Publishers rely on various metrics to estimate the strength and marketability of the site and ad inventory. While publishers may weigh these metrics otherwise, there’s absolutely no mistake that many of them are important and should be carefully monitored and optimized. One of these metrics is the bounce rate. To understand the bounce rate, let’s first understand some of the related terms.
The bounce is a session where just a single page was visited. It’s usually brought on by a variety of factors, including page load time, browser compatibility, irrelevant content, and many more. A bounce is not necessarily bad. Some websites are expected to have a high bounce rate. This includes sites which are mostly marketing-based (single vertical landing page) or sites that dynamically load content without refreshing the page via AJAX (stock market tickers or weather bulletins with real time updates). Furthermore, there may also be specific site sections which will have an extraordinarily significant bounce rate.
Contact pages — user exits after leaving feedback.
Verification pages — by their mails, users are often directed to access a specific page to verify their accounts. After verification of the account, they don’t generally have to do anything on the exact same page.
Wiki or self-service pages — when people have solved their issue after following the manual, they will typically exit straight away.
Here are some ways a session can be regarded as one page:
The back button was pressed after coming on the page.
The browser has been closed, or app was terminated (in some tech, browser tab closing is counted)
A new URL was encoded and obtained through the address bar.
User remained on the page before the session length defined (usually 30 minutes)
The user clicked on a hyperlink that directed them to an outside site.
The user landed on another page on the same website, and Google Analytics was misconfigured, i.e., a user visited Page A with working Analytics monitoring and clicked a link which led them to Page B, which had a misconfigured monitoring code. This would still count as a bounce.
Now that we know what a bounce is and when it’s determined, we can readily define the bounce rate. The bounce rate is calculated as the number of single page sessions divided by the total number of sessions. By way of instance, if your site listed 5,000 single page sessions in a day with 75,000 total sessions, the bounce rate would be 0.0667 or 6.67%.
HOW DOES IT AFFECT PUBLISHERS?
The bounce rate has many implications for publishers, and every sort of site is affected differently. Here are some of the common ones:
Lesser valuation or site ranking
The bounce rate is a significant factor when determining a site’s value. Sites that have a ranking, SEO, or valuation tools such as Ahrefs, Majestic, Moz, Alexa all factor in bounce rate directly or indirectly in their calculations. A good Alexa ranking, in particular, is highly sought after and could find a valuable site partnership if well-maintained.
On occasion, the bounce rate may also affect a site’s Google search ranking. Google does not explicitly say that it uses the Analytics bounce rate metric in rank search pages. It certainly should not because website engagement isn’t solely dependent on the bounce rate. However, there are a few cases where we can assume the bounce rate would affect rankings. For instance, If your site is experiencing a high bounce rate for a prolonged period caused by tech issues, your pages which were previously rated high would slowly be deranked as a result of crawlers not having the ability to attain your sitemaps or post pages.
Ad monetization is a standard revenue stream for most sites. With a high bounce rate, sites will likely get fewer approvals from demand partners since the primary objective of advertisers is getting their ads the maximum exposure. If a site gets accepted by specific networks, the CPM or CPC rates would likely be poor. More often than not, the partnership would not last long.
Additionally, sites with high bounce may also have an inversely proportional CTR(clickthrough rate). What this signifies is that as the bounce rate goes higher, CTR also goes lower. This relationship could be explained if one looks at it from a visitor perspective. If the site ranks high for some keywords in Google, but the visitors don’t find the content relevant, they will likely press the back button and go to the next result, hence a bounce. Now how does this relate to ad monetization? Yes, the site can generate ad impressions for all users that found that irrelevant content. However, it’s also very probable that those visitors didn’t give the ads any second thought, given that the content itself wasn’t what they were searching for. This might not be the case for all sites, however.
These are simply some of the examples of how the bounce rate could affect ad monetization.
To conclude, the bounce rate is an important metric, but also rather broad. To ensure your efforts are maximized, make certain to do granular reporting via page or channel segmentation. Besides that, digging in the other Google Analytics sections may also shed some light.