Four Ways to Lower Your Bounce Rate

mr-_bounce-wordpress

If you are doing your marketing well, you will be very familiar with getting into the data provided by your web analytics package. One of the key metrics of whether your website is working is bounce rate.

Bounce rate is defined as the percentage of single-page visits, i.e. the visitor exits the website without seeing more pages than their entrance page. With that definition, it is pretty clear that the lower your bounce rate, the better your website is performing.
That is true in most situations, but not all. You need to put your bounce rate into context. Imagine that you own a restaurant. Your home page has a high bounce rate, so is this a problem? If your home page has your phone number on it, it may be that people are visiting your site, calling the number and leaving the site. Your objective (a full restaurant!) is being met even with a high bounce rate.

But this is an exception – a high bounce rate tends to signal an opportunity to improve. Here are four ways that you could lower your bounce rate:

Attract The Right Audience:

As with virtually every metric within web analytics, you need to understand the context. Regardless of how fantastic your website user experience, content and offering is, if the audience that you are attracting is irrelevant, the website will deliver a high bounce rate. It is not easy to attract the right people to your website (paid social media can really help here!), but if you are able to, that alone will lower your bounce rate.

Make Your Content Easily Digestible:

Unfortunately it doesn’t take much searching to find a web page that is absolutely chocked full of text which is really overwhelming to look at. The content itself might be fascinating, but it just looks awful! Keeping only the essential text as well as using bullet points can help to break up large passages of dense text. And don’t forget using images, video, sound, etc. can also make your content less daunting.

Have A Clear User Journey:

Your navigation should be there to enable the user to achieve the mission that they are undertaking, whether that is as lofty as making a purchase or as trivial as someone just killing a bit of time. Whether you are using a floating main menu or navigation aids in the right / left hand columns, being able to offer the user somewhere interesting to go next is really important – and will lower your bounce rate. Amazon’s ‘customers who bought this item also bought’ boosts basket spend as well as keeping the user on the site.

Don’t Get In The Way:

One of the best pieces of advice that I have been given is not to get in the way of the user. Pop-ups are all well and good for building email subscriber lists, but they can interrupt the user journey. If distractions are not kept to a minimum, you run the risk of losing the user.

Where to Start with Web Analytics

Where to start with web analytics Wordpress

Where to start with web analytics WordPressThe world of web analytics can feel very overwhelming. There are so many metrics which you could be looking at, but what do they all mean and even if I work out what metrics to look at, how can I actually improve the results?

If you are just starting out on your analytics journey, these are 5 key metrics to get you started:

Visits:

  • This seems pretty straightforward to define, but it is one of the most important metrics out there. It is defined as the number of times that your website has been visited, but it is not the number of people who have visited your site – some people may have visited your website more than once in your chosen time period and every time they do, they contribute towards one visit
  • On the whole, you want the number of visits to be as high as possible, but not always: if you have a hidden page (i.e. doesn’t appear in any menu / navigation) with an exclusive message, you might want to limit this to a particular audience

Traffic Sources:

  • To improve your visits, you need to firstly understand where your traffic is coming from. There are five main sources:
    • Organic Search: this is when traffic has arrived from a search engine (e.g. Google) via its organic, i.e. non-paid, search results
    • Paid Search: When traffic arrives from a search engine via paid results – these tend to be at the top of the first page of search results and down the right hand side of the screen
    • Direct: where someone has typed your web address directly into their browser
    • Referral: where the visitor has clicked on a link to your website from a different website, e.g. Amazon
    • Social: traffic from Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.

Bounce rate:

  • A visit counts as a bounce if someone visits your website and exits the website before seeing a second page. As such, it is likely that you will want to keep the bounce rate as low as possible – but not always… If you have a web page that contains a phone number that the user is looking for, they may find the page, call the number and exit the site: This will count as a bounce but it’s a good bounce!

Time on site:

  • This is pretty self-explanatory, but bear in mind that this is the time spent on the site, not on an individual page. Theoretically, the more interesting your website is, the higher this score will be, but there are other factors that will influence time on site – how good your navigation menus are, how many links to other pages there are in your content, etc.

Pages per visit:

  • Like time on site, this is a measure of how engaged your audience is on your website. And again, it heavily depends on the content that you have on your site – is your objective to get people to read one article or to explore the site?

The most important part of web analytics is to understand why you are looking at the data in the first place – do you want people to visit just one page, or spend a long time on the website? Identifying your objective will really help you to understand your web analytics and what you need to do to further improve the user experience.

If you have any web analytics top tips, please leave a comment and share your knowledge!

Image via marketingland.com

Understanding Email Metrics

Email Marketing Metrics

Email Marketing Metrics

In the world of digital marketing, it seems that every week presents a new tool which marketers can use to engage with their audience.  But in all of the excitement surrounding innovation, it is also important to remember your trusted tools which deliver consistently strong results.  For a lot of businesses, this is email marketing.

But how do you know if your email marketing is working well?  You need to have a good knowledge of email analytics, or how you measure your email marketing performance.  Here is a guide to the key metrics and how to improve them.

