What Bounce Rate and Click-through Rate Tell You - and Can’t Tell You - About Your Website Marketing

Among the many things that a website owner needs to keep track of, two of the most important parameters are the bounce rate and the clickthrough rate. Although these two terms have become an integral part of common web-development parlance, a considerable number of website owners and developers do not enjoy a clear comprehension of this subject. So, in order to help the website founders and administrators gain a better understanding of these phrases and figures, here are the basics.

What do ‘bounce rate’ and ‘clickthrough rate’ mean?

Bounce rate is simple enough; it’s the percentage of people who leave a website after visiting only the page they entered from. So, if the bounce rate for the homepage of your site shows up as 70%, it basically means that for every 100 people who visit the homepage, 70 people leave without visiting any other pages on your site.

Clickthrough rate, or CTR, gives you the percentage of people who actually clicked on your online pay-per-click ad to arrive at your site. For example, if the CTR stands at, say 33%, it means that for every 100 people who viewed your ad, 33 people clicked on it.

What do these figures mean?

Let’s begin with the bounce rate. By common logic, the lower the bounce rate, the more effectively your content is reaching your audience. Isn’t it?

Well, that’s true in most cases, although there some exceptions. Survey forms, pages that redirect viewers to product sales hosted on another domain, and pay-per-click ad banners are all examples of pages that have a bounce rate of nearly 100%, but are reaching the target audience anyway.

In the case of normal web pages, however, a higher bounce rate customarily signifies that your content is not making its way to the target audience as effectively as you would like it to.

What is an ideal clickthrough rates?

Moving on to clickthrough rates, let’s hazard a guess at what would be considered ideal. Common sense suggests that a higher clickthrough rate would be better, because that would mean that more people are clicking on your PPC ads, right? The answer, however, is not so unequivocal. While the CTR measures the percentage of people who click the ad, it’s the conversion rate (that is, the rate of views that actually convert to sales) that matters. And a high CTR is, consequently, neither a good sign nor a bad one.

To put things into a clearer perspective, having a low CTR does not automatically mean that your content is not making its way to the target audience.

The low CTR could actually be a consequence of only qualified and well-informed people clicking through your ad. On the flip side, a high CTR does not unquestionably mean that your announcements are reaching the right viewers, because curiosity clicks (that result in no real sales) often contribute to high clickthrough rates.

Bounce rate and clickthrough rate are great measures for the success of your online advertising and your site as a whole; but they’re just the beginning. Understanding what these rates mean, and what they do and do not imply, is a vital part of knowing when you need to change things, and when you need to keep going with your strategy.



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