The Importance of Bounce Rates for Radio Websites

Posted by Elliott Hurst

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Sep 16, 2015 1:11:00 PM

jigga1Why should you care about bounce rates?

Because bounce rates are just one clear example of the difference between being a flat broadcaster, happy with flat sales, or a growth broadcaster, striving to grow their business. 

At SoCast, we don't just want Radio to survive in the digital era, we want Radio to thrive in it. To do that, Radio must continue to embrace the clearest path to growth: digital sales.

Radio built a legacy media on the transmitter, but to extend that legacy, they must now embrace the digital arena. 

That's where the money is being spent more and more. That's where the content is being discovered, socially shared and interacted with. And that's where the audience is, and expects you to be.


Source: Marketing Magazine

You can see that over the past decade, despite ad spending rising every year, traditional media remains flat. Just look at that "Internet" spend taking off like a 747, while the other media sail slowly, or bumpily, but gradually downward. The "Internet" represents a massive growth opportunity for Radio.

The downside of that massive opportunity, is that the "Internet" also represents a massive opportunity for everybody else. Ignoring digital has proven to be a dangerous ostrich-style strategy, because if one were to stick their head in the sand 10 years ago, they would suddenly wake up to a new reality; digital only companies are encroaching on Radio's sacred territory. And they are thriving.

Radio has what it takes to win the Internet. Radio's local trusted brands are century-old experts in knowing how to create content for audiences. Radio has the highest level of what I like to call "Quality of Reach". The Internet might have the quantity, but Radio has the quality - loyal P1s, tuning in every day, generating multiple touch points. That's what the Internet buyers want. They just don't know they need to reach Radio to get it yet - and to be fair, Radio needs to be able to demonstrate that they can work their Quality of Reach magic in digital.

Radio is competing with everyone else, so they'd better be prepared to battle with everyone else. You don't take a knife to a gun fight...

Learning how to use tools of the Internet has been and will continue to be an educational process for Radio brands. These digital-only competitors grew up with this world, they're comfortable with precise measurements, two-way communication, and viral sharing, three concepts once foreign to Radio. The transmitter and ratings system does none of this. So Radio enters the gun fight not only with a knife, but with one hand tied behind it's back.

The good news is that what Radio has, you can't teach, but what the Internet has, you can learn. And one of those lessons, for example, is learning about the importance of bounce rates.

Google defines a bounce rate as:

"The percentage of visitors to a particular website who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page."

In Radio terms, this refers to a listener who clicks on to your webpage (or mobile webpage) from another place (e.g. Google search page, or Facebook/Twitter post) to read the specific content on that page, but then leaves your page without clicking on anything else. Google interprets this action as a "bounce" whereby your content did not fulfill the user's needs. Again, in Radio terms, it's as if someone channel surfed your station, listened for maybe 2-3 seconds, and then quickly left  to channel surf to another station. Webpage equivalents could be: hitting the "back button", or clicking on an external link taking you off their site, or their session times out due to inactivity.

After examining best in class blogs and news websites as well as internal brainstorm sessions, we here at SoCast redesigned our key content publishing features, blogs and news pages, to make them more interesting and engaging. We want those listeners to stay on your website properties. More clicks and time on site means more:

  • Listener engagement
  • Page views and impressions         
  • Time on site (TOS) / Time spent listening (TSL)
  • First-party data points (that's for another blog, but believe me, they are valuable)

Our response was to launch two new tools aimed at battling bounce rates, and we expect our clients to experience positive results within the first quarter of use. We will report back on our findings in a future blog.

1. Floating and Social Tool Bar  

"Aimed at making social sharing convenient and simple, we built floating vertical buttons to scroll as listeners read through news and blogs articles. As opposed to the standard buttons at the top or bottom of the article, they are not fixed. They float with the text as the listener reads/scrolls, because you never know when the listener is going to reach that "aha" moment in your blog, when he/she feels compelled to share it.

How are does this affect bounce rates?

Let’s assume a listener landed on your website to read a blog. The listener reads the blog post, and there is only one step to sharing the blog via the floating toolbar, as opposed to scrolling to find the share options within the webpage. By making it easier to share, the percentage of listeners that share the blog increases, which performs the basic function to affect bounce rates; getting the listener to perform an action after landing on the webpage to read the blog. Google Analytics tracks the two sequential events, and your bounce rate remains strong."


2. Top / Trending / Latest

Blogs are the single greatest (non-player) driver of page views on radio websites. You worked hard to get them to your blog article / announcement / promotion, etc. Why not keep them there? We've added visually appealing "latest" articles dynamically generated right near your blog to promote further click-throughs and engagement. These related articles maximize your content, and unearth new audiences for them. You can choose which articles show up by tag and/or by format: "Top articles" (most use over last week), "Trending" (hourly most popular), or "Latest" - by time. Promoting a second click on your website reduces bounce rates, and your content is your best bet to do that.


By influencing key measurements like bounce rates, you are illustrating to your ad buyers that not only do you play in this game but you know how to dominate it. By combining Radio's Quality of Reach with digital sophistication, ad buyers will re-discover the power of Radio.

Enjoyed the importance of bounce rates for radio websites? Subscribe to the SoCast blog for regular updates! Are bounce rates important to you and your radio brand? Let us know in the comments.

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Topics: Digital Tools for Radio

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