Bounce Rates on Google Analytics

google analytics bounce rate pages exits ratesI was just discussing what Bounce Rates were in Google Analytics and thought this could be a potentially confusing term and would be helpful to blog about. I also work with WebTrends .

We have a client that has a site with us that had a high bounce rate and a high exit rate. (50% for some pages) Anything above 20% would be something worth looking into in my opinion, but the differences change depending on the site, product, sales process and design so everyone has their owne level of normal as a benchmark and you try and improve from there.

They wondered if this Bounce Rate was an issue, as many clients would.

The thing is, it may not be an issue to have a high Bounce Rate because if people land on a product description page and then click to buy (or in our case, apply) is this really bad?

Well the qualifier for a Bounce Rate is that they viewed that one page and left. This does not include someone clicking on a link on the page to buy/apply. That would be an exit. They would not have viewed any other page on the site or interacted (clicked) anything else either. This bounce would be from hitting the back button or clicking the x button on the browser.

Exits from the site are considered people who have viewed more than one page and finished their visit. They may click to apply/buy or they may x-out of the window or they may reload the home page. (just a few of many examples) One tricky thing is when someone gets a site that launches a new window for a page you click on. That is typically an exit and new site visit. 

So, is this good or bad? For this client I think it is ok, because they are very stringent about who they are looking to hire and when people see the extensive requirements I am pretty sure most people would realize whether they had a shot at the job or not very quickly and either click forwards in the path to apply (on an Applicant Tracking System application site, (don’t ask, too many sites linked with too many processes)) or back out. It is very straight forward and very few other options are on the page.

How do you reduce bounce rates?

I never hear people talk about strategies to get more qualified traffic to these pages, I just hear about providing more info on the page to help them convert. That is a great strategy and if you can link exact search terms to the appropriate products/jobs with a page designed for one clear desired action then you are doing well. If you can suggest other related alternatives on the same page, maybe on the right sidebar, you are doing even better. If you have an email sign-up that says, not what you are looking for? Sign up here and we’ll email you when new ones come up. Great. But if you have a lot of traffic bouncing even then, you may want to look at the source. What words are your pages optimized for and why do those keywords not match what you’re providing or asking people to do? Maybe search is also not the right medium to find people based on the Google Insights search volume for that term and you are getting similar searches/clicks but not for what you offer. Maybe reel in the search efforts and go for more qualified means of finding these specific people like email, targeted display ads (by content/interest, behavior or location) or offline communication. (gasp!)

Remember Google Analytics (or any analytics package) is not just about a bunch of numbers and bunk. If you can’t figure out what the human behavior is behind the numbers or what the actual user/customer wants they don’t mean much of anything except that your site is up and running.

Google Search Box on the Search Results Page Sucks – Site Search

google search box, web results sucksI noticed this search box on the Google search results page beneath the Amazon.com listing a few weeks ago and thought, cool. Lets see if it gets me past the home page amazon and to the search results page on Amazon.com. It would take me one step closer to what I am looking for on this site if it worked.

But instead it just brought me a list of pages on Amazon while still being in Google’s search results. YUCK! That sucks. I don’t want to stay on Google longer, I want to get to the book/dvd/whatever I am looking for and it’s on Amazon. This added another step in my process and I hate when sites do that for profit. It’s like a big interstitial ad that interrupts your log-in process on Monster or those stupid interstitial on Forbes articles. It is bad usability and bad user experience and people should complain about it so they remove this feature. (and of course don’t use the feature because if they see usage numbers in their stats they will think people like it and keep it)

It doesn’t surprise me that Google would want to keep you on their site longer so they can serve adwords against the results and possibly distract you away from what you originally intended to do or find but what I was surprised about  was that they thought they were better about finding products/pages on amazon than amazon itself. And that is a self centered conceited view to think you know Amazon’s business better than they do and to use that as justification to poach their traffic and users. Ouch.

I think Google also may be looking at this new search box in the search results as a way to get more into vertical search using their main search box as a starting point for picking your vertical and then the second search box to search within the site or specific vertical you choose. Google probably thinks they are prime for this kind of use because they already index everything and just need to figure out a hierarchical interface to display it all and make the difference in level of detail in the results visual. Then they can conquer the world…muhahaha…The only problem with that idea is that I don’t know an real live humans that like or look for vertical search. The sites that create content around a vertical are brands and have a real product that cost money to produce so they aren’t just web companies that crawl, slurp, scrape and steal other people’s original content and display it with advertising along site like Google.

So, overall I give this search box in the search results change a thumbs down, grade F for bad user experience keeping people away from what they want longer while displaying more ads and bad traffic poaching from genuine product sites. Google should remove this feature as it does no one any good and will deteriorate their relationship with real publishing and product sites over time. And if Google thinks they can play hardball and corner companies into accepting this, think again. I am sure there are some legal eagles out there that will be happy to bring this to court.

Why ATT High Speed DSL Sucks

Apparently this is turning into a rant blog this week. I am trying to get my parents set up with DSL service within the Chicago metropolitan area and AT&T came back with the message that the service is not available in the area. How nuts is that? ATT sends us a million direct mail offers for DSL and then tell us it’s not available in our area? Its a suburb with 50,000 people and a subdivision with 250 homes and they say DSL is not available in the area. Ugh. It’s like they don’t even want our money.

