What is a good bounce rate for PPC?

Self managing your PPC? Beacon agency offers advice on bounce rates for PPC advertisers

As an online advertiser, it’s likely that at some point you’ve contemplated what a good bounce rate would be for your pay-per-click [PPC] ads.

In the world of digital marketing, a ‘bounce’ is someone who visits only one page on your website without clicking anywhere else, and ‘bounce rate’ is calculated from the number of total visitors versus those who ‘bounced’.

For example, if you have 100 visitors to the website and 10 leave without visiting other pages, you are left with a bounce rate of 10%.

While doing a Google search to discover what a good bounce rate is might not deliver the most helpful results, there is a good reason for this, but the answer is not very clear-cut and there are a number of important factors to consider.

Here, we outline the ways that you can evaluate your PPC campaign bounce rate, regardless of whether your focus is on e-commerce or on business-to-business [B2B].

Why do people bounce?

There are many reasons why a potential visitor to your website may not convert to a sale and therefore contribute to a high bounce rate for your PPC ads.

One, for example, is having slow page loading speeds, meaning visitors are considerably less likely to wait and are more likely to look elsewhere for the information they seek.

Similarly, poor page design and layout can make finding the right area of the website difficult and dissuade visitors from progressing further.

A lack of a call-to-action [CTA], or having too many different CTAs, can mean there is no clear route for visitors to take to another page, while having no persuasive copy on the landing page will likely fail to hook readers and encourage them to discover other areas of the site.

Assessing bounce rate is one of the best ways to gauge how many bounces you are receiving, so it is crucial to understand the difference between a good and a bad rate.

A good bounce rate

According to e-commerce analytics firm, Littledata, which surveyed 1,495 sites in May 2020, the average bounce rate from Google Ads on a desktop device is 43.5%.

While this helps give marketers a rough idea of what to expect when it comes to bounce rate, the following percentages, outlined by Brad Geddes, writing for Search Engine Land, provide a clearer evaluation of how the percentages stack up.

• 20% or less – ‘amazing’
• 20 to 30% – ‘fantastic’
• 30 to 60% – ‘fairly common’
• 60 to 70% – ‘common for keywords that are ambiguous’
• 70% or higher – ‘something needs to be fixed’

In order to fully understand the bounce rate for your PPC ads, however, it is necessary to segment your campaigns.

Segmenting campaigns

By using separate goals and evaluation metrics for search versus display campaigns, you can begin to analyse campaigns in a more meaningful way.

Generally, paid search will usually have a lower bounce rate than your display ad traffic, due to the campaigns capturing users who are actively looking for what you are selling or promoting.

It is not uncommon for visitors coming via the Google Display Network to produce a high bounce rate, as they are often browsing different sites and may not be ready to buy when they click on an ad.

Higher bounce rates on display ads can also include people who have clicked on an advert in error.

As visitors from a Google Search ad are specifically looking for a solution to their problem, they are more likely to engage with your landing page content and lead to a conversion.

The shopping referral bounce rate, while high, may also not be an issue, as people who have landed on a product page may be either adding to their basket and checking out or going back to Google to look at the other search results.

Device usage is key

Bounce rates for PPC can also be affected by which device is being used by the visitor to access your website.

Mobile bounce rates are often higher compared with desktop/laptop or tablets because mobile users are often looking at content in bite-sized chunks.

As a result, websites with high volumes of mobile users often have a higher bounce rate, while slower site speeds or difficult mobile navigation can drive them even higher, so it is vital to optimise your site for mobile browsing – or use a different version altogether for mobile e-commerce.

High bounce rates can hide ad fraud

A high bounce rate can also be an indication that you have fallen victim to click fraud, which occurs when a PPC ad is clicked on by a bot created with malicious intent – so as to exhaust a business’ digital marketing budget.

While click fraud first came to light in 2005, when it became the subject of several major court cases, it has continued to grow over time and is now bigger in revenue terms for scammers than credit card fraud.

Other signs that click fraud has taken place in your campaigns include traffic without engagement metrics and a disparity in the amount of clicks being reported.

Carrying out a weekly referrer review to determine where your website traffic is coming from is a great way to identify one-offs or unusual traffic spikes with abnormally high bounce rates.

Auditing your ad campaigns and analysing the data for unusual drops in online engagement, or spikes in metrics, is also helpful for assessing if your ad spend is making the right impact – and reaching actual people rather than bots.

In conclusion

While bounce rates may not be a primary metric for paid search advertisers, they should be considered if campaigns aren’t performing as expected.

Bounce rates are important, especially in e-commerce with three-page conversions to product purchase, so when someone bounces off the landing page, you will lose a potential sale.

Anything you can do to decrease your bounce rate therefore means the number of visitors you can convert to sales is sure to grow.