Bounce rate is a great metric of how much your visitors like your site, however it can also be completely misleading when taken out of context, especially for business-to-business (B2B) companies. Let's put this bounce rate thing into perspective by looking at what the heck bounce rate is and then seeing how you can use custom segments in Google Analytics to gain the perspective your business needs.
First, the definition.
Google (and pretty much everyone else) defines bounce rate as:
…the percentage of single-page visits or visits in which the person left your site from the entrance (landing) page.
Basically it means you're a one-hit-wonder, and no one wants to be one of those. And if you think you're numbers are sad take a look at this one:
That's the bounce rate for my site (blog and all) for the month of March. But if you think that number is going to make me run to a corner and cry you'd be wrong. Why? Because that bounce rate actually means very little to me. The one that counts the most, or I should say the three that count the most, look like this:
Those bottom three are the ones that I focus on. What are they for? Those are bounce rates for people that viewed my portfolio pages, product pages, and service pages respectively.
Here's the thing. Most people, when visiting a blog, do one or more of the following:
- Read a single post
- Leave a comment on said post
- Share the post on social media
Based on that list most of the visitors to your blog will bounce fast, creating a larger bounce rate and perhaps affecting your self-esteem a bit. But not to fret my friend – if your blog is part of your business site, and not the entire site, stop looking at the overall bounce rate.
Instead, create custom segments for the most important pages of your site. These could be your product and services pages, client pages, case study pages or others. “Most important” is determined by what actions on your website indicate interest. This is especially important if you get most of your business offline or via the phone, which is the case for a number of my clients.
So before you have a heart attack looking at that high bounce rate, put it in perspective with some custom segments.