Decrease bounce rate by improving dwell time


Why is it important to improve the user experience?

The term “bounce” indicates precisely this: the user arrives on the site and immediately leaves. Let’s take an example: let’s assume that the site has an average of 100 visitors per day and a bounce rate of 50%: this means that out of every 100 users who arrive daily on the site, 50 leave after viewing only one page.

Therefore, a site with a very low bounce rate can boast a reasonably good user engagement rate (the user lands on the site and engages with the content, so he/she stays and visits several pages). On the other hand, a very high bounce rate indicates that users tend to flee immediately.

Bounce rate: what is the optimal value?

t is not possible to define an optimal bounce rate, as it is an extremely subjective value and must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, depending on the actual characteristics of the website.

In line with the whole approach, in the writer’s opinion, it can be said that a site with a bounce rate of around 30% (or even lower) is satisfied with its ability to retain users (provided this level is not artificially reached, of course.)

Conversely, websites with bounce rates of 80 or 90% do not necessarily have to be of low quality. Thus, a high bounce rate is not a problem to be solved

What are the causes?

The causes of a high bounce rate can be different, some are physiological (i.e. common elements of the site “type”), and others are pathological (due to errors and therefore eliminable or reducible).

Technical issues to consider

Let’s say the user found what he wanted. This case, for example, is very common in local business sites, such as bars or restaurants, where the user often accesses the site just to find the address or phone number. In these cases, therefore, the user immediately finds what he is looking for and has no need to extend the visit to the site.

The user is looking for the answer to a specific question and, in order to find it, consults in rapid succession the results provided by the search engine: in this case, the user’s visit ends immediately whether he has found the information he was looking for or not. This eventuality is quite frequent in technical and specialized sites (e.g. medical sites) where the user only arrives to find the answer he is looking for and is not interested in other contents or topics.

The technology with which the website is developed makes extensive use of Ajax, so the user can access different information on the site without moving (apparently) from the landing page.

Pathological causes of a high bounce rate

Unlike physiological causes, pathological causes of a high rebound rate can and should be eliminated. Here are the most common ones:

  • The website has code errors that could compromise its usability, leading users to abandon it (e.g. broken links, broken menus, blocking scripts, etc.).
  • The website, although not presenting serious programming errors, is structured in a way that is not usable, illogical, or unclear, therefore, users have no incentive to continue exploring.
  • In all these cases, to summarize, the high bounce rate percentage is nothing more than the natural consequence of the low quality of the site. The webmaster, therefore, could easily act on the bounce rate by improving the quality of its site and/or content, activating a virtuous circle that would lead not only to a greater permanence of users but also and above all to greater satisfaction of them.

Improve the experience

We have seen that when a high bounce rate is due to pathological causes, it is possible to intervene to remedy and improve bounce rates and user satisfaction. But how can this result be achieved?

The first thing you should do is to identify any errors in the site both at the programming level (test each page using, possibly, different browsers and systems) and architecture, and if there are errors of this type, resolve them immediately. 

If you make excessive use of banners and/or advertising formats, try to reduce the promotional spaces or eliminate those that are excessively intrusive: a few days could be enough to measure the effectiveness of similar actions on the site’s bounce rate.

If the problem depends on the quality of the site content, the question certainly becomes more complex and the action strategy is more complex. The first thing I suggest you do is to check which pages have the highest exit rate.

To do this, in Google Analytics, go to Behavior>Site Content>All Pages after which sort the data through the column indicating the percentage of exit (% exit) by sorting from the highest value to the lowest. By doing so, you will get a precise indication of the pages with the highest abandonment rate: surely the content of these pages is the first to be dedicated. Ask yourself if it is quality content, if it is comprehensive, and if the user can find useful and important information. If the answer is “no”, you have a lot to work with.

Finally, consider contacting a digital marketing agency, which can advise you properly and speed up the growth rate of visits to your site.