Marketing Questions - fix high bounce rate

How can I fix high bounce rate?

I have been asked this question many times over the years, and it’s not as simple as you might think. The question should read “WHY do I have a high bounce rate?” Only when we understand “why” can we address “how”.

So, lets start with the basics.

What is bounce rate?

Bounce rate is the percentage of people that arrive on your website and leave without taking any action or reading any further pages.

Google defines it here like this:

A bounce is a single-page session on your site. In Analytics, a bounce is calculated specifically as a session that triggers only a single request to the Analytics server, such as when a user opens a single page on your site and then exits without triggering any other requests to the Analytics server during that session.

Bounce rate is single-page sessions divided by all sessions, or the percentage of all sessions on your site in which users viewed only a single page and triggered only a single request to the Analytics server.

What is a normal bounce rate?

That’s a trick question. There is only “normal” for your website – and ideally you work towards reducing it.

What are the causes of high bounce rate?

There are many possible reasons you may have a high bounce rate – and one of those is simply that the user did not need to take any other action than read the information on the page in front of them. If they were searching for a definition or a translation, and you provided it, it is quite logical that they took no further action and left. However, most websites exist to generate pageviews, leads and sales, so we want people to engage with our website.

You forgot your ABC…

The building blocks to SEO, paid search and any other form of inbound marketing is to start with understanding who you are trying to target and how. If your website sells snow and you have focussed your campaign on attracting Eskimos to your site, they may come, but they won’t stay to buy.

A more real-life example? If you are selling supply chain management software to large organisations, you can easily attract large amounts of consumer traffic (and university students) to your site through supply chain definitions and mentions of known transporters, but none of those consumers will contact you for a demo of your software.

How to fix it:

Go back to the beginning. Create user stories of success and using those personas think about how they might find your business, and what tools and what language they would use. Back up those findings with keyword research. Good quality data will ensure your success.

Pro tip: Check out the competition and don’t be afraid to look at how they are trying to attract the same audience, you might get some great ideas (and probably a list of things to avoid at all costs too!).

You misled the visitor

You may have done this unintentionally, but your PPC ads, meta data or call to action in your email may have led them to believe that they were going to get something that you weren’t offering. If you PPC ad says “Buy Online Today and save 25%” and they arrive to find the item at full price, they’ll hit the back button. Equally if your meta title says “Everything you need to know about the North Pole” and your page has two lines of content, it’s “game over”.

How to fix it:

Align your message with the landing page. Or your landing page with the message. Make a clear connection between them.

You forgot to invite them to do anything else

I see this a lot. A company sells a service. They tell the visitor what that service is, and maybe even why they should use it.


How to fix it:

Tell your visitors what you’d like them to do next – that might be further reading, contact or buy, but make sure they have a path to follow. They won’t all follow the path – but at least you’ve given them a chance.

You made the next action too hard

Sometimes I see websites that have gone a bit overboard on the above technique. There are 30 “read more” links, 10 buttons, 2 different forms, and a pop up that you just can’t get rid of. That’s enough to make even the most determined of buyers hit the back button.

How to fix it:

Keep the analogy of a path in mind. There are always options depending where you want to go, but ultimately, you’re being drawn forwards – towards a destination. Go back the user stories we created in step 1 and encourage the user to take the next step with simple choices.

Bounce rate is influenced by too many factors to cover everything here, but these are certainly the most common. If you are experiencing issues please feel free to contact us for a free, no-obligation chat.

[Don’t panic but…] The end of average position is coming

Google announced this week that “average position”, a metric that a lot of my clients use to measure their ad effectiveness, is coming to an end.

Personally, it’s a metric that I use sparingly anyway. I prefer to look at ROI – how much did any combination of ad and keyword spend, vs what value did it bring. I think that’s a better measurement of relative success than whether you were at position 7.2 vs 4.2.

However, when clients have been using this metric for years, it’s going to cause some changes in their reporting habits and at least we have until September to draft up the new reports that show two key metrics to replace it:

  • “Impression (Absolute Top) %”
  • “Impression (Top) %”

(More about these from Google here)

Will this be rolled out on Bing?

If you advertise across both platforms, then you’ll know functionality tends to follow through. These changes may or may not appear in Bing, but we’ve there is nothing concrete yet. We’ll let you know if we get any updates on this.

Advice for our clients

If your still actively using average position, then please take the time to review these new metrics in the Google Ads interface and familiarise yourself. They are just as useful in reporting. We’ll include them in your reports from March in addition to Average Position.


