Google Analytics Bounce Rate V/s Exit Rate

Bounce rate and Exit rate are 2 metrics whose definitions and names often manage to confuse analysts and this is one of my favorite topics to talk about in my Google Analytics trainings.
Let’s start by Understanding official definitions of both.

Bounce Rate: The percentage of single-page session (single page sessions / total sessions ) %

Exit Rate: The percentage of exits from the property that occurred out of the total pageviews. (exits / pageviews )%


Let’s try to understand this with a practical example

Here are some navigation paths of users for for one day

User A → Clicks on Organic search → Page A → Page B → Page C → Exit

User B → Clicks on paid search → Page A → Exit

User C → Visits website direct → Page C → Page A → Page B → Exit

User D → Clicks on Organic search → Page B → Exit

User E → Clicks on paid search → Page A → Page C → Page B → Exit

User F → Visits website direct → Page B → Page C → Page A → Exit


In example above its very easy to calculate bounce rate for website.
Bounce rate = 2 (Single Page sessions) / Total Sessions (6) % = 33%

Although Bounce rate can be function of several factors, 2 factors which affect bounce rate most are page content and source of visit.

Bounce rate by source

Organic search Bounce rate : 1 / 2% = 50%

Paid search Bounce rate : 1 / 2% = 50%

Direct bounce rate : 0 / 2 % = 0%

Bounce rate by landing page: In this case formula for Bounce rate will be : Single page sessions / Entrances to page (Where page was landing page)

Page A: 1 / 3 % = 33%

Page B: 1 / 2 % = 50%

Page C: 0 / 0 % = NA / 0

As the above example demonstrates the formula of bounce rate is different for source level calculation and page level calculation. Now lets take a look at Exit rate

Before we start calculating exit rate we need to understand that every session on website will end at some point and exit rate is calculated based on pageviews. Which means more the pages per session, the lower the exit rate will be.

Exit rate for website: 6 / 14 = 43%

Exit rate by source: exits / total pageviews attributed to source

Organic search exit rate : 2 / 4 % = 50%

Paid search exit rate : 2 / 4 = 50 %

Exit rate for direct visits : 2 / 6 = 33%

Exit rate by page : Sessions where page was last page of session / total pageviews of the page

Page A: 2 / 5 = 40%

Page B : 3 / 5 = 60%

Page C : 1 / 4 = 25%

As definitions for both of these metrics have some overlaps and have slight changes depending on dimensions of the report it’s very easy to get confused with either of these metrics. Hope this above example clearly demonstrates the difference between these metrics.

Tip: Every bounce is also an exit but every exit not bounce……

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AuthorNIkhil Parachure

Nikhil is nothing short of "Swiss Knife of Digital Marketing" over the course of last 10 years he has been involved in practically every facet of Digital Marketing and Analytics. Starting career with paid search Nikhil has built and managed award winning digital campaigns, has been Google Adwords Top Contributor, Planned and implemented several complex and large scale web and mobile analytics implementations. Currently working for a leading ecommerce platform in India as Head of Digital Marketing Nikhil has also conducted analytics and marketing trainings for several MNCs.

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