Bounce Rate Is Bullshit!

Bounce rate is the metric that says what % of users reach your site and then leave without visiting another page. There are about 100 reasons why this metric on its own is pointless, but here are my favorites.

  • People visit pages other than your homepage, so if your bounce rate is high, it does not necessarily mean you need to rework your homepage. It means something ain’t right, but you don’t really know what.
  • People could bounce because the onsite experience is poor, but they could also just be the wrong people. If your media is targeting the wrong audience or your link got wrongly included on some blog, your bounce rate will go through the roof as these people realize they’ve come to the wrong place. No reflection on your site, but the numbers suffer nonetheless
  • A bounced user is barely less valuable than one that visits one other page and then scrams. We’re trying to get some sales here. Time on site and pages per visit don’t pay the bills.
  • Bounce rates can be thrown off by email collection pop ups or other gating functionality that count the user as having visited a second page without actually being enticed by any of the landing page content.
  • Bots. They come to your site. Mess up your numbers and then leave. Those bastards!

While you can find value in bounce rate by breaking it down by channel and/or doing some fancy filtering, the fact is, you learn nothing from just looking at this number on its own.