Exit Rate vs. Bounce Rate: Key Metrics for Your Website’s Success

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Navigating the world of website analytics can feel like learning a foreign language. A critical part of this process is understanding the vocabulary of Google Analytics or other web analytics tools. Grasping concepts like exit rate vs. bounce rate can provide insights into how visitors interact with your site content, shedding light on user behavior and potential areas of improvement. 

Here’s how exit and bounce rates differ and why understanding these two metrics is vital for your site content strategy and performance. 

What is a web page’s exit rate?

Exit rate is the percentage of website visits that end on a specific web page. It indicates the pages where visitors last interacted with your site during their session. For instance, if a visitor enters your home page, goes to a blog post, and exits from a product page, the exit rate applies to the product page. You calculate exit rate by dividing the total amount of exits from a page by the total amount of visits to that page.

What is a good exit rate?

A good exit rate varies depending on the nature of the web page and its purpose. A higher exit rate of around 70% to 80% can be expected for content-driven pages like blogs or news articles. However, for pages deeper in the ecommerce funnel, like product pages or checkout pages, a lower exit rate of around 20% to 40% is ideal. 

For content-driven pages, an exit can signify a visitor has found what they are looking for. 

A high exit rate on product or checkout pages might indicate potential navigation, content quality, or user experience issues. 

Exit rate formula 

You can find a web page’s exit rate through Google Analytics by navigating from Behavior > Site Content > Exit Pages, where you’ll see the exit rate as the “% Exit” column on the far right side of the page. You can also calculate a page’s exit rate with this formula:

Exit rate (%) = (Number of exits from the page / total number of visits to the page) × 100

For example, say the product page for a popular pair of sneakers was visited 10,000 times in a month. During this period, 2,000 sessions ended on this page. Using the formula, the page’s exit rate would be:

Exit rate = (2,000 / 10,000) × 100 = 20%

This means that 20% of all visits to the sneakers product page ended there, with visitors leaving the website from this page.

What is a website’s bounce rate?

Bounce rate is the percentage of single-page sessions on your website. This metric measures the proportion of visits where users only view a single page—the one they initially land on—and then leave your site without further interaction. For example, if a visitor lands on your homepage and then leaves the site without visiting other pages, a single-page session or bounce occurs. However, if someone configures their page events so that completing a form fill, scrolling, etc., counts as an interactive event, then that will reduce bounce rate, even if a user doesn’t proceed to another page.

What is a good bounce rate?

Like exit rates, what constitutes a good bounce rate varies depending on the page type and purpose. A 2022 survey of 3,244 Shopify sites found the average bounce rate of visitors who landed on a page through a desktop Google search was 41.1%. 

High bounce rates might indicate your landing pages aren’t providing the necessary information, aren’t sufficiently engaging, or aren’t leading visitors further into your site. High bounce rates can also signify a visitor’s intent was satisfied. It really depends on the type of page, with content-driven pages being more prone to higher bounce rates.

Bounce rate formula

You can locate the bounce rate for a specific page on your website through Google Analytics. However, bounce rates can also be calculated using this formula:

Bounce rate (%) = (Total number of single page visits / total number of visits) × 100

For example, assume that over a month, your ecommerce site’s home page had 10,000 visitors. Three thousand visitors left the site after just viewing the home page. Using the formula, the bounce rate for the home page would be:

Bounce rate = (3,000 / 10,000) × 100 = 30%

This means 30% of all visitors who landed on your home page left the site without visiting any other pages.

Exit rate vs. bounce rate: Similarities and differences

Bounce and exit rates are essential metrics for understanding website user behavior. Here’s how they compare:

User engagement metrics

How they’re similar

Both exit and bounce rates indicate user engagement on your website. They measure the proportion of users who leave the site after interacting with a page. Monitoring these metrics in Google Analytics can help identify user experience or site performance issues, such as poor page design, broken links, or an overly long sign-up form.

Specific page interaction

How they’re similar

Both exit and bounce rates focus on user interaction with a specific page on your site.

How they’re different

The exit rate applies to any page a user visits during their session, indicating the percentage of all visits ending on this page. Bounce rate pertains to the percentage of users who leave the site after viewing only the first page they land on. 

Interpretation and action

How they’re different

High exit rates on specific pages other than landing pages may indicate problems later in the user journey, confusing navigation, irrelevant content, or issues with the checkout process. These could be addressed by enhancing site navigation, optimizing the conversion funnel, or improving the content and design of pages with high exit rates. A high bounce rate often indicates issues with your landing pages, such as poor page design, slow loading speed, or irrelevant content. These issues can be addressed by improving site quality, optimizing performance speed, and ensuring your content meets viewer expectations. 

