What is a bounce rate?

So, what is a bounce rate? And why is it so important? Well, you’ll be pleased to hear, there are some easy answers – not only to ‘what is it?’ but also to ‘how to fix it’ and I’ve included a few helpful suggestions further down the post.

But did you know that there are 2 types of bounce that we look at when we talk about websites and online marketing (well, kind of 3 actually, but we’ll come to that later) and it’s easy to get a bit confused.


As at December 2018, the average email bounce rate was 9.57%.
(source Constant Contact)

Mostly, this one is super easy. Basically, an email you’re trying to send hasn’t reached it’s destination. But let’s look a little closer at some of the reasons it happens.

What causes an email bounce?

First, we need to understand the two different types of email bounce (yep, there’s two).

The hard bounce. A hard bounce can be explained fairly simply. It’s caused by an invalid email address meaning that it would be impossible to deliver it. It happens if someone subscribes and incorrectly enters their email address.

The soft bounce. This are mostly a temporary issue. This time, the email generally makes it to the recipients email server, but is then rejected and it bounces back as undelivered.

There are several reasons this might happen;

  • recipient’s email box is full – which means there’s no room for yours
  • out of office – the recipient has an ‘out of office’ notification which triggers a bounce back
  • blocked
    • some email servers have strict controls on what can be received
    • too many spam complaints on a particular ISP can cause temporary or permanent blocks
    • spammy content in your email could trigger your email falling into a spam filter
    • the domain you use as the ‘from’ email may be on a blacklist

How to avoid an email bounce

  1. To help prevent a hard bounce, make sure you use a double opt-in which adds a verification stage to the subscription process. An email is delivered to the potential subscribers email address containing a link which must be clicked in order to validate the subscription. It works well and in my opinion, should be used all the time.
  2. Make sure your emails don’t contain content that could be considered as spam and check your subject lines meet with spam filter approval.
  3. Check your domain reputation. Always use a verified domain as the sender email address.


This is quite an easy one to explain too. Essentially, it’s a single page visit. That is, that a visitor to your website leaves without viewing any other page. Simple.

What causes a webpage bounce?

There are a quite a few reasons why someone might leave your site straight away.

  • Page speed – loads too slowly and they don’t want to wait
  • Content – not what what they were looking for or nothing of interest
  • Pages that are too long – too much content, making people scroll for miles!
  • Bad design or structure – content is hard to read or visually unattractive
  • Too many ads can look like a hard sell and look spammy
  • Making it unclear what the next step is for the visitor
  • Bad mobile experience

So, what is the average website bounce rate?

GREAT <30%

OKAY between 30% – 60%

BAD between 60% and 70%

REALLY BAD! anything over 75%

How to avoid a webpage bounce

  1. Speed up your page load – having a page that loads quickly will help people stick around long enough to view the whole content. On average, people expect a page to load in around 4 seconds.
  2. Make sure it’s clear what your page is about – obvious headlines and heavily related content will establish the topic early on and avoid confusion.
  3. Ensure the design of your page is visually appealing

Website bounce rates can vary depending on the type of website you have so you’ll need to make your own judgement about what might be good or bad. And as well as looking at your average bounce rate for the whole website, look deeper at the bounce rates for individual pages too.


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