Bounce Rate and Exit Rate: What's the Difference?

October 8, 2020
3 min

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Did that prospect bounce or just exit? When it comes to tracking user behavior on your website, bounce rate and exit rate are useful metrics for measuring your website performance. It’s important to consider them separately, as they’re unique metrics that each define a certain behavior set. Let’s look at the differences!

What Is a Website Bounce?

A bounce is a single-page session on your website. For example, a user enters your site and immediately leaves without browsing any other pages. You’ve likely heard about “bounce rates.” This important data point is calculated by dividing the total single-page visits by the total entrance visits.

Now, bounce rates can indicate a few things:

The website only has one page.

Some organizations have a single-page site that scrolls and contains in-page anchors for navigation. If you don’t have other pages for visitors to browse, you’ll have a high bounce rate.

The website content is irrelevant to the user’s search.

High bounce rates, especially with a short time on page, indicate that the visitor arrived and immediately decided that the content on the page wasn’t what they were looking for. Make sure you also look at time on page when evaluating bounce results.

The user found what they needed.

A bounce can also mean that they came, looked at your content, and left. If you have high bounces but high time on page, this is likely the case. If this is happening, make sure that you add a call-to-action (CTA) or a conversion action on these pages to capture leads.

It can also help to evaluate the entry point to these pages. See if you have a high bounce because you’re sending visitors to a page as part of a campaign with an expectation that they’ll consume content and depart.

Bounce Rate Benchmarks

Naturally, as every industry (and every website within that industry) has different goals and audiences, there’s no one bounce rate benchmark to aim for. That said, the average website typically has a bounce rate around 40.5%, according to research by Neil Patel.

Here’s a quick breakdown:

  • Normal: 26% – 70%
  • Good: 41% – 50%
  • Excellent: 26% – 40%

What Is a Website Exit?

An exit indicates the last page that a visitor looks at before they leave the website. This could be a bounce or the conclusion of a browsing session. It just notes the last page the user looked at before departing. Your page’s exit rate is calculated by dividing the total exits from a page by the total visits to a page.

Exits aren’t bad—eventually every visitor has to leave. What we want to look at is where they are leaving from.

Ideally you want your prospect to exit from a page that indicates conversion activity, such as a contact form or a page with gated content.

If people are exiting from your homepage or other “top level” pages, you’ll want to take a hard look at your CTAs and user experience. Your website should guide a customer journey and easily provide them with CTAs and simple ways to take next steps.

Evaluating Bounces and Exits on Mobile vs Desktop

Make sure you evaluate bounces and exits for desktop and mobile separately! Bounce rates and exit rates are often disproportionally high on mobile devices, which indicates a problem with your website’s mobile experience.

There you have it! A quick overview of website bounces and exits—and why they matter. To learn more (especially if you’re a Google Analytics user), here’s an in-depth guide.