Oof – no one likes a high bounce rate, one of those statistics that indicates your website is having serious, foundational problems. We’re already talked about several proven ways to keep people from bouncing away from your site, but it’s time to discuss a particularly important tool for your site improvement: Industry bounce rate comparisons.
Every industry and business type has different bounce rates based on what viewers expect and how online products are sold. Comparing your business to a health site, insurance company, or online supermarket isn’t going to do much good unless those companies closely resemble your own. So when you look at bounce rates, look at what’s expected in your industry as well. We’ll show you how to start out.
1. Take a Look at General Statistics on Bounce Rates
Before diving into deeper comparisons, it’s useful to take a look at more general industry statistics provided from companies that have already gathered the data. It’s a great way to see how industry bounce rates differ, and what reasons may be behind the changes. We recommend this Hubspot infographic as a good place to start. For a bird’s eye view, let’s take a look at general industry bounce rate information:
- Lead Generation sites: This is an important one for B2B companies – sites that sell specific services and service packages. These tend to see a bounce rate between 30% and 50%, higher than retail sites, which indicates a greater need to make sure visitors stay around within the first few seconds.
- Service websites: Service websites refer to sites where users can accomplish something (financial management, portal logins, etc.). They tend to have low bounce rates around 10% to 30%, because when people show up here they usually know exactly what they want.
- E-Commerce/Retail sites: E-Commerce websites are companies that have online stores, anything form Best Buy to Amazon. Their average bounce rate is around 33.9% these days, although there’s a lot of variance here depending on how efficient the site is (Alibaba does very poorly, Amazon does very well, etc.).
- Landing Pages: Landing pages with one call to action tend to have a higher bounce rate, from 70% to 90%. This may be due to people rifling through different sites very quickly, or just due to a large amount of old sites and landing pages with horrible SEO.
- Content/News: These sites see a 40% to 60% bounce rate. It’s a bit higher because these sites get a high page ranking across search engines, but don’t necessarily have the information that users want.
That’s information you can start using to make changes and build expectations. For example, perhaps blog bounce rates are so high because people are used to quickly surfing over blog posts until they find something that interests them. If your blog bounce rates are lower than the average, that means your blog is effectively engaging readers instead of just mildly entertaining them. It’s also interesting to note how high landing page bounce rates are: Landing pages should be carefully constructed to draw people to a specific topic or product with good SEO. That high bounce rate means there are a whole lot of poor landing pages out there – and plenty of room for yours to shine!
For even more generalized statistic research, we suggest Conversion Voodoo’s piece on industry bounce rates, which takes a look at web stores, news sites, and more.
2. Head Over to Google
With a general introduction to bounce rates finished, it’s time to dig deeper into Google’s bounce rate benchmarking capabilities. If you aren’t already using the benchmarking features of Google Analytics, now is a great time to start – you can find benchmarking options in the Reporting tab, under Audience.
Google offers over 1,600 industry categories that you can pick for comparison. Only several benchmark stats are available for study, but this includes important site performance metrics including session duration, new sessions, and, of course, bounce rates. Set up your parameters and then take a look.
One of the advantages of this approach is that it allows you to customize the study to websites that are most like your own: You can add controls for traffic levels and even geographic location to make sure your comparisons are as apt as possible.
3. Pick Several Factors to Study Closely
You’ll be noticed that Google Analytics benchmarking also allows for comparing general channels (social, email, display, etc.) as well as devices (mobile, desktop) and location (mostly used for international studies, but still interesting). We encourage you to play around with these options and use all three to fuel your industry comparisons and find out just what a healthy bounce rate looks like for your company. And hey, why stop there? Take a look at a few other web performance statistics while you’re at it!
Look at Pages per Session: This is how many pages people view while they are on your website, easily found in Google Analytics. B2B companies should aim for 2-3 pages per visit, an indicator that people are staying around long enough to pay attention.
Beware Extra Low Bounce Rates: This usually doesn’t happen, because the internet has a certain amount of chaos built in. If you are seeing a bounce rate that’s lower than 20%, it’s time to take a look at your processes and see if anything is going wrong, like faulty tracking or odd actions that are counting as lengthy website visits.
Remember that Ads Matter: Great content and website layout are important, but remember that a major factor in bounce rates is the quality of advertisements. Annoying pop-ups or autoplay ads will increase bounces.
Be Careful of Bounce Rate Claims: When you see an average industry bounce rate, always investigate the source of the information. Some people make claims about bounce rates that simply aren’t true, or that are made up on the spot to sell something, or that are from a very small sample size that renders the data useless. Also keep in mind that bounce rates shift as the years go by, so bounce rate info from several years ago may not reflect where your industry is today.
Note: This post originally published in June 2016, this post has been updated to reflect current industry best practices as of August 2017.