Engage or Exit: What Is Bounce Rate And Exit Rate?

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In the online and SEO landscape, understanding user engagement metrics like bounce and exit rate is important if you own a brand and want to gain online visibility. This guide will explain the two metrics and help you understand their importance for your website.

Insights From The Article

• A bounce or drop off rate occurs when a visitor lands on your site and leaves the landing page as soon as they enter the site without visiting anything else.
• An exit rate is the percentage of visitors who leave your website from a particular page.
• Bounces are always one-page visits only; exits can be more than one-page visits.

What is Bounce and Exit Rate?

A bounce or drop-off rate occurs when a visitor arrives on your site and leaves the landing page without visiting anything else. This suggests a lack of interest; hence, there is no interaction.
Simply put, a bounce rate is the percentage of single-page sessions.

A visitor can bounce in a couple of ways:

• Closing the browser window.
• Typing another URL in the address bar.
• Clicking the back button to take them to the site they previously visited.

An exit rate is the percentage of users who leave your site from a specific page. For example, if a user lands on your site’s homepage, navigates to a category page, then to a product page, and then leaves, the exit ratio applies to the product page.

The exit percentage helps you understand which page your visitors leave from often, while the bounce or drop off rate measures overall site engagement, telling you how many visitors exited as soon as they arrived.

Still can’t wrap your head around the two? Let me break it down for you.

What is The Difference Between Bounce Rate And Exit Rate?

Bounce and exit percentages are different independent concepts. Here’s how to NOT confuse between the two:

• A bounce ratio is the first page a visitor enters, and an exit ratio is the last page they visit before leaving.
• Bounce ratios are one-page exits only; exits can be more than one-page visits.
• A high exit percentage doesn’t necessarily indicate a high bounce rate, as users may navigate to that page from other parts of the site before leaving.

Source: CXL.

What Is a Good Exit Rate?

Considering that all your website’s visitors must leave your site at some point, there’s no such thing as a ‘good’ exit rate. So the questions to focus on are ‘Which pages are they leaving from?’ and ‘Which of my pages have the highest exit rates?’

Since the whole point of measuring both metrics is to enhance conversion, you’ll want your checkout pages to have a high exit ratio- showing your site is doing well. However, a high exit percentage at the last stage of the checkout indicates a potential issue with your conversion funnel that needs to be looked into.

How to Measure Bounce Rate and Exit Rate Using Google Analytics

You can check your site’s average bounce rate and exit rate using Google Analytics (GA) in these simple steps.
Once you sign in to your Google Analytics account, navigate to Acquisition >> Overview, where you can access general insights about your drop off rate regarding traffic from different sources.

Source: Flo Themes.

For detailed information about individual pages, head to Behavior >> Site Content >> All Pages.

For exit rate, head to Behavior >> Site Content >> All Pages.

Tip:  A Google Analytics extension for Chrome can give you live data from the page you’re on.

What Causes High Bounce And Exit Rates?

• Irrelevant Content: Irrelevant music, pop-up ads, and videos can result in a high drop off rate.
• Slow Performance: Visitors may become impatient and leave if your site loads slowly or responds sluggishly.
• Poor Website Design: Cluttered layouts, slow loading times, and intrusive pop-ups can all contribute to a negative user experience, leading visitors to leave your site prematurely.
• Bad UI/UX: Confusing navigation menus can make it difficult for users to find what they’re looking for, leading to frustration and an increased likelihood of leaving the site.

When considering the two metrics, you must always consider the context. A higher bounce rate from a blog post or other content pages is not too concerning since the user leaves the page after getting the information they were looking for.

However, for e-commerce and product pages, a lower drop off rate is ideal because you want users to explore and possibly make a purchase.

 Recap

• Bounce and exit ratio can be analyzed by using Google Analytics (GA).
• Irrelevant content, a slow website, and bad UI/UX can lower user satisfaction and cause high bounce and exit ratios.

How to Investigate And Reduce This

Since GA will highlight the issue on your site but not the steps ahead, you need to collect more context.

