Have you ever had a campaign with a high “bounce rate”? I know I have had this happen with many targeted website and programmatic campaigns I have been a part of. In the beginning part of my digital life in my career, this scared me. It sounds SO negative. But let’s dive into what it really means, and if it’s a fair metric to judge the success of a campaign.
What is a “bounce”?
Let’s start with what a “bounce” is. Many people throw this term around, but I’ve found some people aren’t even fully aware of what it means. Here’s the literal definition of it straight from Google:
So a bounce is someone who comes to your website and only goes to one page then leaves the website. That session can last a matter of seconds or even minutes. So is this a bad thing? Most often it is not, but it can depend. I’d even go so far as to say if it wasn’t called a “bounce”, and was called a single page visit, we wouldn’t deal with the negative feeling about this topic we run into sometimes. If that one page on your website very clearly communicates what you wanted to communicate to that website visitor, then no, it’s not a bad thing. You actually did the person on your website a good service by getting them what they needed without making them jump around on your website. In fact, Google’s mission statement is to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”, so if you are being useful by giving a person the majority of the information they need on one page, you’re in line with Google’s mission statement.
What other metrics should I look at?
So for a targeted website, programmatic, audio, video or social campaign what else might be important to keep an eye on?
Time spent on the page. Take a look at time spent on the page you are sending people to for the campaign. A specific example of this is a client I help analyze their campaign performance within Google Analytics. The bounce from our campaign is usually 70%+, but the time spent on the site averages close to a minute. Other campaigns I help with I routinely see time spent being :30 or more. If someone is coming to your website and spending enough time there to get the message, that’s good! But if the average time spent on site is very, very low, not enough time to get the message across…that’s a potential problem. It probably means the people being sent there are not the right target audience or web page itself has a problem with keeping people there.
When is a high “bounce” not so good?
When it relates to your organic and direct website traffic, and your business requires people do extensive research across many pages on your website to progress them through the sales cycle. A high bounce rate there could mean you have a bad user experience on your website.
So in summary, a targeted website, programmatic, audio, video or social campaign will often have a high “bounce”. We shouldn’t be scared of that. Rather than looking at that, look at the average time spent on the website. If you’re keeping people on the page long enough to get the message to them, you’re doing good. But driving their behavior down the road with organic and direct is usually where people do more research and convert, so a lower bounce rate there should be a goal.
Written By: Russ Lynn
Executive Director of Cross Media Sales