Bounce Rate vs Exit Rate (And What They Can Tell You About Your Site)

Bounces rates and exit rates are among the most frequently talked about website metrics, particularly when it comes to eCommerce. What’s less discussed is the difference between the two. A better grasp of distinguishing bounce rate vs exit rate can provide invaluable insights, enabling you to boost website conversion rates and sales.

Bounce rate vs exit rate: website analytics improve eCommerce

Time is money. Did you know that a site’s bounce rate skyrockets when the page takes too long to load? Research by Google indicates that the likelihood of “bounce” increases by a whopping 90% for pages that take 1-5 seconds to load. That’s right, 9/10 site visitors will leave faster than you could read that sentence.

A Google-sponsored study conducted by Deloitte and data company 55 found that speeding up website load time by just one-tenth of a second can significantly improve a business’s bottom line. For instance, travel sites registered a 10% improvement in conversion rates while retail sites saw an 8% upturn.

Surprisingly, the B2B sector has the highest bounce rate. According to a 2020 Contentsquare data report measuring more than 20 billion user sessions across 25+ countries and 11 industries, the average B2B bounce rate was 75%. There were even higher bounce rates for sites accessed via a smartphone (77%) or tablet (83%).

What is Bounce Rate?

A “bounce” occurs when someone opens your website but doesn’t stay to engage with any of its content (i.e., leaving instead of clicking on a link). As there are no further interactions with the page, there’s no way to track the length of the session. Therefore, these single views are recorded as lasting 0 seconds.

Bounce rate is the percentage of these unproductive, single-session views. If your bounce rate is high, it means that visitors are spending minimal time on your homepage before leaving. Either you’re not capturing their attention or you’re making them wait too long. While there are a few exceptions, considering that most homepages act as a gateway to the rest of the site. The last thing your eBusiness needs is a high bounce rate.

Generally, a fairly high bounce rate sits in the 56%–70% range, while the average is between 41% and 55%. You should be aiming for a bounce rate between 26%-40%. Website analytics is key to coming up with smart eCommerce strategies. Another element to be aware of is the type of device being used. For example, the highest bounce rates come from mobile devices, while desktops produce the lowest.

As customer expectations rise, so too does the need for mobile website speed.

It’s also worth noting that, though bounce rates don’t directly impact Google rankings, they do indirectly impact them. This is because they can act as quiet indicators of greater underlying problems, like slow loading times or missing the mark on appealing to your base entirely. This is precisely why site bounce rates are worth your attention.

What is Exit Rate?

Exit rates refer to the percentage of visitors who leave your website from a specific page, regardless of how many pages they viewed previously. The metric is calculated as the number of exits a page experiences out of its total views.

An “exit” describes the point a visitor stops navigating through your site. It provides insight into the performance of individual pages. Armed with these numbers, it’s easier to pinpoint where your site may need improvements.

That being said, high exit rates aren’t necessarily bad. It’s the stage of the customer journey where the exit happens that counts. For instance, if a customer leaves after successfully completing an order, then no problem! But, if they’re exiting on the “cart summary” page before proceeding to checkout, that is a red flag that needs to be addressed.

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Bounce Rate vs Exit Rate: An In-Depth Comparison

Although a bounce can also register as an exit – since the visitor is technically leaving the website – not all exits are bounces. This is because a bounce is never more than a single-page visit, whereas exits can occur after single or multiple page visits.

Let’s put this into perspective. Consider the following hypothetical scenario, which entails a single session per day for five days.

  • Day 1. Open homepage, navigate to contact page, exit site.
  • Day 2. Open homepage, exit immediately.
  • Day 3. Open homepage, navigate to product page, ‘thank you’ page, then exit.
  • Day 4. Open contact page, product page, exit.
  • Day 5. Open product page, exit.

Although all days contain exits, only day 2 and day 5 count as bounces. On the other days, the user browsed a minimum of two pages before exiting.