Below are user behavior analytics and feedback tools that help you understand the why and how of these two metrics.

Heatmaps

Heatmaps are visual representations of data that show which areas of a webpage receive the most attention or interaction from users. They use colors to highlight where users click, move their mouse cursor, or scroll.

Image: Scroll map (left) and click map (right). Source: Hotjar.

Scroll heatmaps indicate how far users scroll down a page before leaving. If a number of users are leaving before reaching important content like calls-to-action, it implies that the content needs to be repositioned and made more prominent to reduce exit rates.

A click map shows where users click most, revealing which elements attract attention and which may be ignored. This information can help optimize the layout and placement of important elements, potentially reducing departure rates by keeping users engaged longer.

Session Recordings

Session recordings help understand user engagement and why users drop off at certain pages. Session recordings allow you to review user sessions ending on high-departure drop-off pages.


Image: A preview of using session recordings to understand the cursor movement of visitors.

This gives insights into whether visitors view your site’s content accurately, face distractions from intrusive pop-ups, encounter bugs, or show behaviors like repeated rage clicks, indicating an issue with user experience.

On-Site Surveys

While heatmaps can give you an understanding of what’s going wrong and where on your site, you could also just ask your users directly.

Use an on-site mobile surveys to get an idea of what is missing on your page from the user’s end or interrupting their browsing session on your page.

Source: CXL.

Depending on the information you are looking for, you can ask both open and closed-ended questions. Once you’ve collected responses, analyze them for patterns or insights that could guide you toward the possible reasons and solutions.

 Recap

•  Heatmaps:
– Visual representations of user interaction data on webpages.
– Highlights areas of attention, clicks, mouse movements, and scrolling behavior.

• Scroll Heatmaps:
– Shows user scrolling behavior and identifies missed content.
– Helps emphasize important elements to reduce exit rates.

• Click Maps:
– Displays user click patterns to optimize layout and engagement.
– Identifies elements attracting attention and those being ignored.

• Session Recordings:
– Helps understand user engagement and drop-off reasons.
– Used to review sessions ending on high-departure drop-off pages and identify issues like inaccurate content viewing or distractions.

• On-Site Surveys:
– Used to gather direct user feedback to complement heatmap insights.
– Used to identify missing elements or browsing interruptions and analyze responses for patterns to guide improvements.

Tips for Reducing Bounce Rate

A bounce occurs whenever a visitor does not want to continue on your site. First, work on improving user engagement and experience.  Here’s how you can do that.

Create Relevant Landing Pages

I highly recommend creating relevant landing pages with content that matches the promises conveyed in your marketing campaigns.

EcomPlus Ecommerce Home Page

Image: How to design your landing page.

For example, if an advertisement highlights a discount on wireless headphones, the landing page should display the offer. When visitors find what they are promised upon clicking an ad, they are more inclined to remain and explore, resulting in a decrease in the drop off rate.

Get Rid of Annoying Pop-ups

Allow users enough time to explore your content before triggering a pop-up. It’s important to ensure that the pop-up can be easily closed on both desktop and mobile platforms without redirecting the visitors to another page, resulting in smooth navigation and a low drop off rate.

Improving Page Loading Speed

Slow-loading pages can lead users to drop off sooner. Use heatmap tools to pinpoint elements slowing down your site and optimize them accordingly. Enhance page speeds by compressing images, reducing JavaScript files, and using a dependable hosting service.

Interlink Your Pages

Encourage users to explore pages on your site by internally linking to relevant content. Avoid external links on landing pages that drive users away from your site. Keep external links to a minimum, but if you are, avoid having external links opening on new tabs so as not to disturb the session.

Tips for Reducing Exit Rate

To reduce your exit rate, first understand why people are leaving. Then, optimize your exit pages (ideally, your checkout pages) to increase your chances of conversion or sale, such as streamlining your checkout process and offering incentives like discounts or free shipping.

Here’s how you can reduce the departure rate.

