This question was asked in Web Analytics Demystified forum. I answered there, but also here so you get the benefit of the booty!
What is bounce rate?
A bounce rate or single page access is where someone arrives at your website (from whatever source) and then leaves without taking any action, be that clicking a link, buying a product, adding to the cart whatever. Nothing. They basically leave without doing anything, in other words they arrive and bounce away.
What is an average bounce rate?
The question was posed;
“What’s an acceptable bounce rate? I know the question
sounds too vague but I just want a number to measure
our own bounce rates against acceptable industry
metrics.I know that worldwide ecommerce conversion rate is
about 2.5% so that’s what we measure our own
conversion rate against for reference purposes.”
Firstly this is highly dependent on the type of site you’re running.
I feel it’s not possible to call as an industry standard as even among similar kind of sites there are just too many variables. It’s even harder I would suggest than conversion rates which should also be taken with a huge pinch of salt. I can however give you some numbers based on our experience.
Retail sites driving well targeted traffic 20-40% bounce. (One vendor told us anything above 33% should be a flag)
Simple landing pages (with one call to action such as add to cart) I’ve seen bounce at a much higher rate, anywhere from 70-90%.
Content websites with high search visibility (often for irrelevant terms) can bounce at 40-60%.
Portals (MSN, Yahoo groups etc) have much lower bounce rates in our experience 10-30%.
Service sites (self service or FAQ sites) again usually lower 10-30%.
Lead generation (services for sale) 30-50%.
I must stress that all the above figures are based purely on our own experience after working with clients. I wouldn’t advise you base an optimization model around these numbers. We advise that when forming a benchmark, that you do it internally. Take the average bounce rate over a given period on your current site. You need to have at least 1000 entries coming from normal sources to get reasonably actionable data.
Measure what the average bounce rate is and then work to get that down.