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What is the difference between bounce rate vs exit rate?

Ve Global
Ve Global
Digital Revenue Optimisation
What is the difference between bounce rate vs exit rate?

User statistics provide business leaders with valuable insights into how well their website is performing. Bounce rates and exit rates are two essential metrics that you should keep a close eye on.

However, given that these stats seem to overlap, it’s easy to confuse them. Both record the percentage of people leaving your site after viewing a particular page.  The difference lies in whether or not a user has visited other pages on the site in the same session first. Each must be treated individually to gather valuable data that you can use to make decisions.

Below, we’ll define both metrics and provide you with the info you need to know to help you analyse these within the context of your wider site performance. This will help you decide whether your pages are succeeding or whether improvements should be made. Together, let’s look at:

What is bounce rate?

Bounce rate refers to the percentage of users who visit your website and leave after a single-page session (sometimes called a single pageview). It’s one of many important metrics website owners should monitor closely and is commonly found by using Google Analytics (GA).

Some industries tend inherently to have higher bounce rates than others. A study on digital experience benchmarks found that rates vary according to user intent.

For example, apparel, beauty, and luxury sites have the lowest bounce rates, whereas B2B and financial services have the highest. This suggests that many of those frequenting, for example, a clothing site have the immediate intention to browse and/or purchase.

In contrast, those visiting, B2B sites, for example, are more likely to be after a specific piece of information. Maybe users looking for a business software solution are visiting several sites to compare prices. In such an industry, the sales journey is likely to take much longer than, say, buying a specific item of clothing.

Website traffic benchmarks by industry

What is exit rate?

Every page on your site has an exit rate. The page’s exit rate indicates how often visitors exited from it after visiting any number of other pages on the site in the same session.

Exit rates are a valuable metric to site owners as they can indicate whether users are following your ideal customer journey or not. For example, if you’re running an ecommerce website, you’ll want your “thank you for shopping with us” page to have the highest exit rates – these are the most natural end to a customer journey.

Key differences of bounce rate vs exit rate

There are major differences between bounce and exit rates and different solutions for improving on each of these percentages. Let’s have a look at the key differences below.

Difference in definition

Bounce rate is always related to the first and only page a user visits on your site. Exit rate is always related to the last page a user visits on your site. This could be their first page as well, or they may have visited others too before leaving.

Bounce rate scenario

There can be countless reasons behind bounce rate percentages. Here is a positive and negative scenario below.                                                                                                              

Remember that users from different points of the sales funnel will be visiting your site. At the start of the funnel, some may be looking for one specific piece of information before clicking off.

If a visitor lands on your site and can find what they’re looking for in a few seconds, it’s actually a sign that your site matches their intent.

Compare this to a user further along the sales funnel. They visit a product page on your site and want to make a purchase; only they can’t find a link to buy. So off they go to a different site, and you lose out on a sale.

These scenarios highlight why it’s important to look at bounce rates on a page-by-page basis.

Looking at bounce rates on a page-by-page basis

Exit rate scenario

Analysing exit rates requires a different mentality. You’ll want to see high exit rates on specific pages, in line with the goals you’ve set in Google Analytics. In general, if users are exiting from your goal-related pages, your website will be going some way to achieving its aims.

For example, if you’re running an ecommerce site, your last-visited pages will ideally be your checkout or sign-up pages. Other sites may have different goals, such as leading users to download eBooks or free software, earn ad clicks or social shares. You can find different examples of goals via Google’s support pages.

Goal types

Users will have different reasons for exiting from non-checkout or sign-up pages – it all depends on the intent behind their visit and their place in the sales funnel.

Importance of tracking bounce rate and exit rate

Both rates are essential to track to help you identify reasons why users are leaving your site. Analysing the reasons behind both rates can help you streamline the customer journey or inform you of the changes needed to match your pages to user intent.

From an individual perspective, bounce rates can help you determine the effectiveness of an entry page in generating visitors’ interest. Whereas monitoring exits helps you understand the performance of specific pages and whether they match their intended purpose. You then know where to focus your attention to optimise the purchase funnel to increase sales and conversions.

How to find your bounce rate and exit rate

Google Analytics will begin tracking both metrics from the point of registration, so you’ll have a wealth of data already at your disposal.

In Google Analytics’ main dashboard, you’ll see site-wide rates via Behaviour> Site Content>All Pages.

For specific page info, search by page name like, checkout.

Here’s how your bounce rate is calculated:

For a site-wide calculation, let’s say you have 100 sessions over seven days.

10 users only visit a single page.

Bounce rate is determined by dividing single-page users by total sessions, then multiplying by 100.

(10/100) x 100= 10%

Individual page bounce rate uses the same calculation. Let’s say your homepage had 50 sessions in total, with five users only visiting that page:

(5/50) x 100= 10%

Here’s how exit rate is calculated:

Divide the total number of exits a page had by the number of page views received, then multiply by 100. Let’s say your homepage had 10 exits and 30 sessions.

