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Web analytics... Google and the "bounce rate" from your admissions entry page

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Web Analytics: What's the "bounce rate" from your admissions entry page?

Mark Greenfield from University of Buffalo (a SUNY university for those who otherwise might not know) is down at the Noel-Levitz recruitment and retention conference in Texas. He sent two tweets of interest to everyone in student recruitment:

  • A person from Google reported that a good range for a bounce rate was 20 to 35 percent. What's a "bounce rate"? That's how many people visit a web page and leave without going anywhere else on the website from that page. Bad thing when that happens overly much from your admissions page. The Google person said anything less than 20 percent was an unrealistic expectation.
  • Mark checked on the bounce rate from the UB "admissions site" and reported a stellar 25 percent. I'll have to ask Mark which page he was referring to. Why? If you do a Google search for "University of Buffalo," a link is returned to this page for undergraduate admissions. If you go direct to the university home page and follow the first link to "admissions undergraduate" you start at this page.
  • I'm betting the low bounce rate was from the page entered from the home page.

Results from a Google search might be defeating your expectations for where a potential future student will start on your website. Google is the first place that most students who begin the college exploration process start their journey. 

Find your admissions entry page on Google

Enter the name of your college or university in the Google search box and watch the entry points that come back in addition to your home page URL. Imagine you were a person starting a visit from one of these home page alternatives.

Check to see where "new' or "first time" visitors to the site are starting. Is each page getting the low bounce rate that tells you that each is making a favorable first impression and engaging people?

If you're on Twitter and are not following Mark's updates, start doing that soon.

That's all for now.

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2 Comments

Bob -

The 25% bounce rate is for out entire admissions site. FYI - the bounce rate for the Admissions home page ((admissions.buffalo.edu)is 21% I do not have access to the data for http://www.buffalo.edu/aboutub/academic.html.

One of the discussion points at the conference on bounce rates was that different pages will have different bounce rates.

I also agree that in the age of Google, every page on a site could be the point of entry and should be engaging and make a favorable first impression.

Mark, thanks for the extra detail. I guessed wrong as to which page you'd be most likely to have data for... I'm still thinking that the "missing" page is the one intended for first-time visits from potential students.

And indeed, if the "bounce" concept means anything re quality of various web pages, then the rates should differ.

Let's all hope analytics use becomes more widespread.. if the conference helps, that's a fine thing.

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