You Ask, I Answer: Bounce Rate and Blog Content

Molly asks, “What does bounce rate REALLY mean when it comes to blog content?”

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Today, Molly asks, What does bounce rate really mean when it comes to blog content.

So we should probably clarify what bounce rate is, period.

A bounce is when somebody comes into your website, lands on a page, and then leaves, they literally blink, bounce in and out.

From a technical perspective, and this is where it gets messy.

A tool, for example, a Google Analytics count something as a bounce, if a user comes in, does nothing, you know, goes to one page does nothing and leaves, the does nothing part is really critical.

Because if the user does something that fires an event of some kind, then it’s no longer a bounce, because they did something, they didn’t just come to the page and then leave.

So for example, if you have scroll depth tracking turned on, where you have people tracking, like, come to the page, and then how far down the page they scroll.

Every time somebody scrolls a little further, it’s firing an event, you know, 10% of the page, 20% of the page, 30% of the page, and so on and so forth.

The challenge with all of these UI measurement tools, because they’re really important, they’re really good, and you should absolutely have them turned on is that they fire events.

And once an event is fired, that’s no longer a bounce.

Right? So at that point, it stops being about so you may turn on something like scrolled up tracking and see your bounce rate goes to like 80%, down 2%.

Because, again, those events are firing now, when a user interacts with your website.

So what does it mean? In general, it means that the user came in, did something and then left.

And that’s all we know, from a bounce, just by itself.

We don’t know whether the user found what they were looking for what they didn’t, we don’t know if they’re happy or sad, we don’t know anything about this user other than in single piece of content out.

Now, you may combine this with something like time on page, for example, if your bounce rate is high, and your title on pages, two seconds, right, and there’s 1000 words on the page, then you can start to know, okay, this page didn’t really satisfy the user, right? Because it should have taken them at least, at least three minutes to read that much text, right, if not longer.

And if it’s two seconds, they didn’t read anything.

And so a high bounce rate combined with a metric, like time on page is more indicative of the user experience.

Now, when it comes to different types of content on your website, that’s where bounce rate starts to get interesting and useful.

Right? When somebody goes to your blog, you know, you share a post on on Facebook or YouTube or whatever.

And somebody comes to your blog, they read your content, and then they leave.

Is that a bad thing? No, it’s not a bad thing, right? Think about what you’re doing right now.

You’re watching this video, you’re reading the text.

For this post, I’ve put up on my website, you come in, you read the thing, and then go back to what you were doing.

Yes, scrolling through Facebook, or Tiktok, or whatever the case may be.

That’s not bad.

I’m not mad that you came in, got what you wanted and left.

And so a bounce rate on something like informational content isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Where bounce rate matters, is when you’re looking at action oriented content.

So they say you’re on my newsletter subscription page, you come in, you see the form, and you don’t fill it out a leave.

That’s bad.

Because you didn’t do what the intended action was, which was subscribed to the newsletter.

And so bounce rate is one of those metrics that is very situational that is very context driven.

And is something that we have to be very careful in interpreting, we certainly don’t want to roll it up into one big number and say, you know, our website’s overall bounce rate is 50%.

So I don’t care if the whole website bounces, I do care about form pages, or contact pages or the customer chat window or whatever the case may be those I care about having low bounce rates on because I want you to do the thing on informational content.

I don’t really care.

So one of the things I think is critical to do in your own analytics is be a little be a little specific in how you report on bounce rate and say informational versus action oriented content, what is the bounce rate on each.

If your informational content bounces 80%, fine.

If your action oriented content bounces at 80%, you’ve got a problem, right.

And that’s something that you need to fix up.

You can even take it a step further, if you know there are specific kinds of actions people you want people to take.

One is, say sign up for a newsletter, the other is register for a webinar, the other is buy, you know this thing with your credit card, you should absolutely be comparing the bounce rates of those different types of actual into content to see, which has the highest bounce rate, and be looking to try and reduce it on the most critical pages, the pages that generate the most revenue for you.

So that’s what bounce rate really means.

When it comes to blog content or any other kind of content.

It is a measure of whether somebody came in did the thing left.

And by itself is not very informative.

When you combine it with additional metrics like time on page or the context of the page, or the importance of the page, that’s when bounce rate starts to be helpful.

So really good question.


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