Web Analytics and Email: Bounce Rates

One thing I’ve learned about web analytics – the numbers don’t always speak for themselves. There are so many different reports to look at that without some guidance at times, you might feel a little dizzy. But taking some time to install an Analytics package (some are free) and determining which reports are useful to you can pay off in a big way. Now, I’m no expert when it comes to analytics. But from experience, I know the fundamentals. And I’d like to share with you a few things to look for when it comes to something I know quite a bit more about: email marketing. Let’s start today with one of the more basic and easy to understand metrics: Bounce Rate.

mag_glass_pie_chart.pngOne thing I’ve learned about web analytics – the numbers don’t always speak for themselves. There are so many different reports to look at that without some guidance at times, you might feel a little dizzy.

But taking some time to install an Analytics package (some are free) and determining which reports are useful to you can pay off in a big way.


Now, I’m no expert when it comes to analytics. But from experience, I know the fundamentals. And I’d like to share with you a few things to look for when it comes to something I know quite a bit more about: email marketing.

Let’s start today with one of the more basic and easy to understand metrics: Bounce Rate.

Where to find it:

When you open up or log into your analytics software, from the main menu you should find an menu option to review the pages on your website. We use Google Analytics, and it’s found under “Content”.

What it tells you:

How many visitors enter your site at a given page, then leave without viewing another.

“Bounce rate” can also refer to the rate at which email messages are returned as undeliverable. Today, we’re focusing on web analytics, however.

What to do with the information:

There are two lenses to look through when you’re reviewing the bounce rates for your most popular pages: the traffic that arrives through search engines, blog links, and other web based mediums, and the type that comes from links in your email campaigns.

You can automatically track and segment traffic that comes through search engines, referring sites, etc. ( the web ).

To track traffic originating from your email, you may need to create special tracking links to use in your email. Use Google’s URL builder if you’re using Google Analytics, or check the documentation of your analytics package if you’re using another.

Web Traffic

Review metrics for some of the more popular pages on your site. How do the bounce rates compare? More than others, which ones tend to stop new, oncoming traffic dead in its tracks? The higher the bounce rate, the less optimal it is performing.

Remember that virtually every page on your site has the potential to be a landing page, and you should publish opt in forms wherever they are relevant on your website.

Take the lowest performing pages and review them. Is there a clear next step for the visitor?

Email Traffic

If you’re using an email service provider that provides a click tracking feature, you can track which messages are most successful in driving traffic to particular web pages on your site.

You can’t ever control the next click, but you can suggest it.

If you’ve configured links in your email messages for use with your analytics application, you can also see which links are generating worthwhile visits to your website — visits that involve views of more than just a single page.

Again, start with the worst of the bunch, and pull up those pages in your web browser.

Is there a clear and noticeable suggested next action or is there a dead-end once the reader gets to the end of the content?

If your subscribers have to stop and think at any point about where they’d like to go next on your site, they very well might just leave.

You can’t ever control the next click, but you can suggest it.

Next: Where Do Your Visitors Come From?

The Bounce Rate is an excellent metric to determine how successful our web pages are the achieving multi-page visits that often lead to orders.

In my next post, I’ll discuss the “Visitor Source” metric and go into a little more depth on how to set up tracking links to link up your web analytics package with your email campaign.

17 Comments

  1. BJ Wright

    8/23/2007 12:42 pm

    This is some great information.

    Could you possibly write a post on how to exactly tie Google Analytics & Aweber’s Email campaigns together for optimal perfomance within both services?

    Thanks

  2. Gconway

    8/23/2007 2:16 pm

    We use Google Analytics on our website, I would also be interested in how to tie the email campaigns into it.

  3. Internet Marketing Archives» Blog Archive » 'Web Analytics and Email: Bounce Rates' - Aweber Blog Post

    8/23/2007 2:54 pm

    […] Web Analytics and Email: Bounce Rates… […]

  4. Allan Spencer-Stewart - Marcom Write

    8/23/2007 3:13 pm

    I love your last three sentences: "Is there a clear and noticeable suggested next action or is there a dead-end once the reader gets to the end of the content? If your subscribers have to stop and think at any point about where they’d like to go next on your site, they very well might just leave. You can’t ever control the next click, but you can suggest it." I couldn’t agree more. It’s a perfect summary of what so many people do wrong with web content and navigation. You can’t ever afford to leave their next step down to luck. Good web content writing and web navigation design should follow sound marketing communications logic and always suggest what the reader should do next.

  5. Marc Kline

    8/23/2007 4:10 pm

    BJ and Gconway,

    Next week, I will be following up to this post with some information on the usefulness of the Visitor Sources metric for website analytics and email marketing.

    Within (or linked from) that post, I would be more than happy to provide reference on how to integrate our service with Google Analytics as an example of how this type of integration can be accomplished.

