Social Media Web Links & Bounce Rates | SEO Big Red Digital
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Social Media Web Links & Bounce Rates

Category: SEO
Author: Big Red Digital

Has the continued rise of Social Media contributed to higher website bounce rates?

You'll recognise the scenario: you're scanning your timeline watching videos of cats and dogs acting like humans, skimming through posts from friends offering unsolicited political sway, looking cool on a night out or showcasing their prowess in the kitchen with a fuzzy shot of their scrambled eggs on toast. Then you come across a link to an article on a website that piques your interest. You tap through to have a look using the App's built-in browser. Whilst reading the article you are presented with some other links to similar articles or products that may be of interest and think about checking one of them out... But wait... There's that little blue bar with 'Back To Facebook...' at the top of the screen to remind you that only a few moments ago you were checking your updates. You don't want to miss anything, so you tap back to continue where you left off. Sound familiar?

We wanted to see how things have changed in recent years with so much online activity happening on social media. Here is what we found.

Website Bounce Rates

What is a Bounce Rate Anyway?

If you're reading this article then you’ve probably heard the phrase “Bounce Rate” when talking about your website performance - you can skip to the next paragraph if that is the case. Still here? Ok, it's the percentage of visitors who immediately navigate away from the site after viewing just a single page. The lower the bounce rate, the more engaging your site... theoretically.

Google Analytics provides useful information and data regarding your website's traffic and they also break down where that traffic comes from. When you view your top level stats you will see the overall Bounce Rate for your site.

However, you need to look a little further to see the full picture. Web traffic may be acquired from a number of different sources such as Organic Search, Paid Advertising, Email Campaigns, Referrals (from other sites) and increasingly, Social Media. The bounce rate attributed to each of these channels can vary quite significantly.

It may be alarming to see a much higher bounce rate for Social or Paid traffic than organic, however it need not be something to be overly concerned about. When you think about it, it stands to reason that this kind of traffic should have a higher bounce rate since people are given exactly what they want - without having to browse around your site for it.

Therefore, it is better to measure your bounce rates by taking into account:

a) the source of the traffic
b) the type of content, and
c) your industry standard.

What is an acceptable bounce rate?

It varies according to the above 3 factors of course, however, traffic from social Media Bounce rates seem to average around 15-20% higher than organic traffic. This can be, on the face of it, quite disappointing. However when you consider how visitors are landing on your page when trawling through interesting articles or via social media links it starts to make sense and you can then take steps to optimise this form of engagement and make improvements.

Here are some bounce rate averages for common types of websites:

    25% – 50% for e-commerce and retail websites
    30% – 60% for B2B websites
    35% – 60% for lead generation websites
    35% – 60% for non-ecommerce content websites
    60% – 90% for landing pages
    65% – 90% for news and event based sites

From our experience and estimations, these numbers are around 10 to 15% higher than they were 5 years ago. A very significant change.

It shows that when the consumer is ‘living in their feed’ on Facebook (or any other Social Media platform with web links), they are focused in on it. They may tap on a link out of interest or curiosity, but have no real desire to spend time looking around a whole website. However, the up-side is that they have now seen your website, your brand and even read some of your content. If the experience has been a pleasant one then it may well register for a more rewarding visit at a later date (or link).

Things to remember

• Social Media & Paid Traffic Bounce Bates are always likely to be higher than organic
• Social media links are a great way to spread brand awareness
• Update page content regularly and post new links to keep traffic flowing
• Use sensible retention tactics on landing pages to tempt users into viewing more content (blazingly loud popups that people cannot close doesn't count as being sensible here)
• Ensure that your pages load quickly as people are impatient and expect fast load times
• Continually strive for improvements in bounce rate across all sources of traffic.

Data Sources: Google Analytics, Wikipedia, Customdialabs, Kissmetrics.

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