Here’s what I think of the use of the “read more” button to cut down the Bounce Rate

Did you ever browse one of those editorial websites in which you are click-baited to the page, and then have to click on a “see more” button in order to read on after the first few lines? There’s a LOT of them, even very important ones.

They are just lovely aren’t they?

Want to know what that is about?

Well, they are basically tricking their own data. Repeat after me: they are tricking their own data. I want to be perfectly clear here: when they created the website, they also set up a system of traffic tracking, to evaluate its performance (let’s assume it’s Google Analytics). Afterwards, they found it smart to find a way to cheat their own system.

Now I’ll go through the reason why, but I should explain a simple concept, first. In analysing the performance of a website, an interesting data is the so-called Bounce Rate (BR). I’ll let Google define it, as the “The percentage of single-page sessions in which there was no interaction with the page”. So a session that “bounces” is someone landing on the website, only seeing one page without clicking anywhere, then browsing away. Depending on the type of content you have, it might be good to have a relatively low BR, meaning that people found you for a piece of content, then kept browsing your website. But this depends on the type of site, page, audience, time spent on the page, and more.

Generally speaking, it is always bad to be speaking generally.

So, reasons: in scenario one, the owner of the company which is represented by the website heard from a self-appointed web analyst that the lower the Bounce Rate, the better. Even if it was so, which it isn’t, the natural answer should be to come up with a better understanding of the users’ needs, and try to provide them with better content, in order to keep them in the website. Instead, what they do is to voluntarily make a worse experience for the users, forcing them to an extra click on the “see the whole article” button. Now, the click is an action, so for the very same content now there is no bouncing back, even if the amount of pages seen is exactly the same (that is, one). Smart uh?

Scenario two, the webmaster is fully aware that he/she’s cheating, does it on purpose in order to provide fake data to advertisers. While cheating advertisers will always be encouraged by yours truly, one still finds it funny and puzzling and amazing that they just get away with it.

So here’s my explanation, but I’m still to tell you what I think about it.

I’ll just meme it for you:

BIBLICAL FACEPALM

And make no mistake, I know sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do, and what you gotta do is keep the motor running and the cash flowing. Indeed, it’s the system I’m facepalming to.

 

Soundtrack: Coma Ecliptic by Between the Buried and Me

To-read list: Start with why

Wellll, I’d say a good way to start off might be by writing about books. Someday I’ll dig on the reasons why, but I don’t really like books about SEM or marketing or linguistics or whatever. Books are supposed to make you think about stuff, without actually having to tell you what to think.

That is, I prefer to read fiction, find it more instructive.

Nevertheless, here’s a book that’s changed the way I think about web marketing, marketing as a whole, and life at large.

The book is the well known “Start with Why” by Simon Sinek. It’s pretty old I know (2009), Simon wrote others afterwards, with pretty much the same philosophy: go ahead and pick any!

(yes, affiliation freaks, I’m linking Goodreads :* )

Let me explain briefly why and how it changed the way I think about the others, and the web, and especially myself.

First of all: when I started I used to think I had to make myself the best. That was not entirely negative, since it pushed me into studying more and more and overtaking obstacles, as one does. But the book helped me understand that the real shit would’ve been to take other people, and make them the best. That I’d have felt much better if I had started to give something back.

Also, as you might’ve guessed, I’m perfectly aware that (as my friend and mentor Donatella says), it’s not like we’re saving lives, this is only marketing. I mean, web marketing! Take a look at the big picture, how unimportant is that!? Once you realise this, where do you get the drive to become a better marketer/person? The way, as wonderfully explained in the book, is to find your reason why. I thought a lot about it, and found it. Won’t say mine though, you’ve got to figure it out by yourself damn it!

Lastly, it taught me to (partially) re-think my embargo on essays and papers and everything business-related. Marketing is nothing but psychology, if you think of the user as a person. Hey this sounds good, let me use those fancy inverted commas of WP’s!

Marketing is nothing but psychology, if you think of the user as a person

So if we finally stop to treat people as money-carriers, then I’m interested! Now I know that it’s not only because I work in marketing, that I must be the devil and should be stopped (which is often the case).

 

It’s a short book (but then again, I’m a fantasy literature lover you know, they all seem short to me), so no excuses.

I highly suggest it as n°1 in your to-read list.

Oh before I forget, to wrap it up a little bit and understand what the topic is, Simon also spoke @ TED, and this is the video that led me to the book. Check it out!

 

Soundtrack to this post: Frames by Oceansize

Era anche ora…twas about time!

Dopo appena 10/15/20 anni che ci penso, i tempi sono maturi per creare questo blog. Che trovata geniale, nessuno ci avrebbe mai pensato!

Non ho assolutamente idea di quanto (e cosa) ci pubblicherò, ma almeno adesso posso comunicare quello che penso.

Oh and by the way: for the mere sake of proving how unconventional an SEO I am, I’ll be writing in both English and Italian. The English version will contain mistakes, of which I apologise.

Eat my dust, Googlebot!

Peace out!

Chiodo