If you’d like to get started out in PPC we can help you. Find out more about our PPC methodology and service here. Check out our PPC packages for small and medium businesses or for something tailor made for you business please contact us for a bespoke package.

ppc account access denied

Who owns your Google Ads Account?

This blog post has been prompted by a worrying scenario that cropped up for a potential customer this week.

The customer called me and said they’d like to get going with a brand new PPC campaign. I asked the usual questions about their business and industry, what they wanted to achieve, and why they wanted to use PPC. As we’d spoken about a brand new campaign I was surprised when the client told me that that PPC was already their most effective channel for generating leads in a highly competitive B2B market.

“But why create a new campaign?” I asked. “If you’re having such great results, I can work within your existing account and you’ll keep all the precious history you’ve accumulated.”

“Ah” was the reply.

This client had been working with the same agency for over 5 years. The agency had set up the account, managed the advertising spend and now, at the end of the relationship, felt that it belonged to them. The client was free to leave. His account wasn’t. Ouch.

The historical value of Google Ads

When you run an account there are a number of factors that influence your quality score/ad rank. Important amongst these are the historical performance of your ads. Engaging ads that people interact well with are given bonus points (in non-technical speak) for that engagement. Google learns this about the account, and starting a new one will strip this element away.

Were they right?

Personally, I don’t think so. I think the Google Ads account is part of the business it was built for. No-one like to see a client go, but when they do I don’t have any reason to hold them to ransom with their account. I’ll ensure that it’s handed over professionally to the client or the new agency in the event that we go our separate ways.

What to do if your agency won’t give you (back) your account

  1. Don’t panic. Speak calmly to the agency and explain your position.
  2. Check your contracts and set up emails – is there anything in writing that would give you legal standing?
  3. If they won’t give you the account in full, try for access for a limited time so that you can export the data.
  4. If you can’t get access then ask that they perform the exports or keywords, ads, negatives, targeting and with performance metrics for last month, last 3 months, last 6 months, last year, previous year.
  5. If they still wont play ball, then you’re probably at the point of setting up a new account. Get help to make sure this is done to give you the best possible start.

How to prevent agencies holding you to ransom

Always create the Google Ads account and give your agency access, not the reverse. It doesn’t really matter if you get it “wrong” – most things (except timezone and currency) can be fixed later by the agency once you have given them access.

Make sure any contracts or agreements are explicit in ownership.

If your agency really insist on ownership, ensure you have agreements about access to all your account data at the end.


Can we help? If you are having difficulties with this situation we are happy to try and talk to your existing agency to get the right data exported. We can also help you get a new account started but don’t worry – we never take ownership of Google Ads accounts – that’s a part of your business.


What is paid search

What is PPC?

Paid search is a confusing subject for many of my clients, not least because of the number of names and sub-disciplines it entails. Paid search is, in my definition, any ad that is triggered in response to someone searching on the internet, if that ad was paid for. The most known example of this is Google AdWords.

What is Paid Search?

In the above example, LinkedIn and Google have chosen to show me these ads in response to my search query “pay per click google”. The small word “Ad” in green tells me that they’ve paid to be there.

Paid Search Marketing Terminology Buster

Let’s look at some of the common names you’ll hear for paid search marketing and see what they mean – because I may well refer to them here and throughout the site.

What is PPC and what does it stand for?

PPC stands for “Pay Per Click”. This is any advert that you show where you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. Google lead the way with pay per click in its AdWords platform, but offers many other pricing models.

What is Search Engine Marketing (SEM)?

Search engine marketing is any form of paid ad placement on the search engines. The primary platforms for these are AdWords and Bing here in Europe, but there are many other available if you need a broader reach.

Is Search Engine Marketing different to Search Marketing?

Yes! In the old days SEM used to encompass any form of traffic driving through search engines, but these days SEM is limited to what we refer to as paid search, whereas Search Marketing includes both Paid search and SEO (Find out what SEO is here).

So, what is Search Advertising?

The term Search Advertising is interchangeable with SEM (Search Engine Marketing), and refers to any form of paid ad placement on the search engines.

What is online advertising?

Online Advertising is any paid ad online – it could be on any platform, search engine, format or pricing model.

What is Paid Social?

Paid social is placing advertising on social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and more. This is a fast-growing area where ads can be in a range of formats and targeted extremely precisely.


Who is paid search right for?

Everyone! Paid search offers instant exposure on search engines, important website and social media. You are able to tightly control budget – from £5 per day to £50,000 per day and have complete control over the message you present and who you show it to.

If you’d like to get started out in PPC we can help you. Find out more about our PPC methodology and service here. Check out our PPC packages for small and medium businesses or for something tailor made for you business please contact us for a bespoke package.