Let’s start by defining conversion…

What we mean when we talk about conversion is when a visitor to your website takes an action that you want them to take.

But what does that look like to you? It could be signing up for an email newsletter, creating an account with a login and password, making a purchase, downloading your app, calling your office (with a tracking #)or something else entirely.

Whatever it is you want your visitors to do, this action is what you are going to measure and what you are looking to optimize.


  • Conversion Rate Optimization Is…

    • A structured and systematic approach to improving the performance of your website
    • Informed by insights—specifically, analytics and user feedback
    • Defined by your website’s unique objectives and needs (KPIs)
    • Taking the traffic you already have and making the most of it

    Conversion Rate Optimization Is Not…

    • Based on guesses, hunches, or what everyone else is doing
    • Driven by the highest paid person’s opinion
    • About getting as many users as possible, regardless of quality or engagement

A Few Key Terms…

These are concepts and ideas that will come up again and again in this guide, so now is the time to familiarize yourself with them.

    • Call to Action (CTA)

      The primary button, link or other user interface element that asks the user to take an action that leads to (or towards) a conversion. A “Buy Now” button on Amazon.com, a “Sign Up” button on an email registration field, a “Download Now” on an app landing page are examples of different Calls to Action.

    • Conversion Funnel

      The primary pathway (or flow) of the user experience where visitors complete a conversion. On Amazon.com the funnel may be Home page > search results page > product page > checkout.

    • A/B or Split Testing

      The testing of one version of a page or interface element against another version of the same thing. Each element is measured by its effectiveness in comparison to the other. For example, a red button measured in effectiveness to a green button. In A/B testing only one thing is tested at a time.

    • Multivariate Testing (MVT)

      The testing of multiple variations of many different page elements in various combinations to determine the best performing elements and combinations. For example, a multivariate landing test may test many variations of the pictures, copy, and calls to action used on the page in many combinations to find the best performer.


    Now About Those Statistics…

    Here’s an overview of the things you are going to measure in order to gauge your current rate of conversion, identify the trouble spots, and design a plan of action. You can get these numbers through Google Analytics, KISSmetrics, or another analytics service of your choosing. The numbers critical to CRO are as follows:



    Let’s start with the numbers we’re looking to improve—Conversion Rates

    Your Total Conversions is number of people who did whatever it is defined as converting (email newsletter, made a purchase, and so on).

    To get your Conversion Rates, you divide the above total number of conversions by the number of visitors to your site.

    For example, a site with 5000 visitors and 50 conversions has a conversion rate of 1%.


    But how long are people spending on your site? Which pages are they visiting while there? This next set of numbers can help you to form some testable hypotheses. Looking at your Bounce and Exit Rates, as well as your Engagement Metrics, is the first step in making sense of your conversion rate.


    3 – Bounce Rate

    Your Bounce Rate is the percentage of people who leave after viewing a single page. A high bounce rate is not a good thing–for whatever reason, people aren’t finding what they’re looking for so they leave almost immediately.


    4 – Exit Rate

    You also have a specificExit Rate for each page; it’s the percentage of people who leave after viewing the page. Your exit rate lets you know the last page that users view before they move on. A very high exit rate on a specific page can be a red flag.


    5 – Average Time on Site

    An Engagement Metric, the Average Time on Siteof users gives you a general idea how long people are sticking around. A high bounce rate means a low average time on site—visitors aren’t sticking around long enough to do whatever it is you want them to do.


    6 – Average Page Views

    Similarly, Average Page Views is an Engagement Metric that tells you how many pages the average visitor through before leaving. More page views can mean engagement but also can mean a lack of clarity in your conversion funnel, if there is no conversion.

     


    So…What is a Good Conversion Rate?

    Hint: it’s a lot higher than you may think.

    Conventional wisdom says that a good conversion rate is somewhere around 2% to 5%. If you’re sitting at 2%, an improvement to 4% seems like a massive jump. You doubled your conversion rate! Well, congratulations, but you’re still stuck in the average performance bucket.

    In this analysis, we started with all accounts we can analyze and went back a period of 3 months. We removed those that didn’t have conversion tracking set up properly, those with low conversion volumes (<10 conversions/month), and low volume accounts (<100 clicks/month), leaving hundreds of accounts for our analysis. We then plotted where the accounts fit in terms of conversion rate.

    conversion rate distribution

    So what is a good conversion rate? About 1/4 of all accounts have less than 1% conversion rates. The median was 2.35%, but the top 25% of accounts have twice that – 5.31% – or greater. Check out the far right red bar – the top 10% of AdWords advertisers have account conversion rates of 11.45%.

    Remember, this isn’t for individual landing pages – these advertisers are accomplishing 11.45% conversion and higher across their entire account.

    Clearly, this isn’t some anomaly; this is perfectly attainable. If you’re currently getting 5% conversion rates, you’re outperforming 75% of advertisers … but you still have a ton of room to grow!

    best conversion rates

    You should be shooting for 10%, 20%, or even higher, putting your conversion rates 3x to 5x higher than the average conversion rate. Aspire to have these landing page conversion rate unicorns in your account.

    But Conversion Rates Are Lower in My Industry…

    That’s entirely possible. We segmented conversion rate data by industry to see whether these insights held true for all marketers. Here’s what we found in an analysis of four major industries:

    conversion rates by industry