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Step 5 - How to read and understand basic reports

Traffic - Bounces - Bounce Rate - Introductory note

 ShinyStat Pro  ShinyStat Business

"Bounces" refers to visits by browsers that entered the site, viewed a single page and exited the website.
The “Bounce Rate” then is the percent of visits by browsers that abandon the site after viewing a single page.

The Bounce Rate is therefore a useful piece of information to gauge user interest in your website.
A high rate shows that visitors tend to abandon your site before exploring it.
However, users exiting a site after viewing a single page may do so for various  reasons: a user may have found the page uninteresting or irrelevant; or, s/he may have entered the site at a page without links; or, contrariwise, s/he may have landed on a page that provided all the relevant data, thereby making any further browsing redundant.

In a general sense, if a page has a high Bounce Rate, it is worthwhile to analyse in depth all available data in order to investigate all possible causes, in order to be able to optimise the page as necessary and minimise the percent of users that exit your website after viewing it.

If the Bounce Rate is high, the following aspects are worth checking:
  • Correct insertion of the ShinyStat Code
    Please check that the code has been inserted in all the pages of your website. If the code were available only in the  home page, or if it were missing in the page viewed by a user as his/her last page, the system will consider the page with the code as the one and only page viewed during this visit. In such a case, a proper insertion of the code in all the pages is likely to reduce the Bounce Rate.
  • Relevance of the landing page for the information shown in a link.
    If the Bounce Rate is too high, it is possible that the landing page is too broad-based or insufficient with respect to what is promised in the text of the information linking to this page. It is absolutely necessary to conform the landing page to the information or the keywords used, so that the user may find immediately what s/he is looking for.
    If you relate the Bounce Rate to the referrer type, you might be able to figure out how users will react when they land on a specific page coming from a certain kind of site, search engine or keyword, or from a specific campaign using Banners, Mail, Links or Pay Per Click.
  • Landing page
    A high Bounce Rate could also be due to the way the landing page looks. The page should have a pleasant graphical outlook, its text readable, and all distracting factors (pop-ups, sound, animations and the like) should be kept to a minimum, loading times should be short, the page should be visible with the browsers that your visitors use, and other things like that.
  • Website Usability
    A navigation menu should be readily accessible from all pages, for the user to browse your site and find easily and quickly what s/he wants.
    Links to related pages should also be highlighted to offer useful suggestions to  your visitors for their further browsing.
At any rate, data about Bounces should be analysed paying attention to all potential causes.
There are indeed times when the Bounce Rate may not mean very much in analytical terms. Let's see a few examples:
  • One-page websites
    A site with a single page, for instance, will show a very high Bounce Rate, given that the only way for a user to generate more visits is to reload that same page.
  • Blogs
    With blogs readers, by and large fidelized, will typically stop only on page one, where the latest posts can be read without necessarily viewing more pages.
  • News and landing pages rich in content
    Similar observations can be made for news sites and, more generally, for sites that collect all the news in a single page. If a user is interested only in the latest updates, s/he will find all the required in the first page information, without the need to go any further.
  • Sites properly indicized in search engines
    A site, rich in specific content (eg. product cards) could have a high Bounce rate if it is properly indicized in search engines. Actually, if the user reaches the right page with the desired product or information, it's likely that s/he will only view this, without further exploration.
  • Websites with fidelized users
    A website with fidelized users could show a high Bounce Rate, because visitors who are knowledgeable about it, could have simply bookmarked their pages of interest, reaching each time their desired content, without feeling the need to enter other pages. In a situation like that, together with a high Bounce Rate, there should also be a great number of visits due to Direct Requests.
In conclusion, Bounces are a very important tool to evaluate the quality of visits, and the effectiveness of your website (and its entry pages), and also, to figure out traffic sources that generate targeted visits.
On condition, that is, that one pays attention to contingent factors and relates specific data with other significant parameters, first of all the average  time spent on pages (indicative of interest towards the contents on offer) and the visit source (useful to diversify data in connection with  traffic sources).

A high Bounce Rates becomes more worrysome when the average time spent on your site or on specific pages is less. Longer times are a sure indication of visitors' interests for your proposed contents.
On the other hand, a site or a page with lots of visits originating mostly from Direct Requests will show a higher Bounce Rate than a  site or a page which is mostly  visited by people coming from a Search Engine. ==================================================================================================

and Bounce Rate are available only in ShinyStat Pro and ShinyStat Business version, in the following reports:

Bounces and Bounce Rate are available since July 2010.

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