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Bounce Rate Vs Exit Rate: Understanding these Key Metrics

You might be shocked to learn how the subtle differences between bounce rate vs exit rate metrics can have dramatic effects on your entire digital strategy!

While not direct ranking factors, high bounce rates or high exit rates can indicate low-quality content, a poor user experience, or technical problems.

However, the situation is more nuanced because certain types of websites typically experience high bounce rates, which are considered normal.

Let’s explore bounce rates vs exit rates and discover ways to reduce them, keeping visitors engaged on your website.

Bounce Rate Vs Exit Rate: Table of Contents

What is Bounce Rate?

First of all, let’s define what bounce rate is according to Google:

google bot

bounce is a single-page session on your site. In [Google] Analytics, a bounce is calculated specifically as a session that triggers only a single request to the Analytics server, such as when a user opens a single page on your site and then exits without triggering any other requests to the Analytics server during that session.

Source: Google – bounce rate

So, from Google’s definition we can understand a “bounce” to be when a user visits a page on a website from the Google search page or elsewhere and then “bounces” back to the previous page or exits the website.

The bounce rate is the % of sessions that are single session.

Is a high bounce rate bad?

Not necessarily. A rapid bounce indicates that the visitor didn’t read the article, which is a negative indicator. However, if someone visits a single page, spends several minutes reading the entire content, and exits by clicking on an affiliate link or ad banner, it would be considered a successful interaction by most bloggers or website owners.

Wouldn’t you agree?


65-90%

average bounce rates for dictionaries, portals, blogs and generally websites that revolve around news and events

Source: Custom Media Labs – Bounce Rates


Bloggers should expect high bounce rates. This isn’t surprising considering once a visitor has read your article, they are probably finished with your website unless they spot something else to read.

What is Exit Rate?

Exit rate measures the percentage of visitors who leave a website from a particular page.

It can indicate low quality content for that page. Or perhaps it could mean you don’t have enough internal links or recommended posts from that page resulting in a visitor going elsewhere.

It’s the last page visited before exiting your website.

Exit rates are per page and measure the percentage of visitors who exited your website from that page.

Bounce Rate Vs Exit Rate: The Key Differences

Now we know what bounce rate and exit rate are. What are the key differences?

Bounce rate refers to the first page visited on your website because it tracks single page sessions. Exit page, on the other hand, can refer to any page on your website and tracks the last page visited.

Both are useful for understanding user engagement on your site. Bounce rates, in addition to user engagement, can indicate site-wide problems such as a slow loading website, not having a mobile friendly site or other visual layout issues.

A high exit rate on a particular page can indicate quality issues or lack of internal links that a visitor can follow.

Both bounce rate and exit rate are valuable metrics to track and help you understand user engagement on your site.

How to Reduce Your Bounce Rate and Exit Rate

Bounce Rate vs Exit Rate

Typically methods that improve and enhance user engagement will result in reduced bounce rates/exit rates. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Speed up your website loading (for instance choose a fast loading theme)
  2. Use easy to read fonts that are large enough for all age groups and use high contrast colors
  3. Use sidebar or footer widgets with recommended posts to keep visitors on your site
  4. Better, simpler navigation (include archives, categories, search and recommended posts)
  5. Consider the benefits of a CDN especially if your have international visitors
  6. Include recommended action on the page (e.g. a Call-to-Action button or link)
  7. Use a mobile friendly design
  8. Use high-quality images and videos (ensure images are fast loading)
  9. Use social proof, such as customer reviews and testimonials
  10. Provide people-first, useful, reliable and relevant content

You can check the exit rates to identify individual problem pages.

If you find individual pages causing a high number of visitors to exit your site check the content quality. Is the content well written? Does it have enough high quality images? Have you included enough white space between paragraphs? Do you include enough web links (internal and external)?

Consider doing a web audit on your site to identify issues with your content.

Average Bounce Rate By Industry

Bounce rates can vary widely depending on the specific focus or niche, its target audience, and other factors (such as website layout and mobile friendliness). The figures provided are broad averages based on industry trends:

IndustryAverage Bounce Rate (%)
Retail / E-commerce20% – 45%
B2B (Business-to-Business)30% – 50%
Real Estate30% – 50%
Healthcare55% – 70%
Media / Publishing40% – 60%
Finance / Banking30% – 50%
Technology / Software30% – 55%
Travel and Hospitality20% – 40%
Education50% – 70%
Nonprofit Organizations30% – 60%
Legal Services40% – 65%
Entertainment / Lifestyle40% – 60%

Use these figures as a benchmark to guide you with your own website. If your bounce rates are substantially higher than your industry you may want to consider what specific factors are causing the higher bounce rate.

Low Bounce vs High Bounce – Does It Matter?

It depends on the purpose of your website.

If each article is a standalone piece of content meant to inform a reader then a high bounce rate is fine.

If, however, you want and expect a user to do something else after reading your article such as:

  • Click on a Call-to-action (CTA) button, (e.g. join our newsletter, sign up for a free ebook)
  • Purchase something from your website (ecommerce, retail website)
  • Fill in a contact form or get a quotation from you

Then a high bounce rate is bad.

For ecommerce sites or retail/service website it is usually bad to have high bounce rates.

Bounce Rate vs Exit Rate: Tracking and Measuring These Metrics

track your bounce rate

You will need to track your bounce rates using analytics software. Google Analytics is free to use but can be difficult to customize.

For a simple analytics set up you can use Clicky. You need to add one script tag to each page and then you are done! It’s not as comprehensive or powerful as Google Analytics but I find it easier to use.

One word of caution. Check how your analytics software defines bounce rate. For instance, Clicky considers visitors who stay on the page for 30 seconds or less to have “bounced”. Single session visits of 30+ seconds are not considered bounces.

Bounce Rate vs Exit Rate: Final Thoughts

Thanks for reading! Here are the key takeaways:

  • Bounce rate is the % of single session visits
  • Exit rate is the % of visitors who leave from a particular page
  • A high bounce rate can indicate low quality content or problems with the website
  • A high exit rate can indicate quality issues with that particular page
  • Certain industries/niches have high bounce rates – this is normal
  • Track bounce rates and exit rates using analytics software

Now that you know the differences between bounce rate vs exit rate and their importance the next task is to track them. A simple to use – and free – analytics tool is Clicky. Simply add the script to your website or install the plugin and start tracking these key metrics!

Get Clicky

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