Your bounce rate is the percentage of people who land on one of your pages but then leave without clicking through to another one. This may be the single most important stat to track for your online store.
First of all, a high bounce rate is a sign you’re not making as many conversions as you should be, as conversions almost always entail the visitor clicking through to another page. For example, to make a sales conversion, the visitor needs to navigate to their cart and then to the checkout page.
Before we get into average bounce rates, you need to consider what it means for your search engine rankings.
Organic search is by far the most popular source of traffic to online stores. According to Wolfgang Digital’s KPI Report 2019, 43% of traffic to ecommerce sites comes from organic search — this is more than direct traffic (visitors entering your URL into the address bar of their browser or clicking on a previously saved bookmark), paid search ads and email marketing combined.
Search engines such as Google and Bing use complex algorithms to determine where sites are ranked for each search query. The exact details of how these algorithms work isn’t publicly available information, but we do know there’s a strong correlation between organic search position and bounce rate.
Search engine companies want their users to be satisfied with their service. They put a great deal of effort into making sure the results they present to a user are relevant to what was searched. Otherwise, the user may get frustrated and start using one of their competitors, which means less traffic and ad revenue for the search engine.
For this reason, dwell time (the amount of time a user spends on a page after being directed there by a search engine) is weighted heavily in search engine algorithms. The theory is that if someone spends a lot of time on a page, they were likely satisfied with the search result. Conversely, if someone does not spend a lot of time on the page, they likely weren’t satisfied with the search result.
If you have a large share of your visitors backing out almost immediately after landing on your page (i.e. a high bounce rate), your dwell time is going to suffer. So, for your store to succeed, you need to be visible on search engines. And to be visible on search engines, you need to keep your bounce rate down.
In this guide, we’ll provide context that will help you determine whether or not you should worry about your bounce rate, and then we’ll show you how to improve it.
If one of your pages has a bounce rate that’s higher than average, you know you need to make some changes. If it has a low bounce rate, then your time would be better spent addressing other concerns
Of course, you need to know what the average actually is in order to make these decisions.
The average bounce rate is between 41% to 55%. If you can get your bounce rate down to 20% to 30%, then you’re doing really well.
A bounce rate under 20%, though, should make you suspicious. It’s highly unlikely this will happen naturally — a fair share of visitors will always leave the page without navigating to another part of your site. Instead, a bounce rate in this range probably means your analytics tool isn’t functioning properly. Until you get this fixed, you won’t be able to accurately assess the behavior of people who land on your site.
Another factor to consider is that different industries have different bounce rates. The average bounce rate ranges from 44.50% for real estate sites all the way up to 65.62% for food & drink sites. Depending on your industry, a bounce rate above 55% may be average rather than high.
To get the bounce rate of your pages down to the sweet spot of 20% to 30%, try the following techniques.
Some simple changes to the appearance of your page may be all it takes to significantly improve your bounce rate.
For example, your CTA button (“Add to Cart,” “Buy Now,” etc.) should be big compared to other elements on the page. The easier it is for visitors to find this button, the more likely it is that they will click it and move on to the next page.
The color of your CTA button is important, too. The particular color you use for your button doesn’t matter, as long as it contrasts with the background color of the page. This will draw the visitor’s eye to the button and encourage them to click.
For product pages, you should also have multiple high-quality photos (and ideally, video) of your product featured on the page. Ecommerce is more convenient than going to a store, but one drawback is customers don’t get a chance to evaluate products in person. You can compensate for this fact by using images and video to give visitors a good look at your product — this will make them more comfortable with committing to a purchase.
Reviews must also be featured prominently on product pages. When you talk about the benefits of purchasing your product in your copy, visitors know you’re incentivized to say whatever you can to make a sale. By showcasing reviews from previous customers, you can provide visitors with more objective feedback and give them a logical reason to trust that your products are worth purchasing.
There are page builder apps available on ecommerce platforms such as Shopify and BigCommerce that allow you to quickly make these tweaks to your pages yourself. That way, you won’t need to invest all the time and money that’s required to hire a designer.
If your site is slow, then it doesn’t matter how well-designed your pages are. People are going to back out.
Specifically, most people will back out of your site if it takes longer than 5 seconds to load. Twenty-seven percent of people will back out if it takes longer than 3 seconds.
There are many techniques that you can use to improve the performance of your pages. Lazy loading, which involves waiting to load elements below the fold until the visitor scrolls down and is able to see them, is one of the most effective methods.
Don’t let your visitors go without a fight.
With exit intent popups, you’ll get one last chance to convert a visitor after they decide that they want to leave your page. Exit intent popups are triggered when the visitor moves the cursor up toward the back button of their browser. They allow you to offer a discount, free shipping or some other incentive to convince visitors to stay.
One study found that discount-based exit intent popups result in a purchase 20% of the time.
To sum it all up, here’s what you need to know: The average bounce rate is between 40% to 65%, depending on your industry. Your goal should be 20% to 30%. To reach that goal, look into improving your page design and performance, and incorporate exit-intent popups.
With this knowledge, you’ll be able to improve your conversion rate and your store’s visibility on search engines as well.
Adam Ritchie is a freelance writer based in Silver Spring, Maryland. He currently writes for Shogun, and his previous clients include Groupon, Clutch and New Theory.
Adam Ritchie is a writer based in Silver Spring, Maryland. He writes about ecommerce trends and best practices for Shogun. His previous clients include Groupon, Clutch and New Theory.