A website analytics report might read as follows:

  • Homepage: 3 page views, 33% bounce rate, 33% exit rate
  • Product page: 3 page views, 100% bounce rate, 66% exit rate
  • Thank you page: 1 page view, 0% bounce rate, 100% exit rate
  • Contact page: 2 page views, 0% bounce rate, 50% exit rate

The Bottom Line

There isn’t any inherent correlation between bounce rates and exit rates. A low bounce rate doesn’t routinely result in a low exit rate, while a high exit rate doesn’t necessarily translate to a high bounce rate.

bounce rate vs exit rate

High or low bounce/exit rates are very dependent on context. For example, high exit or bounce rates on the contact page usually aren’t a cause for concern; it’s likely the visitor found the information they were looking for and then left. However, a high exit rate of potential buyers from an eCommerce site’s product page could signify a problem with the page itself.

Unlike bounce rate, the exit rate has no impact at all on a website’s Google ranking.

How Can B2B Websites Improve Bounce, Exit Rates?

Here are some simple, effective tips for B2Bs looking to navigate bounce rates and exit rates to improve their eCommerce sites and overall sales.

Speed Up Your Website

Pages that take more than a few seconds to load are one of the main reasons that visitors abandon a website. Aim for 2 seconds or less; 3 seconds is the maximum! This is even more important for mobile sites. Remember that high bounce rates could also hurt your site in Google rankings.

Reasons for long load times range from large images to site server issues. Some ideas for speeding them up include improved caching, eliminating query strings from static pages, optimizing images, or even looking for a faster hosting provider.

Have a Clear, Engaging CTA

Keep things simple with a clear and compelling call to action (CTA). No matter how good your website design and content are, a muddled or hard-to-find CTA might be the difference between action and exit – and that is the difference between money in your pocket and dollars lost to competitors.

It’s also important not to confuse visitors with multiple CTA buttons. What works best is a single, specific, and visually appealing invitation to act. And the more streamlined and effortless the process, the better.

Add Engaging Images/Videos to Your Content

Every picture tells a story, and they do so even faster than words. While written content will always be hugely valuable, engaging images and concise, high-quality videos are guaranteed to draw visitors in – lessening the likelihood of a quick exit. The longer they stay, the more likely they are to interact with the rest of the page.

Consider elements such as audio, music, animation, and narration on your landing page. Just remember that mobile devices might struggle with the amount of data required for long, high-definition videos. This could hamper performance and end up increasing the bounce or exit rate. Be careful!

bounce rate vs exit rate

Add Exit Intent Popups to Pages

Exit-intent technology tracks a user’s interaction with an eCommerce site through their behavior, such as scrolling actions and mouse movement. When it looks like the visitor is about to exit the site, an exit-intent popup is displayed. This can look like a special offer, new products, or any other reason for the customer to remain on the site. This tactic has been shown to decrease cart abandonment, encourage email subscription, and boost revenue.

Open All Outgoing Links to a New Tab

Adding relevant internal and external links to your website can be great for improving its Google ranking. However, one of the inherent dangers in this practice lies in directing traffic away from your site and creating an accidental exit.

To combat this risk, make sure that these links are set to open in a new browser tab or window to keep your own site open. If visitors have to repeatedly hit the back button, they’re less likely to return to your page. This hurts both your bounce rate and exit rate.

Stop Losing Customers: Use the Right Solution

Website analytics can be a powerful tool in maximizing the performance of eCommerce operations. In this article, we’ve looked at the important metrics of bounce rate vs exit rate, and how this data can be used to drive sales, increase conversion rates, and improve Google rankings.

Bounce rates are especially high in the B2B sector. This emphasizes just how vital it is for eCommerce businesses to optimize their website metrics.

This is where Smart Merchandiser by Zobrist can use its visual eCommerce merchandise management solutions to elevate your business. Smart Merchandiser is a SaaS product that runs on IBM Cloud to provide businesses with an innovative, user-friendly way to manage their digital storefront.

Smart Merchandiser leverages automation to streamline and simplify your business’ workflow with eCommerce product management software. Make online merchandising changes in real-time, via a single interface. Secure the benefits of improved website layouts, a better online customer experience, and an enhanced ability to respond to market dynamics.

Smart Merchandiser can revolutionize your B2B eCommerce merchandising business. Contact Zobrist to find out how!