Delivered Rate:

  • What is it?  If you send your email to 100 people, it is unlikely that all 100 people will receive it.  There are all sorts of reasons for this, but the key one is likely to be your email getting caught in a spam filter.  Not getting very strong deliverability means that your campaign has fallen at the first hurdle.
  • How to improve it?  You should avoid obviously spammy words (“f r e e”, “cheap”, using all capitals, etc.), not send your email to too many recipients at the same time (send in smaller batches instead), and avoid poor quality HTML – these not exhaustive, but a good starting point.

Open Rate:

  • What is it?  Once your email gets delivered, the next stage for the email to go through is to be opened.  Getting your email opened is important, but it doesn’t tell you how long the recipient spent looking at the email or other measures.
  • How to improve it?  There are a couple of factors which influence open rate.  The first is the name of the sender of the email, normally the first thing that the recipient sees.  If this is recognised or welcomed, chances are that the email will be opened.  The next factor is the subject line – the format will depend on your business, market and audience, but it should be short, punchy and enticing enough to encourage opening.

Click Through Rate:

  • What is it?  The point of sending most marketing communications is to encourage the recipient to take some sort of action.  This action may well be to click through to a landing page.  This is a good indicator at the level of engagement in your email, although other measures such as forward rate (the number of people who sent your email onto a contact of theirs) may apply.
  • How to improve it?  This is all about the content of your email, which is dependent on your business and audience.  Ad a general rule, the content should be relevant, personalised where possible, have a clear call to action and be optimised for mobile.

Opt Out Rate:

  • What is it?  This is the rate at which your audience have taken the step to not receive your emails anymore.  This is often a demoralising experience for email marketers, but there are lots of reasons why it could happen: the important question is why.
  • How to improve it?  To find out why someone has unsubscribed from your email marketing, you should ask them!  When they unsubscribe, take them to a page which confirms the action has taken place and ask them to select an option which applies best to the reason for opting out.  Not everyone will answer, but those that do will offer an insight.

In addition to this, you should also measure your on-page analytics: when someone clicks on a link in your email, how do they behave, do they bounce out of the site, etc.  Doing this is a blog post in itself, but spend some time in your analytics package to find out more.

You should also find a means of benchmarking your campaign.  You may be lucky enough to find some research on the web which shows your industry benchmark, but in the absence of that, you should start benchmarking your own campaigns against each other – do bear in mind that the audience group should be similar to have a fair comparison.

Image via verticalresponse.com

Twitter Analytics

twitter-logo

twitter-logo

Earlier this week, Twitter opened up Twitter Analytics to all of its 271 million users: previously the service was only open to paid advertisers.  For everyone who uses Twitter to engage with their audience, whether you are a business, blogger or whatever, this is fantastic news – analytics should always take the guesswork out of your decision-making.  So, how does Twitter Analytics work?

If you have tried to drive Twitter engagement, then you will have that familiar feeling of composing your tweet, posting it and hoping for the best, but fearing that your tweet is getting lost in the noise of the Twittersphere – and only realising that someone has read it at all when you get a retweet or favourite….if it sounds familiar, Twitter Analytics is here to help.

When you log into Twitter Analytics, you will default to the ‘Tweets’ section (look in the left hand corner for this).  You will firstly see a graph which will show the number of tweet impressions day on day for the last week.  You should be looking here to see if your impression rates alter by day of the week, or if you have had a particularly strong or weak performance – you can page down to see the performance of individual tweets to see which ones engage your audience and which ones didn’t.  To the right of the graph, you will see your daily average number of impressions.  A nice amount of information, and in my opinion, not too overwhelming.

Below the graph, you can see the stats for every tweet that you have sent – how many times the tweet has been seen (impressions), engagements and engagement rate.  This is a great way of finding out the characteristics of your most successful tweets – you should be looking for to see how different tweets perform according to length, format (i.e. image, link, Vine, etc.), day of week, time of day, etc.  To the right of the individual tweet statistics, your engagement is broken down – clicks, retweets, replies by day for the last month.

At the top of the screen, you will see that you also have the option of ‘Followers’.  If you have ever tried to analyse your Twitter audience, you will see this as a great addition!  It allows you to see how your follower numbers have changed over the last year (hopefully this number will be in growth!).  It also lists your followers’ interests, geographic location and even gender.  If you are trying to target a particular audience with your business, this is a useful tool which will see if your targeting is working, if you check it regularly.

In the era of data being absolutely everywhere, particularly in digital, it is easy to be critical of yet another tool showing you lots of numbers.  But across the world, people are investing huge amounts of time in Twitter with very little information available to determine success – not anymore, and for that reason, as well as the relative ease of use, Twitter Analytics is a great addition for marketers, particularly as you can export the data into as a CSV file to allow further analysis.

Bounce and Exit Rates

Bounce and exit rate

Bounce and exit rate

From chatting to other digital marketers online, one of the questions that we dread when presenting analytics is ‘what’s the difference between bounce rate and exit rate?’ I used to find that the more I tried to explain bounce rate, the more it sounded like I was explaining exit rate!