Provide Quality Content

Deliver value to the readers by producing engaging and relevant content that will urge them to explore further pages on your site.  Use headers, bullets, images, and short paragraphs to make your content easier to read or skim through at first glance. Deliver value as soon as possible to grasp the readers’ attention.

Remember to keep your content as relevant as possible and avoid misleading or false advertisements.

Site Navigation

Make sure your website navigation is simple and straightforward. Complicated navigation can annoy users, making them more likely to exit your site before making a call to action.

Use descriptive labels in menus and organize your pages in a way that guides users through your site naturally. Incorporate internal links to related pages wherever it makes sense to do so.

Key pages like return policies, shipping fees, and contact information should be easily accessible.

Simplify The Conversion Funnel

A conversion funnel is the customer’s journey, showing their progression from initial engagement to desired actions like making a purchase or signing up. If users constantly exit at specific stages, like during the checkout process of ecommerce confirmation pages, there might be a problem with your funnel’s design.

Certain aspects of the pages may be causing friction, confusion, or dissatisfaction for users, leading them to exit the funnel without making a purchase.

Review sessions where visitors navigate at least two pages before leaving. Simplify the process by removing unnecessary steps and ensuring ease of conversion with clear calls-to-action and clear instructions.

Mobile Optimization

As the number of users browsing on mobile devices continues to rise, having a mobile-friendly site is extremely necessary. Users will leave if your site is difficult to navigate on their mobile. Therefore, it’s essential to implement responsive design to ensure your site looks and functions well across all devices.

Mobile optimization means making your site easy to navigate, ensuring fast loading times, and optimizing content for smaller screens.

Recap

• Provide Quality Content:
– Deliver engaging and relevant content to captivate readers and encourage exploration.
– Use headers, bullets, images, and concise paragraphs for improved readability.
– Maintain content relevancy and avoid misleading information.

Site Navigation:
– Keep website navigation simple and intuitive to prevent user frustration.
– Use descriptive labels in menus and organize pages logically.
– Ensure key pages like return policies and contact information are easily accessible.

• Simplify The Conversion Funnel:
– Analyze user journeys to identify potential bottlenecks or friction points.
– Streamline the conversion process by removing unnecessary steps.
– Optimize calls-to-action and instructions.

Mobile Optimization:
– Use responsive design for optimal performance across devices.
– Enhance site navigation and loading times for mobile users.

Conclusion

Bounce rate and exit rate shouldn’t be considered strict measures of the success or failure of your website. They should be used to indicate the potential issues and areas for improvement with your site rather than an absolute judgment.

Instead of relying solely on overall bounce and exit metrics, I suggest dissecting your data into segments highlighting pages with potential weakness areas in your sales funnel.

Simplifying navigation, speeding up page loading, and improving the conversion process can reduce bounce and exit percentages, keeping more visitors engaged and boosting your chances of conversion.

FAQ

1. Does a high exit rate indicate a high bounce ratio?

Not really. Users might explore multiple pages before exiting, leading to a high exit rate but a low bounce or drop off rate.

2. Can a page have a high exit rate but a low bounce ratio?

Yes. Not every exit indicates a high drop off rate. For example, a confirmation page following a purchase. A high exit rate on this page isn’t concerning because customers have concluded their payment journey, resulting in a high exit rate but a low bounce rate since they haven’t bounced off the site.

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

Both metrics provide valuable insights into user behavior. The bounce percentage reflects initial engagement, and the exit rate reflects where users typically exit their sessions. Using both these metrics helps identify pages that require improvement.

Gaby Alexander

Gaby Alexander

Gaby is a search marketing enthusiast with a passion for helping agencies improve their ROI through effective link-building strategies. With expertise in Google Campaign Manager, HubSpot Inbound Marketing, and SEMrush, Gaby provides valuable insights and guidance to optimize search marketing campaigns.

Gaby Alexander

Gaby Alexander

Gaby is a search marketing enthusiast with a passion for helping agencies improve their ROI through effective link-building strategies. With expertise in Google Campaign Manager, HubSpot Inbound Marketing, and SEMrush, Gaby provides valuable insights and guidance to optimize search marketing campaigns.

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