Bounce Rate Vs. Exit Rate: Differences, Examples And FAQs
Updated 30 September 2022
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Optimising web pages and websites to ensure high visitor traffic and engagement is crucial for effective digital marketing campaigns. The bounce rate and exit rate are two essential concepts that can help you understand how visitors are behaving once they reach your website. Learning more about the bounce and exit rate can help you improve website traffic and improve visitor engagement. In this article, we define bounce rate vs. exit rate, explain their differences, discuss how to view them, share an example explaining the concepts and answer some common questions about them.
Definition of bounce rate vs. exit rate
Learning about the differences between bounce rate vs. exit rate can help you understand search engine optimisation (SEO) better. Bounce rate is the percentage of the total page views of a given webpage where the visitor directly lands on (or enters the website through the said page) but does not engage with the website content any further. As per this definition, bounce rates only take into account those website sessions where a visitor directly lands on the page and leaves the website immediately.
In contrast, exit rate is the percentage of the total page views of a webpage where visitors exit from the website. This is regardless of any visits to other pages of the website in the lead up to the final exit. The exit rate simply refers to the total number of times an online visitor exits a website from a particular web page without considering whether they directly landed on it. In other words, all bounces also count as exits, whereas all exits are not necessarily bounces.
Differences between bounce rate vs. exit rate
Here are some prominent differences between bounce rate and exit rate:
The formula for calculating the bounce rate is:
Bounce rate = number of sessions where visitors directly land on a page and exit the website/ total number of website entrance page views of the page
The formula for calculating the exit rate is:
Exit rate = number of sessions where visitors exit a page after visiting any number of site pages/ total number of page views of the page
Number of page visits
A critical difference between bounce rates and exit rates is that the figures for page visits that the two metrics consider are fundamentally different. Bounce rate takes into account only the number of page visits where a user directly lands on the page. So, the said page is the first point of interaction with the website.
In contrast, an exit rate counts all those page visits that a page receives without considering any previous activity. So, a user can visit any number of web pages on the website before exiting from a particular page, in addition to directly landing on it.
Order of page views
The order of page views does not apply to bounce rate since users have to directly land on the web page to be a part of the bounce rate calculation. For the exit rate of the page, a user simply has to exit from the website on the said webpage to be counted in the exit rate formula. This means that the exit rate only applies to those website visit sessions where a particular webpage is the last in the order of pages visited.
Bounce rate is a straightforward way of understanding if users coming from different sources find your content engaging enough when they directly land on a page on your website. You can track engagement in many ways, such as visitors typing in another URL in the web browser, closing the browser's window or clicking on the back button that takes them to the previous page. There are other actions that can count as a bounce as well.
It is slightly more important to view the exit rate in the specific context of how the website is structured and the desired user flow when people visit a website. High exit rates are not always indicative of something negative. For instance, a very high exit rate on a check-out page of an e-commerce website is not unusual.
How to view bounce rate and exit rate
Most websites use Google Analytics for gathering in-depth data into the digital traffic they receive and analysing the behaviour of their website visitors. Follow these steps to view the bounce rate and exit rate on Google Analytics:
Set up a Google Analytics account for the website in case it does not exist already.
On the homepage, go to the ‘Behaviour' tab in the navigation menu.
Click on 'Site Content'.
Click on 'All Pages' from the dynamic drop-down menu that appears.
Towards the right, you can find data pertaining to both the 'Exit Rate' and 'Bounce Rate'. This is usually in the form of percentages and also shows whether the rate has gone up or down recently.
Each web page of the site will be visible, and the 'Exit Rate' and 'Bounce Rate' is available accordingly.
The process and tabs are likely to be similar for other content management system (CMS) tools, but the navigation may differ.
Examples of bounce rate and exit rate
Consider a company that is primarily selling a customer relationship management (CRM) solution and has an extensive content marketing campaign in place to increase website traffic. The company has different landing pages to target prospects who might be further down the sales funnel as well as those towards the top of the funnel. If any of the blog content on the website has a high bounce rate, it could be because of poor quality of content, design-related issues or loading problems. This means that users who are directly visiting the page are leaving immediately.
Understanding why visitors leave without exploring the website can help decrease the bounce rate and engage prospects effectively. Conversely, a high exit rate on the page that displays a message of thanks for making the purchase should not warrant any concern at all. This simply means that the user has made their purchase and has done all they intended to do on the website, and would like to exit. As opposed to high bounce rates, exit rate analysis can be more situation-dependent.
FAQs about bounce and exit rate
Here are the answers to some common questions about the bounce rate and exit rate:
What is more important, bounce rate or exit rate?
Both metrics give digital marketers and SEO professionals a comprehensive understanding of how different web pages are performing on a given website. Bounce rates might warrant more attention on particular pages if they are excessively high. This may be indicative of any quality or technical issues since it only shows one-page visits into account. Exit rates are more suggestive of the particular user flow that leads visitors to exit from a page and helps define the customer journey and create website heatmaps.
How does the bounce rate and exit rate influence each other?
It can be helpful to remember that all bounces are exits, but all exits are not bounces. The exit rate takes into account all those scenarios when a user simply exits the website through the page. It could be after directly landing on the page or after spending time on other pages of the same website. This shows that both these metrics do not affect each other directly.
How do these rates influence SEO?
When deciding the ranking of different pages, search engines usually take bounce rates into account and not exit rates. A high bounce rate is a straightforward indication that the content on a page is not engaging or valuable enough for the visitor. This sends a negative signal to search engines and can negatively influence page rankings. SEO professionals strive to keep bounce rates on all pages low through various techniques. Without considering the specifics of the website and the content on the particular page, a bounce rate between 20% and 40% is usually acceptable.
How to reduce the bounce rate?
Here are some ways in which you can reduce the bounce rate:
Audit your content to fix quality issues and apply SEO strategies.
Optimise the content for a consistent viewing experience across different devices.
Reduce page load times by decreasing the size of different elements on the page.
How to reduce the exit rate?
Follow these steps to decrease the exit rate of specific web pages:
Add internal links to other pages on the website that direct the visitor to more content. Linking to internal blogs is an excellent strategy to achieve this.
Ensure that all external links on any page open in a new tab to avoid disrupting the user experience and redirecting them to another website.
Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are associated with Indeed.
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