How to Profit from a Higher Bounce Rate?

It's simple. Put your phone number in your banner. The phone rings more and the bounce rate goes up.

I get tired of web gurus telling people that they should make sure their bounce rate isn't too high. Some will cite studies that quote an average bounce rate. Some will say things like, "Obviously a high bounce rate means your site has low relevance to visitors, and so to capture more of those visitors you can work on making your site more relevant."

Here's the rub…comparing YOUR bounce rate to somebody else's is simply bad math. The only important comparison to make with your bounce rate is to compare it to the past. If it changes, dig deeper into your web analytics to find out what is going on.

So, how will putting your phone number in your banner increase your bounce rate?

And, why is this good?

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If you are a local retail or service business and you are doing other advertising in your market, you will no doubt be enjoying traffic (you do have a web site…please say yes) from visitors who have searched for you by name. (The good news about this is that when they search for you by name, they most likely won't find your competitors.)

Many of those visitors are coming to your site for one reason; to find your phone number. If you bury it on a "contact" page instead of making it prominent, you create friction for your customers who are already convinced they should call you. If they are forced to click through to find it, your bounce rate drops because these visitors don't count as a bounce.

If you put it on your banner, a visitor can find your site by searching for your name, see it on your banner and stay on your site just long enough to dial the phone. Your analytics program will count this as a bounce.

I would count it as making the phone ring.

Wouldn't you like the phone to ring more?

5 thoughts on “How to Profit from a Higher Bounce Rate?

  1. Michele Miller

    Well, let me try this again. Excellent point, Dave! Hadn’t thought of it that way before. I have a question: Let’s say I post a link to a new blog post on Twitter. The reader goes in, reads that post, then departs, does that count as a bounce? Would answer a big mystery for me… thanks!

  2. Dave Young

    Michele…my understanding is that yes, any one page visit is counted as a bounce. Even if they clicked on your RSS link and subscribed to your feed. Even if they clicked on your “retweet” link. It brings up that same issue of usability verses bounce rate. You could make all those clicky widgets bring visitors to an internal page where you present them with an entire smorgasboard of social media delights, and your bounce rate would drop. The risk is in pissing them off because you forced them to take an additional step into your site just so you can improve a stat. (also, the retweet thingy would then tweet the 2nd page instead of the blog post…not good).

  3. Michele Miller

    THANK YOU. You have no idea how much this has educated me. My unique visitors (not to mention number of visits) has been steadily climbing, yet the bounce rate has been disproportionately high. I am much relieved!

  4. Dave Young

    The important thing to watch is where you visitors are coming from. If the growth in traffic is from links related to your marketing efforts…huzzah! If the growth in traffic is coming from searches for your name or phrases that you like…huzzah again! If your growth in traffic is coming from some lame blog post you wrote years ago, and the subject is in the news again…not so huzzah-ish. (this is where most of my traffic is coming from)

    Likewise, take a look at the bounce rates on the phrases or sources that are really important to you. Are the visitors who searched for you by name sticking around a bit longer? How about the people coming from links? Instead of looking just at numbers, see if you can figure out the behavior of the people the numbers represent.


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