    That should be valuable to help some readers to get started with better behavioral targeting, and I appreciate your feedback.

  6. Marc Kline

    8/23/2007 4:12 pm

    Allan,

    Thanks for the kind words, and I couldn’t agree more. Fundamentally, it’s about the usability of a website / its content. If the website isn’t highly usable, it won’t accomplish its goals — whatever they might be — sales or otherwise.

  7. beth O'Malley

    8/23/2007 8:29 pm

    Great info. I just started using google analytics and would love to read more. Thanks!

  8. Jay Wilson Jr.

    8/24/2007 10:06 am

    Timely post…

    I just started using Google Analytics. I’ve put the code just on my landing page for now.

    I’m looking forward to your next post.

  9. Marc Kline

    8/24/2007 11:16 am

    On a related note …

    I was just flipping through my August 13 copy of Business to Business and came across a short but excellent article, "Optimize Content" by Ashley Bailes that lends some further insight. What I took from it:

    * Keywords can land people on your page, but it’s the content of the page that makes that makes them stick around

    * A nice looking page is a good thing to have, but the focus should be on the conversion action of the page, otherwise people will just hit the "Back" button.

    * Pages shouldn’t be designed with too strong a focus on search engines. They are used by people, and if you don’t cater more to them, you may get a lot of traffic but few conversions.

    Read the article at:
    http://www.btobonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070813/FREE/70813013

    We’d love to hear your reactions if you’d like to share.

  10. » How to Integrate Google Analytics with AWeber - AWeber Blog

    8/29/2007 10:16 am

    […] Last week I published an article discussing the bounce rate metric in a web analytics application and how it can help a website owner make constructive decisions that improve their website and email marketing campaigns. […]

  11. Marc Kline

    8/30/2007 5:46 pm

    Some more related reading…

    http://www.kaushik.net/avinash/2007/08/standard-metrics-revisited-3-bounce-rate.html

    Avinash Kaushik is Google’s Analytics Evangelist, and for good reason. He often provides very insightful blog posts about web analytics. This article provides some more in-depth insight into the bounce rate metric.

  12. Ashley Bailes

    8/31/2007 7:57 am

    For a more in depth version of my article "Optimize Content for Users First, Bots Second"… which mentions additional content strategies (SEM, Landing Pages, etc.), I have provided the URL to the original article.

    http://www.morevisibility.com/articles/search-engine-marketing/2007/internal/article_ab0507_optimize-content-for-users.html

    There are also some very insightful SEO and SEM blogs on the site as well. They can be found at the following URLs:

    http://www.morevisibility.com/semblog/
    http://www.morevisibility.com/seoblog/

  13. BJ Wright: My SEO Internship Experience » Do You Understand Your Analytics Reports?

    8/31/2007 9:01 am

    […] Google Analytics can be very complex if you want it to be. As you will see in this post and this one, there are a number of hacks that can be applied to help you in further understanding what is happening on your site. If you have the know how and can filter your data properly, your analytics reports can become invaluable. Analytics should become a large part of your websites strategy, as you’ll see in these posts here and here. Aweber which in my opinion is the #1 email delivery service available has some great information and how to track your visitors through your email campaigns using Google Analytics. Unfortunately I don’t have all the expertise on Analytics as I wish I did. I will be going through the ROI Revolution training course sometime in the short future, as I understand the value that it provides. But it is only valuable to those who can take the data and turn it into actionable items for your website strategy. Share and Enjoy: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages. […]

  14. » New Web Analytics Videos From Google - AWeber Blog

    9/24/2007 11:14 am

    […] Don’t forget to integrate your email marketing with your web analytics campaigns so you can track the behavior of your email traffic. How to Integrate Google Analytics with AWeber Web Analytics and Email: Bounce Rates Every Page is a Landing Page This entry was posted on Monday, September 24th, 2007 at 11:13 am and is filed under Articles & Tips. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a comment response, trackback from your own site, or permalink. […]

  15. Interactive Email - eMarketing Workhorse « Educational Marketing Group, Inc.’s Brand Manager’s Notebook

    9/1/2009 10:28 am

    […] spam problems, track individual audience behaviors, distinguish between hard and soft bounces, (a discussion here) and hone in on motivational design/copy […]

  16. Kate Anne

    8/1/2011 11:15 pm

    How did the email traffic affects in the google analytic? It is a good source of info in SEO, google analytic is known in a web analytic. I will probably try your advice. Thanks a lot.

  17. Mayjex

    8/3/2011 10:04 pm

    Google Analytics is the most popular and common thing to use in every website. And Email and Web traffic is the best way on boosting one website to the top. I have to try your tips and suggestion. Looking forward to see the good results.