So, here is the difference presented simply (well, as simply as I can!)

Exit rate is the percentage of times that the page is the last one that the user sees in their session.

Bounce rate is the percentage of times that a page is the only page within a session. So, bounce rate is only relevant if the page that you are analysing is the only one in the session.

The natural reaction to a high bounce rate is panic. But it’s not necessarily time for that – if your website has answered a long-tail question, you may see a bounce; or if someone is looking for your phone number, that might be a search, once page and then bounce. However, these pages are normally fairly deep within the structure of the site: a high bounce rate on huge home page is normally a sign that something is wrong.

Context is important for exit rate too. If you have a user journey that is 3 pages long, then a high exit rate on the last page might not be such bad news.

Analytics often asks more questions than it answers, but hopefully this answers one of the trickiest questions in analytics – if you’ve got a better way of differentiating, please leave a comment!

Image via pamivey.com

5 Tips to Lower Your Bounce Rate

Mr Bounce Rate

Mr Bounce Rate

You may be asking ‘what are bounce rates’ and ‘are they a problem for me’?  Well, the bounce rate is the proportion of web visitors who only view a single page on the website and leave the site without visiting any other pages.  There is no benchmark for a ‘good’ bounce rate, as it will differ by industry and by the purpose of your webpage, e.g. if the user finds the info they want on the first page and calls your contact centre, this is a bounce but a positive one!

However, not all bounces are positive – more often than not, it is a result of the user getting lost / confused / irritated by a page before they exit.  Now think how much you are spending on SEO, PPC, Social Media, Email Marketing and all other referrals… a proportion of these visitors (and money!) are bouncing, so get efficient and minimise your bounce rate!  Here are my 5 tips to lower your bounce rate:

Where are users looking?  Although you can spend a lot of money on eye-tracking software, but if your budgets are tight, then you can look at where users click via Google Analytics – just go to Content => In-Page Analytics.  This should help deliver insight as to the best location for your key links.

New windows for links to other websites:  A really simple one.  If you put links to other websites on your website, the user will bounce if you don’t set up the link to open in a new window / tab.  So many big websites fall into this trap, don’t be one of them…

Specific landing pages:  Time spent in the user’s shoes is time well spent.  If you are receiving a referral from YouTube, it makes sense to put video content on that landing page.  Simple thinking like this will deliver more engaged users to your site who are less likely to bounce.

Snappy copy:  This is general website best practice, but a long and wordy page which the user is not expecting will turn them off – they can’t be bothered to read your work regardless of how beautifully worded it is!

Minimise distractions:  A lot of websites get in the way of their users by providing too many distractions.  The website which minimises distractions best is Google: very simple interface, minimal links and it lets the user get on with their objective.  Don’t offer too many options to the user, they might just click on them!

I have just scratched the surface here, but leave a comment and let me know your top bounce rate tip!

Google Analytics 101

Google Analytics via smartinsights.com

Google Analytics via smartinsights.com

There are lots of free tools on the internet, and a lot of them are free for a good reason – they aren’t very good! However, Google Analytics (GA) is a good free tool that can give you an overview of your website performance. When you log onto GA, it can look a little intimidating, so I thought a quick guide to GA was long overdue.

Under standard reports on the left hand menu, there are 5 categories of reports; I will cover each in turn:

Real Time Reports:
This shows who is on your website right now. It shows a good level of information (where they are geographically, where they have come from, etc.), and is interesting. However, as the data is changing every second or so, its use is fairly limited. Maybe if you had just sent a tweet asking people to go to the website, you could use this to track its success but there are more effective tools to use here.

Audience Reports:
These reports show you all of the key headline metrics that your senior team will be asking for – unique visitors, page views, visit duration, bounce rate, etc. But it does go further than that. You can see the location or device of your visitors, or the fascinating visitor flow, showing the user journey which is powerful data – while the data is sampled and grouped, so you cannot track individuals, the data is indicative and actionable.

Traffic Sources:
Where your traffic comes from should shape the pages that your users land on, so having a good understanding of your traffic sources is critical. You will be able to see the sources themselves (i.e. search, direct, referral, etc.) as well as some details behind then – such as search keywords and number of referrals by site (e.g. from social media). It’s also worth checking out the ‘Search Engine Optimisation’ report – this will show your average position against the keywords which drive traffic to your site; it’s an SEO to-do list!

Content:
Here you will find reports on the pages on your website. You will be able to manipulate the data to see how many times a page has been visited, and how engaged the user is on that page, and clicking on that page will show when in the specified time period the page was visited. Also, you can see where the user clicks on each page on the website through ‘in-page analytics’ – not quite eye-tracking, but better than nothing!

Conversions:
If you have set up goal URLs for Google Analytics, here you can see how successful your efforts have been. You can also assign financial values to your goals to start to measure ROI.

I hope that it gives you the confidence to dig deeper into this tool!

Image via the excellent www.smartinsights.com