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Bounce rate: what it is and how to improve it

Whenever visitors suddenly abandon your website, they leave you with unanswered questions: why did they bounce? And what could you have done differently? 

Whether they can’t find what they’re looking for or just don’t like what they see, unlocking the secrets to keeping visitors on your website longer begins with one essential metric: bounce rate.


Your site’s bounce rate helps you pinpoint where to focus your digital and content marketing efforts, and when combined with qualitative behavior analytics, it enables you to understand what is and isn’t working on your website, so you can increase your page visits and user engagement alike.

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What is bounce rate?

Your website’s bounce rate is the percentage of user sessions that begin and end on the same page of your site. 

One bounce rate example is when a visitor lands on a certain page and leaves soon after without any interaction—like clicking on a call-to-action (CTA) or navigating to another page. That’s a bounce and it increases your website’s bounce rate.

Understand what people do on your site and get the insights you need to evaluate and improve your bounce rates.

How to calculate your bounce rates

To determine a page’s bounce rate, divide your number of bounces (also known as unengaged single-page sessions) by your number of total sessions.

For example, if 100 users land on your ecommerce site’s homepage (total sessions) and five of them exit without interacting or navigating further through your site (single-page sessions), your homepage’s bounce rate is 5%.

Bounce rate = single-page sessions / total sessions

Remember, bounce rates are just one piece of the puzzle of your website’s performance. Take a glance at other metrics—like time on site, engagement rate, and conversion rate—and include qualitative data, such as user behavior, in your analysis to understand how visitors interact with your site—and why.

❗How Google Analytics calculates bounce rates

In Google Analytics 4 (GA4), bounce rate has been redefined as a metric that measures the percentage of unengaged sessions on your website or app. 

For a session to be considered engaged, it has to last longer than 10 seconds, trigger a conversion event, or include a second pageview or screenview. Anything less than that is considered a bounce. 

To learn more about how GA4 calculates bounce rate, find out what that means (or doesn’t mean) for your website, and how to investigate a higher bounce rate, read the bounces and bounce rate entry in our Google Analytics glossary

What is a good bounce rate?

Typically, a bounce rate of 40% or lower is considered good, while anything above 55% is deemed high and may signal a need to address whatever is not currently working for your visitors.

While you want your bounce rate to be on the low end, it’s important to remember that what that looks like depends on your industry. Check out this recent Databox report for benchmarks and don’t forget to take into account other factors—like seasonality, page type, or traffic source. 

That way, you’ll know that the numbers you’re seeing are objectively good or bad, according to your industry’s standards.

#Sample average bounce rates, courtesy of Databox
Sample average bounce rates, courtesy of Databox

How to make sense of your bounce rate

Now you know what a high bounce rate is. But what can you actually do about it?

A high or low bounce rate only tells you that a certain number of visitors landed on your web page and then left the site without going any further. But it doesn't tell you how someone interacted with your page or why they chose to leave.

You may have issues with the user experience, site content, user engagement, or page layout that need investigating. Or it could mean that your landing page is irrelevant or confusing to visitors. 

You could keep guessing or you could take practical steps to see what’s behind your high bounce rates and uncover patterns that show you how to fix the problem.

If you want to know how and why users interact with individual pages, combine data from Google Analytics and user behavior analytics tools:

  • Use GA4 to pinpoint your pages with the highest bounce rates

  • Use heatmaps to reveal what visitors interact with on that specific page

  • Collect customer feedback with exit-intent surveys right before visitors leave your site

  • Watch what visitors do before bouncing with session recordings

  • Connect the dots between the numbers in GA4 and actual user behavior with our Hotjar and Google Analytics integration

There's no one-size-fits-all solution to reduce bounce rates. But knowing what they are and how they can inform your CRO strategy helps you ensure your website's success.

Go beyond the basics with Hotjar

Understand what people do on your site and get the insights you need to evaluate and improve your bounce rates.

FAQs about bounce rate