(10/30) x 100 = 33%

What could cause a high bounce and exit rate?

As we’ve discussed, high bounce rates and exit rates are not always negative. But excessively high rates across your site are likely to have negative implications.

Too many single-page visits combined with too many exits from non-conversion pages are likely to mean that your website isn’t functioning as well as it should. That’s when you’ll need to look into the following to optimise bounce rates and exit percentages.

Poor Content

Make sure your site is SEO-friendly with good search engine optimisation. A web page should provide users with the service or product they’re looking for or give answers to the questions they’re asking. Pages should rank for relevant keyword groups found through Adwords, SEMRush, and AHRefs.

Meta information that appears on the search results should be directly related to what users will find on the page. There’s no point in earning click-throughs by creating fabulous but misleading meta info, as this will increase the chance of high bounce rates.

Keyword generator

Ecommerce sites should be looking to simulate an in-store experience for their online users. User experience counts for a lot, and Ve’s connected media functions help bring the physical, offline experience to your website.

Poor appearance

The days of text-focused web pages have long gone. Pages should have plenty to catch the eye and engage users, including images, infographics, or videos.

Whatever text you have should look appealing. Consider a page index so information can be viewed at a glance. Break a page into categories. Work with short sentences and plenty of paragraphs – long blocks of text are a big turn-off.

Poor navigation

Every page should make it easy for users to navigate your whole site. A menu bar should be clear and simple.

There should be links within your content to other relevant pages.  It should also  be easy for customers to convert. If this means a sign-up, don’t make them hunt for the form. If this means a sale, make your CTA (calls to action) and checkout page crystal clear.

Ve’s Digital Assistant can also aid navigation. You can ask questions to guide visitors to the page on your site most relevant to them through a pop up. You could also nurture long-term relationships with returning customers with personalised recommendations.

Site speed

It’s essential to ensure your site speed is up to scratch - pages with lengthy loading times can increase bounce rates. Run an SEO site audit and work on fixes without further ado.

Page load speed may be down to several factors. Your site may have too many images, or these may be too large. Javascript or CSS may be slowing down loading speeds. Remember that every second counts.

Get an idea of your site’s speed using Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool:

Google's PageSpeed Insights tool

Technical errors

It’s vital to visit your site’s pages regularly. High bounce or exit rates might be caused by a simple technical fault. Something on a page may not be loading correctly. Users will rarely bother to flag this up – they’ll simply go elsewhere to find what they’re looking for instead.

How to reduce your bounce rate and exit rate

If your analysis shows that your site needs improvements, focus on the following to achieve lower bounce rates and exit rates.

Improve site design and performance

Work on your site’s on-page SEO and the user experience. Your web pages need to look appealing and provide a straightforward solution to users.

Examine the formatting of your content as well as the content itself. Offer different types of content, such as text, video, and interactive pieces.

Ensure your customer journey map is easy for your users to follow. Everything a user requires – beyond the page they’ve landed on – should be easily accessible within a click or two.

Consider running split testing on certain pages. Here you’ll set up two different versions of the same page and send an equal number of visitors to page A and page B. Comparing their overall site journeys can help you see where changes should be made to page navigation or CTAs.

Customer Journey Map Template

Guide your visitors

Content should always exist to inform users and answer questions, but the best content will work even harder than that. Make sure your CTAs get straight to the point. Sometimes, simply changing the wording on a CTA button from ‘Buy’ to ‘Buy Now’ can make all the difference to your conversion statistics.

Returning visitors who have seen retargeting adverts will have a connected experience where Digital Assistant personalises their journey showing relevant product recommendations

Remember also that at Ve, our Digital Assistant works to save customers the need to browse or search a site. Combined with excellent SEO, users are provided with personalised visits every time they come to your site. It’s even more valuable for repeat visitors, making recommendations based on previous visits and purchases.

Track your user behaviour

Every business should create customer personas at their very inception, and the data you collect can help you refine these even further. Knowing your customers – at every point of the sales funnel – will help you understand your bounce and exit rates.

The sales funnel

Looking at individual users’ behaviour, or that of segmented groups can give you insights into the intent behind their visit. For example, a specific user may visit a single page several times before finally making a purchase. Those previous single-page browsing sessions will count towards your bounce rate but have no negative implications given the end result.

You can go one better than simple user tracking by introducing email remarketing as one of your tactics. Using your browser cookies, you can get an overview of a user’s visit to your site, such as the pages they land on and any purchases made.

This information can then be utilised in personal, targeted marketing through email or social media ads. Knowing what your customers want is a massive step towards securing a sale, and effective email remarketing can move you further towards this.

Value user feedback

Web analytics data will only tell you part of the story. For the bigger picture, ask users directly for their feedback. You can add on-site surveys and feedback devices or potentially offer something in return for users’ insights. Ecommerce sites can request feedback as part of their product review requests.

