3 common product messaging mistakes

And how to use qualitative feedback to address them.

Fact: The Average Website Bounce Rate is >50%

As a rule of thumb, a bounce rate in the range of 26 to 40 percent is excellent. 41 to 55 percent is roughly average. 56 to 70 percent is higher than average, but may not be cause for alarm depending on the website. Anything over 70 percent is disappointing for everything outside of blogs, news, events, etc. In addition, you can generally expect mobile bounce rates to ring in about 10 to 20 percent higher than desktop.

Perhaps your site or app falls into one of these higher categories and you are scratching your head trying to figure out what to do? Probably you’ve already taken a look through the rest of your analytics but are left un-satisfied trying to answer fundamental questions like:

What are visitors not understanding about the value of my product or service that is causing them to leave?

Here’s a collection of recordings of real users interacting with different websites for the first time and giving their initial thoughts & reactions.


The Un-Usually Good

Websites like the following with bounce rates in the 26 to 40 percent range have likely nailed all three keys including: having a crystal clear and singular ‘USP’ (unique-selling proposition), showcasing its value (not just telling what it is or how its useful) and sells the dream of what their product or service enables the prospective user to achieve.

#1) Use a singular and straight-forward USP.

“So, just from that sentence…anyone can make a design and upload it i’m guessing and then you guys make the T-shirts?”

#2) Show, don’t tell. Using examples to showcase value.

“You are actually interfacing with a teacher is what it seems like here..oh cool, it gives you a bio on the teachers and their rates…which is SOO COOL!”

#3) Sell the Dream (Why), not just the How or What.

“Become a teacher (thinking)…so I can use this site for learning a skill i’d like to learn, especially if you do it once and earn passive income. I like that”

The So-So & Just OK

Sites with a 41 to 55 percent bounce rate roughly average while 56 to 70 percent is higher than average. These sites usually have at least one if not two of the 3 rules nailed, but could be improved by nailing all 3.

Example #1: Clear USP (yes). Show, don’t tell (no). Sell The Dream (yes) Problem: Unclear explanation of how the service works (why it isn’t a scam)

“It looks like it’s a savings type of service…It looks like Keno! No thanks.”

Example #2: Clear USP (no). Show, don’t tell (yes). Sell The Dream (no) Problem: Unclear explanation of ‘why’ the service could be useful.

“I feel like i’m just not understanding what this is…I don’t get it”

Example #3: Clear USP (no). Show, don’t tell (yes). Sell The Dream (yes) Problem: Unclear explanation of ‘how’ the service works

“I just want know what the heck this is…I really want an FAQ…”

The Bad & The Ugly

Any site with over a 70 percent bounce rate is disappointing for everything outside of blogs, news, events, etc. These sites have likely nailed at most 1 or even 0 of the 3 keys.

Example #1: Clear USP (no). Show, don’t tell (no). Sell The Dream (no) Problem: Trying to be too many things to too many people.

“I’m still not quite sure what it is, i’m going back to the homepage…this is extremely confusing to me, I don’t understand any of this…”

Example #2: Clear USP (no). Show, don’t tell (no). Sell The Dream (no) Problem: Unclear explanation of ‘how’ the service works

“I’m just a little bit confused on how it works…”

In Conclusion

Hopefully you can see how some of these cringeworthy moments highlight the need to really nail these three tenants:

1) Use a singular and straight-forward USP.

2) Show, don’t tell. Using examples to showcase value.

#3) Sell the Dream (Why), not just the How or What.

If you don’t have an idea on where to start, gathering some qualitative feedback is a good starting point that can un-cover overlooked issues.


About the Author

Adam Breckler is the Founder of Prism Labs (Prism.IO) a service for web/mobile apps to gather visual feedback from users.

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