Bounce Rate Poor? Doesn’t mean you’re failing.

About 6 months ago I was viewing analytics for a website that I created in mid 2015, as a freelance job, for my mother-in-law who owns a local salon here in Tallahassee, FL. The bounce rate was unbelievable. In fact, it was sitting in the 39%, which is almost in the “excellent” range as far as bounce rate is concerned with correctly functioning sites. It was great.

Then, like any normal person would do, we decided to change the home page up. I wanted a new, updated design that reflected the modern web; since, you know, the web changes every few months it seems. So we moved forward, we implemented the designs, and it looked amazing. It was modern, sleek, and was presumed to do exactly what we wanted; drive more sales.

However, a month after implementing this design I decided to view the bounce rate again thinking we would have dropped more points. Boy was I wrong. In fact, something inconceivable happened, we had gone up to 44% on the bounce rate. I couldn’t understand it. I’m sitting here looking at an amazing home page, viewing the analytics, and seeing something just doesn’t doesn’t add up based on my many years of schooling and developing.

At this point I was in denial. How could something go from amazing to “okay” when implementing something that I was sure would help the business. This is when the wheels in my head started spinning. What is affecting bounce rate? it’s when someone views one page and then doesn’t view another from within the site. Or, views one page and “clicks” away from your site.

The latter seemed like a possibility in this case. The salon utilizes a software that manages their booking of appointments that is on a site other than the one I created (this is when things start to “click”). I further implemented more analytics, specifically a service called “crazy eggs” on this site and ran these analytics for a 3 week period, gathering as much information as I could.

Once the 3 week period was up I was astonished. I grouped the crazy egg analytics with what Google Analytics was showing me and I about lost my mind. Google Analytics was showing a 44% bounce rate still; meanwhile crazy eggs was showing 2300 views in the 3 week period with 510 people clicking “book now” or some other button that would take them to the booking software. When running the amount of views/clicks + the google analytics it became quite apparent that my bounce rate wasn’t telling the full story. In fact, I wanted people to click the “book now” buttons or the “purchase now” buttons; that was the original intent of the redesign in the first place. Grouped with the bounce rate, and accounting for the people who pressed the buttons I wanted them to; my bounce rate is actually 32% (in the near perfect percentage).

On first glance, the bounce rate for my site shows an underperforming site. However, when grouped with further information and more analytics it proves otherwise. The point is, bounce rate doesn’t tell the whole story. In fact, it may not tell the story at all.

P.S. I don’t get paid to endorse CrazyEggs or Google Analytics but I would definitely consider utilizing both services if you want to find the true story your website has to tell.