Beyond the bounced visit
The regular bounced visit
The definition of what a bounced visit is varies depending on who defines it, the purpose of the metric and sometimes on the capabilities of the tools used to calculate it. In the simplest variant it is a single page visit completely ignoring if any other non-page interaction took place on the tracked page in question.
Starting point of any bounce KPI
In order to calculate the bounce rate in any kind of definition one must know what the total volume of visits for the time period is.
Without that metric clear the bounced visit metric will fall inte the category of "How long is a string", comparisons require at least 2 separate values or a scale to compare the metric against.
Almost any tool can produce such a number, except for old tools such as AWStats which simply can't do it properly since it identifies browsers on a per IP number basis. That gives room for a incorrect calculation of the bounce visit volume, and it is completely useless.
Once the total visit count is done it is time to dig up the next metric.
For the sake of simplicity, allowing the use of most tools that do track browser visits using a cookie to distinguish unique browsers, the bounced visit is defined as a single page visit. While not the most optimal method, it is by far the one supported by most tools.
If your tool has the capability to track on-page events that signal a desired browser interaction, then it is recommended to define the bounced visit is a single page visit where no desired events occured.
The results, as can be seen in the image to the right, show an expected rate of bounced visits for any site that has more than half of the visitors entering the site on the home page.
It is important to note that the bounced visits as per this simple definition very likely will contain a percentage of visits where the browser clicked on an ad or outbound link and was sent onwards. If these interactions are tracked by your tool then they to should be added to the bounced visit definition.
The double bounce visit
Hidden out of view normally is the double bounce visit, which for lets say a newspaper site is a metric that is relevant to have a grip on.
Typically it is a visit where the home page of the site is the entry page and then the browser clicks to visit a single article page before leaving the web site. I.e. a visit where a distinct click path containing only 2 pages.
In this example the double bounce hits a ~10% share, and lies hidden in the data. Why double bounce? It involves 2 pages and gives it a unique name.
Knowing the double bounce volume puts a crucial perspective on the efficiency of the home page of web sites that live by it, as well as giving any key referrer/affiliate a more crucial assesment of the visitors it passes onwards.
What the double bounce visit is defined as depends on the site type and pages included, most often it is defined by a crucial landing/entry page and specific content area(s) that the page in question leads to. With a set of different definitions any variation of the pages and areas involved can be analyzed.
By creating a set of double bounce definitions on a per entry page to specific content basis it becomes easy to gather information beyond the standard bounced visit metric.
Also by tracking events on the bounced visit page, using visit filtering ensures that visits in which a single page viewed and a required event occuring on are not thrown into the deep bounce visit pit.
If only the features of your tool can set this data free will you be able to see the light shining at the top of the pit.