Bounce and Exit Rates

Bounce and exit rate

From chatting to other digital marketers online, one of the questions that we dread when presenting analytics is ‘what’s the difference between bounce rate and exit rate?’ I used to find that the more I tried to explain bounce rate, the more it sounded like I was explaining exit rate!

So, here is the difference presented simply (well, as simply as I can!)

Exit rate is the percentage of times that the page is the last one that the user sees in their session.

Bounce rate is the percentage of times that a page is the only page within a session. So, bounce rate is only relevant if the page that you are analysing is the only one in the session.

The natural reaction to a high bounce rate is panic. But it’s not necessarily time for that – if your website has answered a long-tail question, you may see a bounce; or if someone is looking for your phone number, that might be a search, once page and then bounce. However, these pages are normally fairly deep within the structure of the site: a high bounce rate on huge home page is normally a sign that something is wrong.

Context is important for exit rate too. If you have a user journey that is 3 pages long, then a high exit rate on the last page might not be such bad news.

Analytics often asks more questions than it answers, but hopefully this answers one of the trickiest questions in analytics – if you’ve got a better way of differentiating, please leave a comment!

Image via pamivey.com

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3 Responses to Bounce and Exit Rates

  1. Josh Harcus says:

    Good post Justin! It might be good to add that you should always have some kind of lead capture setup at the end of every ‘traffic pattern’ and have an exit planned out for them. For an example, “Now that you have given us all the information we need to market to you, download this awesome ebook! Or check out our blog! Want to scroll a little more? Then connect with us on these social channels.”

    Obviously we won’t say it exactly like that, but close.

    What are your thoughts? Agree? Disagree?

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