In today’s article we are taking a quick look at two of the most important metrics available in your Google Analytics Report: The Bounce Rate % and the Exit Rate %.
I will explain what the bounce rate is, what the exit rate is, what factors make these go up or down and why they are important for your business.
For all pageviews to the page, Exit Rate is the percentage that were the last in the session.
For all sessions that start with the page, Bounce Rate is the percentage that were the only one of the session.
It is important to note that the Bounce Rates and Exit Rates are calculated individually for each page of your website. By default only the average Bounce Rate is displayed on the Audience Overview page, like this:
How are the Bounce and Exit Rates Calculated
As mentioned earlier, a website visit will be considered a bounce ONLY when the visitor has quit your website directly from the entrance page (not necessarily the homepage).
Let’s consider a website with only 4 pages: Homepage, Pricing Page, Driving Directions, Contact Us. Now let’s imagine 5 different visits to this website and calculate their bounce and exit rates individually:
- New Visitor > Homepage > EXIT – considered a bounce.
- New Visitor > Homepage > Pricing Page > EXIT – not a bounce.
- New Visitor > Pricing Page > Homepage > Contact Us > EXIT – not a bounce.
- New Visitor > Driving Directions > EXIT – a bounce
- New Visitor > Contact Us > Driving Directions > EXIT – not a bounce
And here’s what the Google Analytics report would tell us about these pages:
- HOMEPAGE: 2 entrances / 3 pageviews / 50% bounce rate / 33% exit rate.
- PRICING PAGE: 1 entrance / 2 pageviews / 0% bounce rate / 50% exit rate.
- DRIVING DIRECTIONS: 1 entrance / 2 pageviews / 100% bounce rate / 100% exit rate.
- CONTACT US: 1 entrance / 2 pageviews / 0% bounce rate / 50% exit rate.
By looking at the above figures you probably already realized that the average bounce rate % doesn’t tell much about your website, unless you have a single-page website (just a landing page).
We have to go deeper and analyze the bounce rate and exit rate for each page of our website.
How to Check the Bounce and Exit Rates for Individual Pages of a Website
From your Google Analytics Dashboard, go to Reporting > Behavior > Site Content > All Pages. In the bottom-right corner of that page we can choose the amount of rows per page. Larger websites will want to analyze at least their top 50 pages.
This is what the report looks like for a hotel website. Thankfully Google Analytics does all the math for us and displays the bounce and exit rates for all pages.
You will notice the immense difference in values between the Blog Pages and Product pages.
This is why it is important to analyze individual pages instead of just looking at the average value in the Dashboard.
How to Use This Data For My Business
It is important to understand that this data is very valuable for business and e-commerce websites, especially when you sell something directly to the visitor.
Using the screen-shot above we can try to analyze the following issue: 2 out of 5 product pages have an exit rate of ~24%, while the other 3 have an exit rate of 40-47%.
Is it because of bad products? Maybe. Or maybe the description of the products is not good enough: the copy (text), the images, the price, etc. Check. Analyze. Make changes. Repeat.
Factors That Affect Page Bounce and Exit Rates
There are numerous factors that can affect the bounce and exit rates for an individual page. Some of them are easy to control/fix, others are out of our reach.
- Music and Streaming Video will often lead to an early exit, avoid them at all costs.
- A slow website will lose you a lot of visitors. If your site takes longer than 3 seconds to load then you’re in big trouble. Read: How to Measure Website Performance and Track Search Engine Rankings.
- Low Quality (Irrelevant) Traffic. If some of your pages rank high for irrelevant keywords and phrases, then your visitors will exit the website early, as it doesn’t contain the expected content.
- Good/Bad page design. It goes without saying that an ugly or dated website will turn visitors away.
- Good/Bad UI/UX (User Interface / User Experience). Don’t confuse your visitors with poor/weird navigation, difficult to understand content structure, etc. There’s a reason why the logo and main menu are always at the top – that’s where visitors expect them to be.
Common Pages That Always Have High Bounce and Exit Rates
There are some pages on a website that will always have high bounce/exit rates:
Contact Us / Where we Are / How to Find Us / Driving Directions
These pages will often appear #1 in a Google Search Results Page when someone searches for “Where is
These pages rarely get real visitors, mostly bots, content scrapers and bored visitors.
The blog is a good tool to generate content and to increase organic traffic, but the bounce rate will always be very high for these pages. Of course there are certain industries where blog posts can engage the visitor better and keep him on the website for longer.
Too many website owners make the mistake of focusing their efforts on increasing their traffic numbers, instead of looking at metrics that could actually improve their business.
If a product page is performing very badly and has an Exit Rate of 80%, then doubling your traffic will have the same impact as lowering your exit rate from 80% to 60%.
Getting reliable and quality traffic is difficult, so instead you should focus on optimizing the things that are under your full control: your website.
- Google Analytics Help: Bounce Rate
- Google Analytics Help: Exit Rate vs. Bounce Rate
- HermesThemes: How to Measure Website Performance and Track Search Engine Rankings
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