No, not that kind of bouncer.
When someone comes to your website and views just a single page before bouncing, it’s tempting to think that is throwaway traffic and you wouldn’t want any more of it. In fact, we’ve had a number of clients request that we don’t spend any money targeting those people in the future. “Remove them from all remarketing lists!” But here’s the thing… bouncers are often highly valuable. The data show that they typically come back and purchase in the future at a much higher rate than the general population of searchers if they see ads in the future.
Why does everyone think that bouncers are worthless? At first glance it’s tempting to think that someone who bounces was likely a mistaken click. Once they landed on your site, they realized that it wasn’t what they were looking for, and they closed the window and went somewhere else. Searchers on Google frequently click forward and then back on multiple search results as they browse the results to find what they’re looking for. So it’s entirely correct that users like these who didn’t find what they’re looking for are probably not worth much, and you might not want to target them with remarketing ads in the future.
But scattered in with this population is another that can’t be separated out. Many searchers click on various search results and then leave windows open on their computer. They may be going through an evaluation process on multiple websites. They may have found exactly what they want and are just keeping that tab open on their browser until payday next week. They may be considering a product that they’re not quite convinced about yet. They may have gotten distracted by their kids, their lunch break, or it’s the end of the workday and it’s time to shut down and go home. Perhaps the user found exactly what they want and bookmarked the page. You might want to stay in front of them, or make sure that if they perform a similar search in the future that your site is at the top of the search engine results. There are all sorts of situations where someone may “bounce” but still be a highly valuable and highly engaged potential customer that you want to stay in front of.
When we’ve split out bouncers into separate audiences for purposes of targeting and gathering statistics, the average bouncer ends up being worth far more than the general public. But in some cases, bouncers are also worth more than the average site visitor who didn’t bounce. That’s completely counterintuitive. But it happens.
There are a few different ways that ecommerce sites undervalue bouncers. One is by creating audiences of people who only viewed a single page and reducing ad bids for them. But also consider that audiences targeting people who spent very little time on your site also include bouncers. It’s very common for sites to create audiences of people who spent less than 1 minute on the site, because the average session duration for purchasers is 8 minutes, so they don’t want people with low engagement. Similarly, any audiences targeting people with low engagement such as those who viewed fewer than 3 pages will also potentially catch many bouncers.
At Psyberware, we’ve learned to be very humble about preconceived notions like this. For one business, bouncers may indeed be worth less than average. But for many, bouncers are highly valuable. There is no substitute for testing your assumptions. Go ahead and split them out into separate groups in order to see how they perform. But give it some time to build some significant data before you automatically reduce bids on those who bounce from your site.