Your bounce rate is terrible, you can’t figure out what is going on. People land and people just leave, it’s like you’re Shrek. This is all too common of a problem and marketing and merchandising folks are left pondering what they are doing wrong. There are countless sites out there that talk about how to lower your bounce rate, but all too often they are top 10 easiest things to do, which often aren’t the best and overlook some technical things first. Before you worry about content, you need to first make sure the number is accurate. Here are a few pitfalls that will start you with bad data to begin with. Once you check these then it’s the fun stuff:
- Check your traffic sources by bounce, all too often you are attracting terrible traffic for no reason – worse is if it is paid traffic. Sometimes goals are misaligned, Digital Marketing is tasked with increasing traffic, but more bad traffic isn’t good. It’s like trying to make a profit on volume of unprofitable sales.
- Check your tracking tags. I’ve seen many sites mess up their tags and on a click from one page to another a complete new GA session is started. The best way to check this is using the GA Analytics Debugger.
- Check how you are handling a ‘login’ link on your page. When I mentioned this blog, I was told this morning that my own team had previously counted a ‘login’ as a bounce as it left the .com domain and went to a .net domain, and tracking codes were different.
- Much like the ‘login’, many have their blog as a subdomain and not a folder, in this case you could be counting a bounce depending on how you have your tracking set up and properties in GA.
Assuming you don’t have anything fundamentally wrong with your traffic and the traffic itself is valid, now is where the fun begins. You are just not that exciting, either your page is loading slow or your design just isn’t appealing. Those are tough to fix quickly, but what you can fix is taking the top landing pages and curating them and making them awesome. This is where our tools come into play, we allow merchandisers to merchandise their pages and get the right product in front of the right person at the right time, we call it Merchandising Superpowers.
Imagine you land on a product grid from a Google ad, the ad was obviously exciting enough to click but when you land on the page the grid is just flat out wrong. You had searched for ‘sundress’ but you landed on a page of ‘dresses’ and they were not at all what you were looking for, you wanted sundresses. This is where merchandising and marketing must talk, the ad’s destination URL should be a curated page that matches the ad. You can curate product grids, setup redirects and build custom landing pages for all your top traffic. This is especially important in the top traffic that is the lowest converting. So many sites will review their top 100 searches and set up redirects and merchandise the results pages. That is awesome, but are you doing that for the top 100 external searches? Are you doing that for links from your emails that are dropping in on some general product grid and not something curated and special for that group? Reviewing all referring links and making sure that the traffic is landing on pages that are specific to those people is the best way to lower bounce and increase conversions.
(If you made it this far you are about to get the golden nugget and the single coolest idea ever.)
Others have found creative ways to lower their bounce rate on their PLP pages from external ads. The best strategy I’ve seen is when you search for a broad term like ‘Nike shoes’, and you click the PLA and land on the company’s site, they don’t direct you to a traditional PDP page of the show you clicked on. Instead, they have a hybrid PDP/PLP page. So imagine the product you saw in the PLA is at the top like a mini-PDP and then below it is the PLP grid. You see, the logic here is that the ad might not have been exactly what you were looking for and instead of you going back to Google to search again, the grid displays alternatives right below. When you go only to a PDP from an ad, you are causing someone to back out and search on Google again. Stop them leaving and you are more likely to convert them.
I’m sure there are others out there doing creative things and hopefully they aren’t just to lower the metric in GA. Afterall, it is simple to get a lower number by counting something as a ‘page view’ and lowering your bounce rate, but a lower bounce rate and the same conversion rate is just a complete waste of time, you need to be lowering bounce rates while seeing conversion rates increase.