Bounce rate is best used as a supplemental metric and not as a main Key Performance Indicator (KPI). Why? First, because someone may look at your page, find exactly the information they need, and then leave. This would count as a bounce even though the page met the user’s needs. They might even come back later, having thought about the information, and become a paying customer.
Secondly, someone may accidentally click on a link to your page, and surf away within one second. This would count as a bounce, but does that mean your page should change? No. They weren’t going to stay on your page, no matter how fabulous the design or content is on your page.
So what KPI might you add to your tool kit to find out if your page engages users?
Try engagement rate. Set up an event to fire after 5 seconds, if a user stays more than 5 seconds, it should count as an engagement with your site. Then look at the percent of these engaged users who visited this page over total users of this page. You can compare your pages’ engagement rates to one another to get more of an idea of which pages might need design/functionality improvements.
5 seconds is enough time to read 18 words or recognize 1000's of "pieces of visual information." It also allows 1-3 seconds load time while still requiring another 2 seconds of on page time, still enough to read 7 words. (Most major sites try to stay under 3 seconds load time as they know that as page load time goes from one second to three seconds, the probability of the user leaving increases by 32%.)
A click, scroll, or visit to another page on on the site can also count as an engagement.
Engagement rate using all of the above will be lower than your bounce rate because you will not be counting people who got something out of your page and then left, as a bounce. Then you can gauge the true success of the page and even its paid marketing source.
Happy analyzing! For more information on what I do, please visit: LaurenMarieOwen.com.
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