High bounce rates are bad. You know this. You also know that they usually bring an even worse friend to the party: low conversion rates.
A good bounce rate varies based on a variety of factors, including page type, traffic channel, device, industry, and more!
Here are some general benchmarks from Customedia Labs that you can use to get a quick idea of where you stand:
Benchmark bounce rates by page type:
- 65-95% for portals, blogs, news sites, etc.
- 60-90% for landing pages
- 35-60% for content websites (not including eCommerce)
- 30-55% for lead generation websites
- 25-55% for B2B sites
- 20-45% for eCommerce and retail sites
To get a more detailed idea of where your site stands in relation to competitors, you can use a Google Analytics’s benchmarking tool.
How to Have a Horrible Bounce Rate and Make Your Users Hate You
Want a horrible, high bounce rate? Here are some things you can do that’ll make users close your tab. Are you doing any of these right now?
Don’t Give Users What You Promised Them
Every person who is coming to your website is coming for a reason. Perhaps they saw your link and read your meta description on a Google SERP. Maybe they saw a post on social media and decided to click through.
However they find it, visitors will already have an idea about your page in mind when they click on your link. They choose to click because based on the search result or based on your marketing, they expect to find what they’re looking for on your page, based on the title and meta description you provided.
If the page loads and it’s not what they expected, they’re going to leave. Nobody likes to be bait-and-switched.
This means it’s important to avoid writing clickbait, but it also means that even with good content, you need to get to the point!
If you promise something in the headline but don’t deliver on it until the end of a 5,000 word blog post, chances are most of your visitors will never get there.
Give users what you promise! As soon as your page loads, they should be able to tell that they’re in the right place.
By the way, broken links are broken promises, too. They’re as bad for your page’s bounce rate as they are for your SEO!
Make Your CTAs Vague or Irrelevant
Another way to ensure you have a high bounce rate is to make sure your offer doesn’t connect with visitors.
A user who has clicked onto your page is looking for something that you have. This could be a product you’re selling, information you’re sharing, or something else. But they’re looking for something, or they wouldn’t have clicked in the first place.
First, your content must make it clear that you can help them find what they’re looking for. They need to understand how whatever you’re offering is relevant to them and their needs.
Then, your CTA should tell them very clearly what you’d like them to do. Be direct and clear, but also be sure this is phrased in terms of what they need, not what you need.
For example, imagine you’re a job hunter reading a blog post for some career guidance. Which of these CTAs would appeal more to you?
- Sign up for my mailing list and help me write more articles!
- Sign up for my newsletter to get free career tips in your inbox every Monday!
CTA number two is better. It’s clearer about what the product is (weekly newsletter) and more relevant to the visitor’s desire (career help). A page with the first CTA would likely have a higher bounce rate than a page with the second.
Have Lots of Ads and Pop-Ups
Nobody likes ads. And people hate pop-up ads so much that their inventor has publicly apologized for creating them.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t run a few ads, or use a pop-up CTA here and there to increase engagement. But website visitors will leave if the ads or pop-ups interfere with their experience. This is where good product analytics comes into play.
If you’re going to include ads or pop-ups on your page, you need to consider a few things.
First, you need to keep the overall number of these elements reasonable. Too many ads are a turn-off no matter how great the content is.
Second, ads and pop-ups need to be relevant or people will be disoriented. If a visitor has searched for information about cars and the page they land on is full of ads for computer parts, they are likely to get the impression they’ve come to the wrong place.
Third, these elements need to be well implemented so that they don’t break. What looks unobtrusive in one browser could be covering up critical text in another. Test heavily to ensure that your page works right across browsers and across devices. Dig into your website analytics and see if you can spot problems with particular channels, devices, browsers, etc.
Fail to Optimize Your Site for Mobile Users
More than half of all web traffic is mobile. That means 50% or more of your total visitors are probably coming from mobile. If your site isn’t built with mobile device users in mind, that failure could take you from an average bounce rate among desktop users to something much, much worse overall.
If you haven’t optimized for mobile, chances are your mobile website looks bad. It probably also loads slowly. Both of those things will increase your bounce rate.
By the way, a bad mobile site is bad for SEO, too! Google’s algorithm already places a lot of emphasis on mobile friendliness, and that trend isn’t going away. Ignore mobile optimization and your page rank will drop even as your bounce rate increases! Your churn rate with mobile users is also likely to be high.
Have High Page Load Speeds
Page load speed matters for SEO, but it’s an element of the user experience, too. Even an extra second of load speed can have a huge impact on bounce rate.