Digital Assistant's Customer Survey feature can be used to collect feedback

Although user feedback can be valuable across a site, it can be of particular interest if you find your checkout pages have high exit rates – without a sale taking place. Why would users be going so far as to reach this point in the deal and then abandon matters at the last moment? Perhaps users are abandoning their cart because hidden costs have suddenly been revealed. Or maybe your shipping costs are too high. It’s possible you’re not offering enough payment options or the flexibility to check out without a registered account.

Most of these issues are simple fixes, but once identified, utilising our Digital Assistant can make a huge difference to your conversion rates.

Cervera

Take a look at the Cervera case study for an example of how this works in practice.

Provide valuable content

There’s no point spending time creating great content if it doesn’t match the needs of your customer base. Your category pages should deliver expert information that clearly answers user queries and helps inspire trust in your brand. Earn brand trust, and you’ll likely earn sales and repeat visits.

Complement your category pages with regular blogs. Again, these should offer value to your customer base. They may provide additional, more specific information relating to your category pages. Or they can include industry insights, helping you establish your brand as an expert within its field.

All business leaders should know that the most successful content is also the most personal. It is, of course, impossible to create thousands of different versions of the same page to satisfy the needs and quirks of all of your customers. But our Digital Assistant makes each visit as personal as can be.

Providing a tailored experience for every visitor to your site, it’s like having a personal assistant on hand to help users find what they’re looking for. And with real-time messaging, specific offers, and cart-recovery messages, you can help increase your conversion rates too.

Try find drop-off points and devise plans to engage the user to improve them one by one. Common places might include:

Search results

Search results

Sites must rank well in the search results to be found in the first place. But you should use your search listings to attract the right users to your website, i.e., those who are part of your customer base.

Meta-information includes optimised title tags, descriptions, and featured snippets. These should all give a clear indication of what a user will find on the related page, should they click through. Don’t write your meta info purely as a means to win click-throughs. There’s no point earning these if they attract the wrong sort of audience to your site – this will only increase your bounce and exit rates.

Category pages

If your category pages are receiving high percentages, it could be that they’re failing to serve users in the way they should. Is there sufficient information to provide the answers users are looking for? Can all the information be found at a glance? Are you displaying information in an engaging way, by utilising text, aspirational images, interactive features and even video? Do your category pages match the meta-information found on search engine results pages?

Remember also that using our Connected Media tools can help you provide customers with the information they’re looking for.

Customers seeing or clicking on an advert can be greeted by a Digital Assistant on-site, which shows messaging that is a continuation of the advertising campaign

Highly-personalised, targeted ads can introduce your brand, provide solutions to potential customer queries, and act as a further channel to attract users to your website. Moreover, there’s an increased likelihood that you’ll be able to use guided selling to point them where they need to go on your website. This will boost the chance of a sale and have a positive impact on your bounce and exit rates.

Homepage

A good homepage should be a good representation of your brand. It should be clear from this who your brand is and what it does. The best brands can achieve this in a single line.

Your homepage should also act as a clear menu for basic customer needs, such as contact information. It should also provide visible links to all other sections of your site, be it category pages, blogs, or product pages. Everything should be findable in a single click.

Conclusion

For an accurate analysis of how your web pages are performing, every site owner must understand the differences between bounce and exit rates. We hope these are crystal clear now. It’s also important not to panic at the sight of high bounce or exit percentages and to view both exit and bounce rate metrics within the context of your site’s statistics.

Being able to explain the purpose of each of your landing pages will help you decipher whether your bounce and exit figures are acceptable or whether changes must be made. Context is everything, and with this in mind, you’ll be able to form a detailed understanding of whether your pages are matching user intent, and gain insights into the customer journey and the effectiveness of your sales funnel.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a good bounce rate?

Pages with bounce rates of 56 - 70% should make any business leader raise their eyebrows and do some investigative digging. Between 41% - 55% would be an average bounce rate. Remember to look at the wider context and both page and user intent before deciding if high bounce rates are a bad thing.

What is a good exit rate?

In reality, there’s no such thing as a ‘good’ exit rate. Every visitor to your site has to leave at some point. So the questions to ask are ‘which pages are they leaving from?’ and ‘which of my pages have the highest exit rates?’

You’ll generally want customers to be leaving your site having converted in some way. So if your checkout pages have the highest exit rates, your site’s performing as it should. If not, it’s time for some detective work.

Which is more important? Bounce rate or exit rate?                                                                                                                          

Both are valuable metrics, and both should be viewed alongside other data and customer analysis. At times, bounce and exit rates may be inherently linked; at others, they’ll be down to separate factors.

If you’ve examined your stats as a whole and found negative implications behind a page’s high bounce rate, it’ll likely be something on-page that needs to be fixed. This could be poor content, a bad layout, technical problems, or an unclear customer journey.

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