There are tons of different metrics that you might be using to track how close you are to your sales goals, or how effective each piece of your website puzzle is functioning as a unit.
However, an often-overlooked metric that can offer valuable insights into where your website needs improvement are exit rates.
The same way that Northsail always delivers our projects on-time, on-spec, and on-budget, so that our clients know they can rely on us, we understand that sometimes the metrics you aren't tracking are the ones that can have the biggest impact on your future brand strategies.
But what is an exit rate? What's the difference between exit rates and other types of website metrics like bounce rates? What's the average exit rates you should be aiming to hit? Before we get to some tips for how to use exit rate metrics to your benefit, let's dive into the basics.
Before we discuss exit rates, it's important to clarify that there are actually two different types of exits that a user experiences - natural and unnatural.
Natural exits are when the user chooses to either close their browser window or move to a different site. Unnatural exits occur when a user experiences a technical problem that causes them to be forced off the page. This can either be caused by the site, or their own digital device.
An exit rate is a formula that you can use to track how many times visitors are leaving your site from a specific page, using natural exits.
Google Analytics measures this as well, so it's a good metric to start tracking.
This can help provide useful insights into where certain pages in your website may be lacking, or could be causing consumers to turn away from your sales funnel.
In turn, you can use these insights to improve the content and flow of pages with high exit rates, so that you can encourage a higher percentage of visitors to check out other pages on your site, and ideally, encourage better conversion rates in the process.
Although both bounce rates vs. exit rates track visitors leaving your site, the biggest difference between these two important metrics is that bounce rates apply to only single page sessions.
This means that a bounce rate measures how many times over a given period of time that visitors have come to your site, looked at only a single page, and then left your site from that page.
Conversely, exit rates only apply to the pages that visitors are leaving from. So, the customer journey could take them through numerous pages on your site, the exit rate only applies to the specific page they were looking at last, before they chose to exit your site.
To simplify: bounce rates = single page sessions. Exit rates = tracking how many visitors are leaving from a specific page.
Calculating the exit rate formula isn't too difficult, but it's important to note that your exit rate is going to be different for every page on your website.
Simply monitor how many people are visiting that page and then moving on to another page on your site (or further into your conversion funnel), and use that number to divide the amount of people that are choosing to exit your site from that page.
That will give you the exit rate for each specific page.
The number of pages on your site will have a large impact on what your exit rates look like (i.e., only having 2-3 pages outside of your checkout will only leave visitors so many options to choose from).
However, if you're wondering what a good exit rate is, you can rest assured that most sites aim for between 20-30% exit rates on their pages.
If you've got 50-60+ unique pages on your site, you'll have to spend more time thinking about user behavior and the context of one-page visits; especially if your site is offering educationally-driven resources that may draw organic searches on their own, outside your planned marketing funnel.
What do we mean by context is everything? Because user engagement is everything, and your content is your primary digital marketing tool by the time that users have reached your website. As Bill Gates famously said, Content is King.
Irrelevant content is a great way to lose engagement immediately, even if you've managed to get your target audience onto your site.
Sure, there might be a small percentage of people interested in whatever you've decided to throw there, but most people don't have any patience for being bombarded with irrelevant content on their customer journey.
Your real goal here should be to provide meaningful content that not only engages your visitors, but gives you better credibility for search engine analytics tools (i.e., Google Analytics, etc.).
Overloading pages with lots of ultra-high-res images to load, music in the background, videos that play automatically, or extremely large pages that have tons of written and visual content can seem great in theory, but these things are a recipe for disaster.
As soon as your load times begin to slow, because of overloaded or poorly optimized landing pages, it creates a poor user experience.
With the fast-paced world that we live in today, users have no patience for websites with slow loading times, and will often click away before they've even fully seen what you have to offer.
When you're creating high-performance landing pages, keep your loading speeds in mind. Slow-loading pages simply won't convert the way you need them to, and may work counter to your other optimization efforts.
How often do you browse websites on your mobile devices? More and more people are turning to hand-held, portable devices, rather than desktop or laptop computers for their shopping needs.
If you don't optimize each page on your site for mobile viewing, you could run into major problems with how your content is being delivered.
Blog posts can feel unreadable; especially long-form content. Things like table of contents or menus become difficult to navigate for mobile users. Overall, it just creates a bad user experience.
In turn, it will shorten your session durations, reduce the impact of your marketing funnel content strategies, and encourage single-page visits, which will negatively impact both your target bounce rates and exit rates.
Regardless of how many traffic sources your website is drawing potential customers from, your marketing campaigns can't succeed if your website is full of technical issues.
Slow loading pages is just one problem that damages the effect of some websites. Broken links is another pet peeve, which many users have no patience to deal with.
It doesn't matter if it's internal linking to another page on your site or outbound links to a partner's website, these need to remain functional as much as humanly possible. Always is ideal.
Even if your website looks great and feels great to navigate, as soon as visitors come across issues like broken links, your site loses some credibility. In turn, this can lead to them checking out a competitor's page, instead of continuing to explore yours.
When you're trying to create the most efficient landing pages or thinking about your overall site design, one of the most important things to keep in mind is your customer's path-to-purchase.
Any obstacles that could deter your customers from continuing on through your sales funnel are only going to pad your average bounce rates and encourage consumers to take a look at what your competitors are offering.
Everything on each page should be gently nudging your customers further down their path-to-purchase. Whether it's images or videos that help maintain engagement as they move through the page, or interesting content that either educates or demonstrates how your brand can solve problems for them.
Irrelevant content, poor page design, visually unappealing color schemes, or even poor branding can all be unconscious ways that your site is dissuading some consumers from making it to the checkout.
From time to time when you're upgrading your website materials, be sure to spend some time reviewing it through the eyes of your ideal customers, instead of a business owner. This is the first step towards identifying some of these issues, before they start to negatively impact your exit rates.
Now that you understand a bit more about exit rates vs bounce rates, as well as how they can be improved, we're here to tell you we've got a service that can make your next website project a breeze.
We call it Horizon. With Horizon, you can quickly and easily create high-performance landing pages, custom customer data forms, widgets, as well as manage all your website projects from a single, intuitive dashboard.
Best of all, Horizon is free for you to try for 30 days, with no obligation or credit card information required. All we ask is that you tell us a bit about your Horizon experience once your trial is done.
So, if you're ready to start saving time and money on your next website project - without the need for expensive developer oversight - what are you waiting for?
We’ll send you important updates about the early access program and your free invite when we are ready.
Your contact information will only be used for the early access program, not for future sales and marketing.