Could a High Bounce Rate be Damaging your Website?

The Google Analytics Benchmarking Report

The Google Analytics benchmarking report has created some interest. Perhaps the key area of interest is average bounce rate. The Google Analytics report gave a number of average measures for bounce rate. These vary depending on national market and type of website visitor.

Bounce Rate Penguin

Could a High Bounce Rate Be Damaging Your Website?

Bounce Rates by Country

By country:

  • Global 47.0%
  • United Kingdom 41.5%
  • United States 42.5%
  • France 49.7%
  • China 58.2%

Bounce Rates by Visitor Type

By type of visitor:

  • Direct 47.2%
  • Referral 43.1%
  • Organic search 47.9%
  • Paid search 41.4%

Bounce Rates By Device

My own research also indicates that there are wide variations in average bounce rate between the devices people use. Desktop computers have the lowest bounce, portable devices such as iPads come in the middle, with mobile phones such as the iPhone having the highest bounce rate. My own data is based on a sample of over 300,000 website visits of which approximately 15,000 were mobile visits. Whilst the data is taken from a UK based website using Google Analytics, the overall average bounce rate is about 9% lower than the UK average. The likely Google Analytics average bounce rate is likely to be higher for each of the devices.

The average bounce rate by device was as follows:

  • All devices 32.45%
  • Desktop/Laptop devices 31.0%
  • iPad devices 34.80%
  • iPhone devices 44.74%

Why Bounce Rate Matters

Bounce rate is generally viewed as a negative metric. It generally implies that someone who visits your website is not engaged by what they see. Strictly the measure means a visitor has visited just one page, then left. Webmasters and online marketers spend much time and effort attempting to reduce their average bounce rate. However, bounce rate is not always negative. In some market categories such as hotels, a high bounce rate may indicate that you successfully presented information. If someone is looking for your phone number or postcode and leaves without visiting more than one page, it may be viewed as a successful visit if they have found the information they are looking for straightaway. I suspect that in the case of mobile searchers they are less inclined to be generally browsing and are more likely to be making informational searches such as those for addresses and phone numbers.