again within 30 seconds and without visiting a second page. So if 100 people come to your website and 70 of them have a look around your website, but 30 leave straight away, your bounce rate is 30%.


Why a high bounce rate?

Bouncing visitors are visitors that are not finding what they want on your website. Here are the possibilities:

  1. Traffic should not be on your website to start with, AKA, you’re getting the wrong traffic
  2. Your website does not have the answers that your visitors are looking for, AKA, your website sucks

These are the two reasons your bounce rate will be high. Let’s have a look into those…


1. Bad Traffic

If traffic comes to your website and they’re expecting to see a certain thing, but they find something totally different, they’re likely to bounce. This is really common with Google Ads and Facebook Ads, when your ads are written poorly, often traffic is expecting something else when they come to your website.


The Facebook Ad pictured is promoting a Free eBook. If I was to click on the link land on their homepage, I’m likely to bounce. 

Sure, there might be a free eBook somewhere on their website, but people are lazy and busy, it needs to be the first thing they see on the website. 

Match the expectations of your website visitors.

2. Your website sucks

We all think our website is great, right?

Your website might be amazing, in fact, it might be TOO good. 

Again, similar to point 1, we need to match the expectations of the website traffic. If they’ve come to our website to get a free eBook, we need to make it as easy as possible for them to grab that eBook (while also collecting their email address, of course!). 

This is a common issue in the e-commerce world, where an e-commerce website just isn’t performing. Normally the visitor is thinking things like “Can I trust this website with my credit card details?” or “Will this be a quick painless transaction?” or “Can these guys get this order delivered to me in time?”. 

Maybe your website is TOO GOOD, this is common, too. Your customers might be coming to your website to find a bargain, but if your site looks like it’s selling luxury products at premium prices, they’re likely to back out. 


So how do I reduce my bounce rate?

In order to reduce the bounce rate, we need to get inside the heads of the website visitors and think about what questions they might have. Then we need to put the answer of that question in front of them. 



Sometimes all it takes is a headline somewhere on the page to lower your bounce rate substantially, which will enevitibly result in more sales.


What traffic is bouncing?

Great question, I’m pleased you asked!

We can work out which traffic is causing the issue by going to Aquisition > All Traffic > Channels, then selecting Bounce Rate data on the graph.

High Bounce Rate Traffic

Now we can see which sources are sending the problem. See the example below, we have an issue with ‘Display’ traffic, which in this case is the traffic from a Google Ads Display campaign.

Direct traffic is also questionable, but if we have a glance at Pages / Session and Avg. Session Duration, we can see the figures there are looking okay.

In this example, we need to make some serious changes to the Display Ads campaign.

Struggling with high bounce rates? Tell us about it in the comments section below!