If you run your own eCommerce store and have Google Analytics set up, you probably know your bounce rate—but do you know what this number is trying to tell you? While there is a lot that can be learned from analyzing your bounce rate, it can be a difficult metric to decipher and is often interpreted incorrectly.

Bounce Rate Explained

First, let’s clear the air and define bounce rate. According to Google Analytics, bounce rate refers to the percentage of single-page sessions. In other words, it’s the calculation of how many people visited your site and left before they had a second interaction with your page.

Google Analytics calculates the bounce rate by measuring the time of a visitor’s first arrival and if they are inactive on a website for more than 30 minutes, it counts as a bounce.

High Bounce Rate—Good or Bad?

If you have a high bounce rate, it could mean that you are attracting the wrong kinds of traffic to your site and they aren’t finding what they need there, causing them to bounce from your page.

However, it could also mean that you are attracting the right kind of traffic as well. Perhaps the visitor found exactly what they needed and then left your website. This may be the case when your bounce rate is high, but your Average Time on Page shows that your visitors are staying on that single page to read it.

Sure, they may not have explored other pages. But they did find what they were looking for and you succeeded in providing them relevant and useful content. For this reason, it’s important to analyze your bounce rate carefully.

Improving Your Bounce Rate

So what can you do when your bounce rate is high AND your Average Time on Page is close to zero? There are plenty of reasons why people may be leaving your page so quickly. Here are some reasons why visitors are bouncing from your page without reading the content and how you can fix them:

Slow Page Load

No one wants to wait for a page to load to find what they need. As you add new features and functionalities to your website, keep in mind that many of these things can make it slow to load. According to a report by KISSmetrics, 47 percent of consumers expect a web page to load in two seconds or less and 40 percent will abandon the website if it takes more than three seconds to load.

Bottom line—your site’s load time can make consumers give up on your online store before they even see what you have to offer. You can use the Cache Pro extension for Magento to help you manage your loading time with no technical assistance required.

Your Pop-Up Ads Are Obnoxious

If you are bombarding your visitors with annoying pop-up ads the moment they enter your site, you increase the risk of them hitting the back button. It isn’t a secret that pop-ups are hated by many visitors and detract from the user experience, which is precisely why Google already plans to crack down on annoying pop-up ads for mobile sites.

With that being said, pop-ups can still be highly effective for gathering email addresses and driving sales. If you suspect that your high bounce rate has to do with your pop-ups, you may simply need to change the wording or the timing of your ads.

You Are Attracting the Wrong Kind of Traffic to Your Site

We all want to drive massive amounts of traffic to our online stores, but high traffic and high bounce rates can indicate that you are driving the wrong kinds of traffic to your site. To fix this problem, you first need to take a close look at your Google Analytics account.

In Google Analytics, you can look at which traffic sources are bringing visitors to your site and what search terms they used to find your site. The wrong keywords can generate low quality traffic to your website and if you are paying for these keywords, this is going to significantly hurt your ROI.

Before you run all sorts of tests, take a good look at your target audience. The more you learn about them, the easier it will be to find keywords and content that meets your target audience’s expectations.

The Site Design is Unattractive

It’s a shame to see many eCommerce marketers go through all the trouble with PPC campaigns to drive traffic to their site, only for them to lead visitors to a terrible landing page. If your website is unattractive and/or difficult to navigate, web users are going to leave and your bounce rate will skyrocket.

The way to solve this issue is by split testing your website to see web designs and themes appeal to your visitors the most. With the Creare AB Testing (Split) Testing extension, you can split test Magento themes to see which ones are more likely to keep customers on your site.