When talking about Google Analytics, the terms “exit rate” and “bounce rate” are often used interchangeably. However, these two metrics measure different things and provide different insights into user behavior.
Bounce rate measures the number of people who enter a website and leave immediately without navigating to any other page on your website. Exit rate is the percentage of visitors who leave your website after viewing a specific page.
Exit and bounce rates can both help you improve your content strategy. In this piece, we’ll dig into bounce rate vs. exit rate and know how they can help you better understand your users.
Have you ever wondered what's more useful, exit or bounce rates? Learn why both metrics are necessary to measure in Google Analytics.
A bounce rate in Google Analytics measures the number of people who enter a website and leave immediately without navigating to any other page on your website. Therefore bounce rates are often called single-page sessions.
A bounce occurs whenever a visitor enters the page and subsequently leaves it either by closing their browser window, entering new URLs, or following outbound links without triggering any event within the website.
The bounce rate measures a website's overall engagement. A higher bounce rate indicates that content needs to be more relevant or that there are technical issues on a web page—regardless, it is better to have low bounce rates.
The bounce rate is calculated by dividing the number of single-page sessions by the total number of sessions on the website during a specific period.
A session is the period of time a user is active on your site or app.
Let’s say 500 person visits your website during a month, and 100 people leave your site after viewing the homepage without proceeding to any other pages. Then the bounce rate of the homepage will be 20 percent.
It's hard to determine a standard benchmark for bounce rate because so many factors are at play. A reasonable bounce rate depends on the website type, landing page, industry, channel, and kind of content, —but the lower your bounce rate, the better.
Sometimes, a high bounce rate can signify a positive user experience.
A high bounce rate doesn't necessarily mean a web page is poorly designed or lacks relevance; instead, it can simply indicate that the user found exactly what they were looking for and no longer had any need to view another page. In other words, a low bounce rate isn’t necessarily an indicator of a good user experience.
For example, top-of-the-funnel content is generally less engaging than middle or bottom of the funnel. This is because the user intention for top-of-funnels (where they're looking to learn about something specific) isn't usually exploring your site—but rather, they want quick information on what they came there for in the first place.
Middle and bottom-of-the-funnel content is highly engaging because it appeals to people with high intent. They want to learn more about your product or service and explore your website.
Nevertheless, keeping an eye on your bounce rate is still important to ensure something might be driving your users away from your site.
A high bounce rate might demonstrate that your website is poorly optimized, misleading to users, or simply unable to meet their needs — Gregory Yong
This is why it's critical to identify and address the reasons behind high bounce rates to improve user engagement significantly.
“The quality of the content can make or break a visitor’s experience, so it’s essential to ensure yours is up to snuff.”
That's why having a clear, well-defined content strategy is important.
An important area to consider when evaluating a website's readability is using multiple forms of content to better engage site visitors.
Broken links are one of the main reasons people leave your website and never return.
This can happen when the URL changes or the link is moved to another page without updating the old link.
It is essential to check all links on your site regularly and ensure they work correctly before publishing new pages or uploading new files so you don't lose traffic from broken links.
Studies have shown that around 60% of all online searches are performed on mobile devices.
If your website is not mobile-friendly, you miss out on a significant share of potential traffic. The longer it takes for pages to load, the more likely users are to abandon them altogether.
Distracting ads can cause users to get distracted and lose interest in what they are doing on your site. They might also leave if they see too many ads at once or are too intrusive in general (like pop-ups).
A good way to ensure your ads are not distracting is by ensuring that the ad doesn't take up more than 15% of the screen space. This will give users enough room to see what they're looking for on your website instead of being distracted by an ad.
If visitors can't find their way around your website, they will likely abandon it and never return.
Make sure that your site's interface is user-friendly. Include clear calls to action, so visitors know where to click next.
One important usability fix that can help reduce your bounce rate is page load time. Studies show that users are more likely to navigate away from a page if it takes more than a few seconds to load.
There are a variety of testing tools that can diagnose page load time and help you troubleshoot this issue.
Select Behavior > Site Content > All pages to measure the bounce rate in Google Analytics.
