Bounce rate and exit rate are sometimes used interchangeably as though they mean the same thing. While they do differ, both of them can be used to tell you if a landing page is working and also how it can be improved.
The exit rate is the percentage of pages that were last viewed in any given session, and bounce rate only applies when there is one page per session. Bounce rate is only relevant when users view a single page of your website and then leave right away. Exit rate measures what page they viewed right before they decided to leave.
Both rates can be used to determine which pages on your site are weakest and give you clues as to what turned them off. But first, you must know how to interpret these measures. A high bounce rate, for example, can mean a specific element of your website is turning people off to leave right away. What is causing this issue? Setting up a split A/B test of that page can help determine the answer.
Bounce rate relies on many variables in both the type of traffic you are receiving and the type of content you are offering. Blogs, for example, have very high bounce rates. This is because people generally pop in for the latest posting, or happen across a posting that is relevant to their search, and then they leave. This doesn’t mean it’s a bad blog posting. It just means they got what they came for and moved on. They may have subscribed to your RSS feed during their visit, and bounce rates have no means of determining that.
A second reason for a high bounce rate is the wrong type of traffic clicking over to your site. Here’s where there is room to improve. Google Analytics provides insight on entrance sources, or places that led users to your site, and also the keywords responsible for such. So if you’re seeing a lack of hits from your Facebook page, but a lot of people are clicking on an ad you’ve posted on a categorically similar website, then you know you need to provide more enticing and interactive Facebook posts, and maybe ramp up some of your advertising on alternate sites. Operating a successful website is mainly a process of trial and error. Luckily, we have a lot of tools these days to help us out.
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