So, after that first call from some guy saying it just isn’t available in the area I called the 800 number and got someone who also said it is not available in our area (big suprise) and I asked who I had to talk to about finding out why. She had to call 3 other people before anyone knew anything other than what their computer screen told them to say, and then finally we found the denial of service was because of a “shortage of facilities” meaning that we were the last ones to sign up and the bandwith was all taken. So, we put in an engineering ticket to see if they can fix this or if it still gets denied. Then I will have to call back again and get someone to submit more tickets to see if they can get this resolved. It would be ridiculous to have dial up when you want DSL and we can’t get cable because the line was cut accidentally during some yard work many years ago.

You would think that if service wasn’t available because of a shortage of facilities they wouldn’t deny it, they would put it on hold until they could build out the system to accommodate it. I don’t mind waiting a few weeks for them to add more capacity I just don’t believe that no is the appropriate answer when customers are there with money in hand ready to buy. And when I have to work this hard to get something this basic, why is their customer service system so inept at getting orders complete? It’s turning away revenue. Why is this an ok business practice when it pisses off the company and the customer?

The U.S. Mortgage & Lender Mess

The mortgage and lending crash just keeps getting worse. I don’t know which is worse, the people not reading the contracts they sign and not understanding the terms involved with a baloon payment or adjustable rate or the banks and financial companies offering such bad manipulative terms. It seems like no one really did any research before buying these properties and now they are all foreclosing. I was just reading that the number of forclosures has doubled in the past 12 months for the month of September year over year. Yikces! And they say this isn’t the last of it. How many people are going to be loosing their homes and foreclosed on at Christmas and over the holidays? This is such a disaster for this country as a whole and a little embarassing to the rest of the world. Here we are suposedly the most wealthy nation in the world and people are loosing their homes. It’s sad and it’s the result of people not doing adequate research and getting bad mortgage advice from predatory lenders. Do yourself a favor and stay renting until you have 20% to put down as a down payment on a home and then do your research and go with a lender who has lent to a friend who has not had any problems with their mortgage and has had it for more than 5 years.

Wake Up WalMart – Chinese food product recall update

I just got this information in an email from Wake Up WalMart and wanted to pass it along because more people should know about what lengths WalMart will go to in order to make more profit. Nothing is sacred, so don’t spend your money there if you want to have any control over our U.S. Economy at all:

Wal-Mart is the #1 importer of Chinese goods. So, after the spree of high-profile recalls and outright bans on dangerous Chinese products, wouldn’t it be logical for Wal-Mart to take the offensive against unsafe imported goods? Shouldn’t Wal-Mart stand up for the safety of American consumers?

Wouldn’t you?

The truth is that Wal-Mart is putting profits over people – again – by blocking laws requiring disclosure of where food comes from. Instead of looking out for consumer safety, Wal-Mart is watching its own bottom line.

That’s why we put together a new ad to expose the truth about Wal-Mart and China.

Click here to watch our new ad and send it to five friends:

http://www.wakeupwalmart.com/feature/foodsafety

Even among nations, Wal-Mart is China’s sixth largest trading partner: it buys more Chinese goods than industrial giants like Germany and Britain. This gives Wal-Mart the power to demand safer products from its Chinese suppliers. Unfortunately, it has demanded nothing more than lower prices, and has tried to cover up the consequences of its race to the bottom.

As consumers, we have the right to know that the products we buy are safe. Don’t let irresponsible corporations like Wal-Mart cut us out of the loop. Please watch our new ad today, and send it to five friends:

http://www.wakeupwalmart.com/feature/foodsafety

The more people learn the truth about Wal-Mart, the more public pressure grows for Wal-Mart to change.

You – together with more than 402,000 fellow supporters of WakeUpWalMart.com – have the power to make Wal-Mart put people first.

Amidst seemingly endless recalls of dangerous products, Wal-Mart has tried to keep American consumers in the dark.

Let’s shine a light.

http://www.wakeupwalmart.com/feature/foodsafety

Thanks for all that you do,

The Team
WakeUpWalMart.com

Disturbing Trend

I have noticed this trend with cell phones for a few months now. People who have their phone on speaker and are listening to music in a public place or s conversation that seems like they aren’t participating at all in, just listening. It’s weird. First off they usually do this in some public place like the train or a shopping checkout line where people can’t get away from you to avoid this annoyance. And it is annoying. The second weird thing is that the sound qualit is awful, scratchy, choppy, distorted and they are still listening to these song clips over and over again. Are these the ring tones? Do these people know that’s not what ring tones are for? The worst part about this is that these people seem to be oblivious that they are seriously pissing off everyone around them and that it is wrong to do anything like that in a public place that causes that much noise pollution. I thought we were past this kind of a trend when boom boxes went out of style and people started carrying walkmans. When and how can we evolve to the next thing so these people who blast things from their cell phones for their own entertainment will stop?

Fight WalMart Killing America

I am pretty anti-walmart. I never shop there, and the few times I have been there I have been pretty dissapointed in the store. But what is more dissapointing is how they hurt the American Economy by putting small businesses out of business, killing the economy in small towns, underpaying and underinsuring their workers while over working them, and buying the vast majority of their goods from China. I realize now that this is not just a WalMart phenomenon. Even the well liked Target buys a lot from China. So does every store you can think of. If I tried to not buy anything from china, I wouldn’t have anything to buy. I have been looking at labels more and putting stuff back that has the made in China mark on it, but it is hard. Its cheap and affordable and WalMart knows that this is the drug that americans are addicted to; Cheap Stuff. So in favor of our own economy and job in the USA, we should try and buy less form China and reduce the urge to buy lots of stuff. And here is a good site about the walmart fight: http://www.wakeupwalmart.com/ Check it out and sign up on their email list for updates.