Tips for decreasing your exit rate

  1. Improve site navigation
  2. Prioritize quality content
  3. Streamline the conversion funnel
  4. Optimize the site experience for mobile users

Managing your website’s exit rate is essential to retain visitors and enhance their journey on your site. Kyle Risley, SEO lead at Shopify, says the easiest way to figure out why readers are exiting your website is to talk to your readers. “If you’re not seeing the conversion rates you’re expecting on product pages, the most useful step you can take is to talk with your customers,” he says. Here are four other tips to help reduce your exit rate:

Improve site navigation

Ensure your site navigation is intuitive and easy to understand. Confusing or complex navigation can frustrate users, increasing their likelihood of leaving. Use clear labels in menus, and structure your pages to guide users naturally through your site by organizing content to match typical user paths and placing key pages—return policies, shipping fees, contact information—in easy-to-find spots. Also add internal links to related pages where it makes sense for the reader.

Prioritize quality content

Engaging and relevant site content can hold the interest of site visitors, prompting them to explore more pages on your website rather than exiting. Use headers, bullets, images, and short paragraphs to make your content more skimmable and readable. Also, consider the order in which the content appears. Deliver value to the reader as quickly as possible and prioritize the most important parts of the content toward the top of a page. Ensure your content aligns with user expectations from search results or advertising. For example, if an ad touts tips on choosing hiking shoes, deliver that specific value, not just a general footwear promotion.

Streamline the conversion funnel

A conversion funnel is a step-by-step representation of the customer journey, illustrating users’ path from initial engagement to desired actions, like making a purchase or signing up. If users frequently exit at certain stages in your conversion funnel (like ecommerce confirmation pages), there may be a problem with your funnel’s design. 

Look at sessions where visitors navigate across at least two pages to identify potential issues—this allows you to focus on visitors who engaged initially but still ended up leaving. Simplify the process as much as possible by eliminating unnecessary steps and making it easy for users to convert by clearly labeling calls-to-action, minimizing form fields, and providing clear instructions. 

Optimize the site experience for mobile users

A mobile-friendly site is critical with the increasing number of users browsing on mobile devices. Mobile users likely exit if your site is challenging to navigate on their device. Implement responsive design to ensure your site looks and functions well on all devices.

Tips for decreasing your bounce rate

  1. Create relevant landing pages
  2. Get rid of intrusive pop-ups
  3. Improve page loading speed
  4. Interlink your pages

Reducing your website’s bounce rate is essential for ensuring deeper user engagement with your site. Target specific pages for optimization to lower your site’s average bounce rate. Kyle says, “Common reasons for low conversion rates include unclear pricing information and requiring too many steps to complete an order.” After you address those issues, consider these four practical strategies:

Create relevant landing pages

Ensure your landing page content aligns with the promises made in your marketing campaigns. For instance, if an ad promotes a deal on wireless headphones, the landing page should prominently feature the offer. If visitors find what they expect when they click on an ad, they are more likely to stay and explore, decreasing the bounce rate.

Get rid of intrusive pop-ups

Give users ample time to explore your content before initiating a pop-up. It’s also critical to ensure the pop-up can be easily dismissed on desktop and mobile platforms, maintaining seamless navigation.

Improve page loading speed

Slow pages can cause users to leave prematurely. Use tools to identify elements slowing down your site and optimize them. Improve page speeds by compressing images, minimizing JavaScript files, and using a reliable hosting service.

Interlink your pages

Encourage users to explore your website by linking to relevant content. Conversely, avoid using external links on landing pages that may drive users away from your site. 

Exit rate vs. bounce rate FAQ

Does a high exit rate indicate a high bounce rate?

Not necessarily. A high exit rate doesn’t automatically equate to a high bounce rate. Users might visit several pages before leaving, resulting in a high exit but a low bounce rate.

Can a page have a high exit rate but a low bounce rate?

Yes, not all exits indicate a high bounce rate. For instance, if a confirmation page after a purchase has a high exit rate, it’s not a problem. Customers have completed their payment journey, hence the high exit rate, but they didn’t bounce, thus the low bounce rate.

Can both exit and bounce rates be used to analyze user engagement on a website?

Yes. Both metrics provide valuable insights into user behavior, with bounce rate indicating initial engagement and exit rate showing where users commonly end their sessions. Together, they can help identify pages that need improvement.