High bounce rates aren’t always bad

Bounce rates are commonly used as KPIs for all kinds of websites since they show the “stickiness” of a site for new visitors. If people leave the site right away (high bounce rate), either the landing page is under-performing, or the wrong kinds of visitors are going there. However, having a low bounce rate may hide other problems, and sometimes a high bounce rate isn’t bad.

Here are some scenarios in which a higher bounce rate may be acceptable or at least mean something other than poor performance:

  • If the landing page’s call to action is to call or send an email.
  • If the landing page sends users to a different domain that is not being properly tracked.
  • If the landing page provides links to downloads like PDFs, MP3s, or other files that aren’t being properly counted in analytics.
  • If the call to action on the landing page is satisfied on that page.
  • If the landing page uses dynamic HTML to support post-arrival activity.
  • Visitors landing pages have JavaScript and cookies turned off, making hosted tracking solutions ineffective. (This is an exceptionally small portion of real web users, and they can almost always be ignored.)

Note that some of these simply result from an improper analytics setup and could, at least in theory, be tracked with some adjustments. Others, such as phone calls and emails, can be much harder to track unless you have the capability to provide unique phone numbers and email addresses for those landing pages.

Bookmark and Share