For example, in 2016 the BBC noticed that *for every second a page needed to load, 10% of their visitors left. *
Broadband connections and high-speed mobile networks are far more widespread in 2021. If anything, today’s users are even more demanding.
Nobody likes wasting time. Waiting is a poor user experience, and it will inspire your users to go looking for your competitors.
5 Tips for Improving Your Bounce Rate
Great bounce rates lead to great conversion rates. But how to lower the bounce rate? Here are five key tips.
Employ Better Copyright Techniques
Whether you’re working on a blog post or a product page, chances are you’re expecting your visitors to do some reading.
But how easy is it to read your copy? How clear is your message?
The single best tip for writing marketing copy for the web -- and this applies to any kind of web page -- is to keep it simple.
Keep sentences short. Keep paragraphs short. Don’t use complicated language when simple words will do.
Most marketing copy should be written at an eighth-grade reading level or lower. Even if your target audience is highly educated, you want them to be able to read and understand your page easily. Consuming your content should never feel like work.
Keeping it simple is one key to a low bounce rate.
Embedded videos are great for keeping site visitors engaged, and engagement lowers bounce rates.
On almost any site, videos will help you capture visitors who aren’t captivated by your text. Some people are more visual learners, and even the best copy on earth isn’t going to excite them like a video might.
Videos work well on any site, but they are particularly important to a website’s bounce rates in some industries.
In eCommerce, for example, videos make it easier for visitors to understand how a product looks and functions in the real world.
In science and tech, videos can prevent bounce by explaining things quickly and visually rather than asking visitors to struggle through text explanations and jargon.
Make Your Page Interactive
The more engaged a user is, the more you’ll be able to reduce the bounce rate on your page. In fact, the website bounce rate is often used as one metric for measuring user engagement!
So how can you keep your users engaged? Good copy can only go so far. Ask them to do something. Make it interactive!
For example, if your page is about auto finance, include an interactive loan calculator so that visitors can input their own numbers and explore their options.
If your page’s content includes data, can you present that data in an interactive visualization?
Can you embed a quiz, poll, clickable chart, calculator, game, or 3D product model? Try adding more interaction and see what kind of impact it has on your customer retention metrics.
There are dozens of ways you can make a page interactive, and anything you can do to get users interacting is likely to help your bounce rate (and your conversion, too).
Make Your Site Easy to Navigate
Thus far, we’ve talked about ways to optimize the content on a single page session. But to keep users from bouncing, you need them to stay on your page. That means making it easy to find the link they should click next.
This starts with your site’s main navigation, of course. The most important individual pages should be easy to find, so that if a user has a question like “How much does this cost?” they can look at the navigation and quickly find the “Pricing” page.
But internal links are also critical. As visitors work through your content, you should anticipate the kinds of things they’ll think about, and provide links to the most relevant content. Linking to multiple pages is encouraged!
Dig into your analytics server to find great content that your users aren’t finding, and then make it more easily accessible. Plugins that automatically populate related posts at the end of blog articles can be a great way to automate that process.
Finally, important pages should also be linked in the site’s footer. Users will look to the footer for important pages that aren’t linked in the main navigation: about pages, terms and conditions, careers pages, social media links, etc.
A/B Test Your Page Layout and Design
The aesthetics of a web page are subjective. A page that looks gorgeous and flows smoothly to you might seem ugly and choppy to someone else. The only way to know for sure is to test it.
The internet is full of case studies about A/B tests where minor design and layout tweaks lead to massive conversion optimization breakthroughs. Your tests might not always lead to the slam-dunk insights found in the case studies. But without A/B testing, you’re operating in the dark.
Implementing effective A/B tests isn’t always easy, and if your site traffic is low, it may be difficult to reach statistical significance unless your variant performs much better or worse than your control.
But don’t let those challenges stop you! An imperfect A/B test is still better than none at all. Some information is almost always better than none.
Other forms of user testing can also be effective if you don’t have the traffic to support meaningful A/B tests, or simply wish to supplement them by gathering more data. Dig into your customer analytics. You can learn a lot, for example, from tools that track users’ mouse movements and produce heatmaps.
Give the People What They Want
All ten of these tips can be boiled down to a single idea: give people what they’re looking for.
The more closely your page aligns with what your audience wants and the better experience they have once they’re on it, the lower your overall bounce rate is likely to be.
So, when in doubt, optimize for what your users want. Write copyright you know is going to serve them. Embed videos you know are going to help them. Build features you know are going to engage them.
And do all of that on a site that you know is going to serve them well because it has been optimized to provide them with the best possible experience.