Just when it had seemed like a really good week

Yesterday I explained how improving your website’s visitor experience can make your “bounce rate” worse, and for that reason alone, it’s a measurement I’d ignore under most circumstances. Here’s another reason why better marketing can mean worse bounce rate. Suppose you get 40 visitors a day to your website, and 20 of them (50%) “bounce”. Now, let’s say you run a new promotional initiative …an email campaign, perhaps. You know that email campaigns bring in a lot of visitors, but only a small proportion ever ‘convert’ into enquiries, as your offers are deliberately attractive but vague; however, it’s still a cost-effective exercise. So you send out your email, and within a few hours you’ve generated 5 enquiries. Behind the scenes, however, what happened was that 100 recipients clicked through to the website, 80 of them thought “oh, that thing again” and left, 15 looked around a bit but decided not to pursue the matter, and 5 decided to make your day. Later on, you decide to look at your “bounce rate” for the site. Last week you had a bounce rate of 50%. This week you had a bounce rate of 60% (I’ll leave you to do the maths). Which is odd, because the 5 enquiries you remember getting on Wednesday had made it seem like a really good week. Why are you getting these confusing signals? The answer is because you’re looking at dangerous measurements which are too easy to misinterpret.

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