Introducing Flounce Rate

Last week I did my best to add gothic elucidation to the deceptively staid and uncontroversial-sounding concept of 'Bounce Rate'.

This week I am going to attempt something slightly different: I want to introduce a new concept, a twin for the first-born Bounce.

Say hello to Flounce Rate

If Bounce Rate deals with the mewling birth of your customers, then Flounce Rate is a measure of their last end. Put in terms that even the most Baldwin-esque salesman would comprehend, if Bounce is a failure to open, Flounce is a failure to close.

"Ahh, but wait!" you're probably saying, somewhere, quietly, where I can't hear you, "we already have a metric for that side of the journey, it's called Exit Rate." And if you were to say that, I'd not look unkindly upon you, though you might detect a slight downturn of disappointment in the corners of my eyes, and the first fog of pity in my voice as I cleared my throat to correct you.

Why do we need Flounce Rate?

What Bounce Rates give us that Exit Rates don't is a clear signal of thwarted intent. With a Bounce, the visitor casts an unmistakable vote of confidence in your site by clicking on your ad, or the link in your tweet or the review someone wrote about you on their blog. They have a need that they expect you to fulfil, and their immediate departure is a swift bulletin of your failure to meet that need. There's no room for noise or pollution; the space between high hopes and dashed hopes is a single click. Analyze that.

On the other hand, Exit Rates provide no such clarifying context. Do they measure boredom? Do they measure confusion? Do they measure disappointment? Once a visitor has launched themselves into a site and splashed around among its pages, the distance between their initial intent, and the eventual cause of their departure grows, and into that space creeps uncertainty.

So what is Flounce Rate?

Put simply, Flounce Rate is the rate at which users depart from high-engagement pages. It's your shopping cart abandonment rate, but it's also the non-completion rate of your Lead Generation page and the exit rate of your Feedback page. It's the rate of 'I-had-them-but-then-I-lost-them'.

Measuring Flounce Rate

Already, tools like Google Analytics gesture towards helping you lower Flounce Rates. Goal and funnel analyses allow you to understand drop outs from structured processes, but what about unstructured visits? And what if your funnel analysis tool doesn't allow cross-segmentation of additional metrics against its depiction of gradually diminishing returns? How do you act on that information without context?

My recommendation is to create a segment of all users who reach high-engagement pages but who do not convert. For example, here I've created a segment in Google Analytics looking at anyone who reaches the Services or Contact pages of my website, but hasn't completed one of my goals.

 

The proportion of total traffic this subgroup represents is your Flounce Rate, and the various details of the keywords that drove them to your site, and the paths they took through it, are your clues for diagnosing your online ailments.

Who almost commits to you but then turns away at the last minute? What are they like and what can you do to make them love you more?

Image courtesy of shannonsphotographyinc@flickr

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