Visualizing Exit Rates

Sorry to say, but everyone leaves your website at some point. What’s less clear is what page they leave on and why. One metric that can help answer that question is the exit rate. Before the veteran analysts get up in arms, I’ll explain that the exit rate should be taken in context. The exit rate can be both good and bad. Sites with editorial content should expect high exit rates since people are likely to read the one article they were looking for, then leave. In fact, I bet that’s what you’ll do.

On the flip side, e-commerce sites can look at the exit rate for each of their product pages and determine which products are driving people away. Then, like any good marketer, improve the pages or create a test plan to reduce the exit rate (de facto improve order/conversion rates). BUT keep in mind it’s not always the page that’s the issue – maybe the product is out-of-stock, the wrong size, or the product just…well, sucks.

The chart below shows a great way to visualize exit rates and make them actionable – note the quadrants. I suggest adding a second metrics, in this case I used share of pageviews, to ensure that you’re focusing on the right opportunity. Pageviews is going to give you a measure of how many people get to that product page. After all, what good is improve a page nobody goes to? Another good idea is to replace pageviews with other profitability metrics. This will help you focus on pages that are going to benefit the bottom line.

Good luck!

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