We have talked a lot about bounce rate in the past (Bounce Rate = % of Single page visits, Read What is bounce rate and how to reduce it?). Many times, I have referred to bounce rate in the context of blog design, mobile device support, landing page optimization etc.
This time, we are going to talk about the REAL Google Analytics Bounce Rate data with the help of the most important factor that you should care about in your site analytics viz. Audience Engagement. Let me explain the two dimensions of engagement namely visit duration and page depth with the help of the pictures below (Click the pictures to enlarge):
The visitor engagement
The following picture is shows the visitor engagement data from one of my niche blogs that is converting reasonably well.
Now let us analyze the data in the above picture.
Essentially, 79.72% of the visits to the particular niche blog did not stay for more than 10 seconds!
The second picture below shows one page depth of 77.43% and this is nothing but the bounce rate in Google Analytics overview page.
From the above two information, it is pretty much clear that even though the one page visits are only at 77 percent (which anyhow is not a good figure) or so, for practical purposes, the visits that stayed for a lesser duration are much higher. i.e. Almost 85% of the visits are less than 30 seconds long. This essentially means that your actual bounce rate is much higher!
What is an acceptable bounce rate range?
Well, it depends on your website type.
If you have a content rich blogs, news site or rich information sites then something like 50% of bounce is acceptable, and up to 75% would mean that you are probably running a site with not-so-interesting content and more than 75% or 80% is probably disastrous. In other words, a content rich blog should have a very good page depth values for 2+ page visits and duration of visit should be higher as well.
However, in the case of a niche blog that has affiliate links or ads right on top, it may not be bad to have a high bounce rate. Before establishing this theory though, you need to analyze top outbound-click areas using a proper analysis tool. If your conversion rate is as good as 30% or 40% then having a bounce rate of 80% is not at all bad. For a niche blog, if the page depth and duration of visit are high, but still have low conversions, then there’s nothing to boast about a low bounce rate value anyhow.
In essence having a high bounce rate is NOT necessarily bad! At the end, it all depends on the bottom line that you are targeting with respect your blog or site content. These bottom line attributes could be money, goodwill, readership, list building etc.
At the same time, if none of your goals are met and you still have high bounce rate, you are basically not going anywhere. You may be having some serious problem with your blog in that case. These could be the site performance, too many or intrusive ads, poor typography, design or readability, poor support for multiple device and browser type and most importantly poor content. Fortunately Google Analytics provides extensive data on what type of technology, content or geography has resulted in high bounce rate. You may want to delve deeper into such data than just worrying about what is shown as your Google Analytics bounce rate %.