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What Is Bounce Rate?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 13 August 2014
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Bounce rate is a statistic that shows what percentage of users land on one page of a website and then navigate away, "bouncing" to a different site. It is one among many statistics that can be used to learn how people use a particular website. Having a high or low bounce rate is not necessarily a bad thing, depending on the structure of a website and its function; it must be looked at in combination with other statistics.

To calculate bounce rate, a count of the number of visitors as a whole is divided by the number of people who only visit one page. A site that gets 1,000 hits a day with 200 users who only visit one page has a bounce rate of 20%, which is generally deemed quite low. In addition to looking at bounce rates for whole websites, people can also explore the bounce rate for specific pages. This can sometimes be more revealing in terms of understanding how people navigate a given site.

Some sites naturally have a high bounce rate because of the way that they offer their resources. Sites that collect informational articles and tutorials, for example, encounter a lot of visitors who land on a specific page with a search, read the page to get the information they want, and then leave. This may be perfectly acceptable to the site administrator, although such sites can also try to keep users on the site with related links to other content on the site.

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News outlets often have a high bounce rate as well because people land on the front page, skim headlines, and then navigate away. A site traffic analysis of a news website may reveal that making changes in how the content is presented encourages people to explore further by clicking a headline to read a story in full. Likewise, gadgets that show related news articles and currently trending stories can encourage users to stay on the site.

High bounce rates are generally undesirable for commerce sites. If users are only looking at one page and then leaving, it shows that they are not moving through the sales and checkout process. This may be because users are checking prices and planning to come back later, but it can also mean that users are not happy with the offerings, can't find what they are looking for, or think they can find better prices elsewhere.

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