How a single hover effect reduced our bounce rate by 8.4%

Published June 20, 2017

Bounce rate is one of the most difficult metrics to move. However, we recently completed an experiment that reduced our bounce rate by 8.4%. The experiment came about after a really passionate team meeting about the future of our landing pages.

Bounce Rate is the percentage of single-page sessions (i.e. sessions in which the person left your site from the entrance page without interacting with the page).

Our content team organised a meeting to discuss how we were going to group bus providers that provided similar services on Rome2rio. We ended up veering off topic into a discussion about some more fundamental UX design choices. Somebody proposed implementing a hover effect which changes the route shown on the map instead of just the background colour of the route details under the cursor. It was a fairly easy change so after the meeting I went back to my desk and implemented it.

It took us from this:

…to this:

Spot the difference? The only change was to draw the active route on the map when the user hovered over it on the left rail. After our weekly release, we noticed a sudden drop in bounce rate — we weren’t 100% sure we could attribute it to the hover so we rolled back the change and implemented the change as an A/B experiment.

We ran the experiment on 622,000 desktop users for a week. Just over 300,000 users were shown each variant.

The experiment confirmed our suspicions. Our bounce rate decreased by 8.4% for the experiment group. The users who received the new hover effect were now 8.4% more likely to interact with elements of the site via a click, which inevitably has flow on effects to overall engagement and revenue streams. More users are motivated to explore our product; this is a win for Rome2rio and hopefully translates to an increase in repeat usage.

Written by
Software Development Engineer
Rome2rio, based in Melbourne, Australia, is organising the world’s transport information. We offer a multi-modal, door-to-door travel search engine that returns itineraries for air, train, coach, ferry, mass transit and driving options to and from any location. Discover the possibilities at