Adam T. Sutton

Bounce Your Website Bounce Rate

July 16th, 2008

An often overlooked and undervalued metric is website bounce rate. A page’s bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who leave immediately after arriving. There are two ways to measure it:

o Percentage of visitors who leave before a set time

o Percentage of visitors who leave without clicking into the site, regardless of time spent

For landing pages, it measures the connection of the message driving the traffic to the message on the page. A poor connection causes a high bounce rate.

David Friedberg, CEO, WeatherBill, had a bounce rate problem when his financial weather coverage business launched in spring 2007. Google analytics was telling him the site’s homepage, and only landing page, had a bounce rate around 60%, he says.

WeatherBill’s site is set up for automated purchasing, but its main function is to educate customers before they order service over the phone, David says. But only about 40% of the visitors were clicking to learn more about WeatherBill.

-> The vague homepage

“The old site had a high level of ‘here’s what WeatherBill does.’ We sell weather contracts to help protect your business against adverse weather,’ which is nice as sort of an elevator pitch for someone who understands what you’re saying, but it doesn’t make sense to a farmer who’s looking for drought protection,” he says.

-> A clue in the calls

David noticed that conversion rates were a lot higher for telesales than Web sales–high enough to warrant some careful analysis.

“We realized that it was because the first thing we were asking them on the phone was ‘what is your weather risk? How is weather impacting your business?’” he says.

-> The new site

David and his team gave the homepage a major overhaul incorporating a system to drive customers into tailored messages. On the new site, visitors were asked to select their industry and the weather they were trying to protect against. Immediately, bounce rates dropped to around 20 or 30%, and sales went up.

High bounce rates are caused by a distortion between what visitors expect and what they get. The way to lower a bounce rate is to change their expectations (the campaign driving the traffic) or to change what they get (the landing page), he says. The two have to be synchronized or the visitor is going to bounce.

Adam T. Sutton

About Adam T. Sutton

Adam T. Sutton, Senior Reporter, MarketingSherpa
Adam generates content for MarketingSherpa's Email and Inbound Marketing newsletters. His years of experience in interviewing marketers and conveying their insights has spanned topics such as search marketing, social media marketing, ecommerce, email and more. Adam previously powered the content behind MarketingSherpa's Search and Consumer-marketing newsletters and carries that experience into his new role. Today, in addition to writing articles, he contributes content to the MarketingExperiments and MarketingSherpa blogs, as well as MECLABS webinars, workshops and summits.

Prior to joining MarketingSherpa, Adam was the Managing Editor at the Mequoda group. There he created content and promotions for the company's daily email newsletter and managed its schedule.

Categories: Research And Measurement, Website And Landing Page Design Tags: , ,

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