The exit rate is the percentage of visitors who leave your website after viewing a specific page. It does not depend on how many other pages they have viewed before leaving.
Assume a visitor lands on your website, then navigates to page A, then to page B, then to page C, and finally exits. The last page of this journey is called the Exit page. So here, page C is the Exit page.
The exit rate is calculated by dividing the number of visits exit a website on a particular page by the total number of views that page received.
It's important to know that there is no such thing as a "good" exit rate. Every person who visits a website must leave at some point—it's just a matter of questions like "From which pages are they leaving?" and "Which of my pages has the highest exit rates?"
Ideally, you'll want your customers to leave your site with some conversion. A high conversion rate indicates that your site is performing well; if not, some upgrades need to be made.
We look at the exit rate and can see specifically which pages may be dropping the ball. On those pages, we create a better call to action and tweak our content —Minesh Patel
If users navigate to multiple pages throughout their session but then leave when they hit a specific page—perhaps because that page has irrelevant or poorly created content, then it's likely an indicator that something is frustrating about that particular portion of the site.
It is possible to analyze a problem using the exit rate and find possible areas for improvement based on its results.
Linking to other websites is a great way to build your own site's credibility. For example, if you're linking to a blog or news article, you can use that opportunity to show off your expertise in the subject matter by adding an authoritative link.
However, it's important to remember that users don't want to be sent away from your website. If you have links open in new tabs, users will find it easier to stay on your website and not get distracted by other links that might be interesting but irrelevant.
Internal linking is an important SEO strategy that helps users find related content within your site. By linking directly to other pages relevant to what users are reading, you can encourage them to stay on your site longer and view more content.
By strategically using internal links, you can help improve the user experience on your website.
It's important to look at how people exit your sales funnel because you can use that information to improve how each stage of the process works.
Conversion funnel analysis shows you where customers are dropping off and why so that you can make adjustments.
A well-designed webpage must entice visitors to stay on the site and encourage them to take action, whether making a purchase or signing up for an email newsletter. The placement of CTA buttons in prominent areas is crucial.
In GA, go to Behavior > Site Content > Exit pages.
The fundamental objective of these metrics is to find out how many users leave a page after opening it. Both bounce and exit rates are used to determine how well a website performs, but they measure differently.
A high bounce rate might indicate that you should look more closely at your content and search engine optimization (SEO) to ensure that people find what they're looking for on your site.
It is important to note that visitors may accidentally click on your website looking for an answer to a specific question or for a type of product that you don’t offer.
So better focus on targeting the right audience of potential customers: people likely to be interested in your products or services and your company.
Alternatively, if the exit rate is high on a page, it may indicate that your content or UX does not resonate with users. Moreover, exit rates are used to identify your webpage's conversion rates.
To make a better understanding of bounce rate vs. exit rate, let’s imagine a scenario like this given below,
Out of four visits, there were only two bounces,
Even though exits occurred on all four visits, bounces occurred only on Visits 1 and 4 because those were the only two days when the visitor exited as soon as they entered the site. Every other day, the visitor visited at least two pages before exiting.
Always remember that exits can be more than one-page visits, while bounces are always one-page visits.
In Visit 1 and 4, there was only a single-page session, so it’s counted as a bounce. In scenarios 2 and 3, the visitor spent more than a one-page session on the site before exiting. So it is not counted as a bounce.
Bounce and exit rates are both metrics necessary for understanding how your website is performing, but depending on which metric you focus on, they can give you different insights about your website.
For example, a high bounce rate usually signals user satisfaction problems, whether in the content context, site quality, or loading speed. If your exit rate is high, it usually means a problem with your conversion funnel.
To discern which metrics are the most beneficial to you, it is important to look at your existing data and how it has evolved over time.
By interpreting the data, did you see the bounce rate higher than before? Or did your exit rate increase compared to previous months? If so, you can see which metrics should be focused on accordingly to improve the performance.
For example, by pairing these metrics with Google search console metrics like clicks, it is possible to see how those clicks translate into user behavior, such as which landing pages convert more users and which ones engage them more.
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