When high Bounce rates are not that bad 14 Oct 2012
The common SEO perception is that the higher the bounce rate, the duffer you are as an internet marketer. Sorry I did not mean to say this but this is the kinds of compliments that I use to receive whenever my boss gets into Google Analytics. We are living in the age of mass stupidity; we believe in the stupid things like high bounce rate is invariably associated with bad users’ experience. Please, give me a break. This is not the universal truth. As you seem unconvinced, let me explain things to you in plain and simple English:
First of all, the concept of bounce rate is itself flawed. For say, if you are using Google analytics, when a visitor lands on your website, you will have the following details reflected on to your Analytics Account – operating system of the visitor, browser, IP address etc. However, Analytics will not be able to give you any data about how long the visitor stayed on that page before bouncing back. To track that, Analytics need to have that script executes again but as the visitor is bouncing back, there is no such luck.
So, here are the few areas where focusing too much on metrics like high bounce rate can create trouble for your internet marketing campaign:
Leads Via Phone Calls: Imagine a situation that you call a prospective customer and ask him to visit your website to get more details about the offer you are referring. Now, follow these actions – customer lands on your website, reads the offer in detail, give you a call back, shows his interest about the proposal, the deal is closed and finally the customer leaves the page happily. Now, though you manage to convert a customer, it will still be considered a bounce by Google Analytics.
What Google Analytics will see is that the visitor has only visited one page and then bounced back without any further interaction. And the worst part, Analytics is not going to track how long the visitor hangs in there. Therefore, the average time on page data will be screwed to a great extent.
Adjusted Bounce rate: Probably Google is aware of this shortcoming and for this reason, it has recently launched Adjusted bounce rate. With this new feature, you will be able to create an event that will make Google Analytics treat bounce rate differently. For say, you can instruct the Analytics to consider bounce to be anyone who leaves a page within 20 seconds. So, if a visitor spends 21 seconds on a page and then bounces back, it will not be considered as bounce rate. Now, this is where the problem creeps in. Most CMS do not have any such Plugins that can give support to this feature. WordPress has some plug-ins recently developed but the Analytics code might fail to work precisely there.
Affiliate marketing: If you were running an affiliate marketing campaign, then it would be great for your website to drive visitors to affiliate sites so that your income from them keeps soaring. However, the only problem is that these visitors will be treated as bounce in your Analytics account, and this will make the Analytics report look bad. You can fix this issue by creating an event or by opting for virtual page view option. It will make Analytics understand that something has happened on the page and will not count visitors that clicked onto affiliate website links as bounce.
Michael Evans is a passionate writer and he has written several articles for http://www.insidershostreview.com/.