Have you ever wondered what distinguishes idle “passing by” visitors from real value-adding customers? For any business website oriented towards marketing, the conversion rate is among metrics with utmost importance. The notion may be seen in a narrow as well as in a broader sense and do its great job even for entertainment or information websites as well.
Conversion rate measures the share of website visitors who perform some desired action like clicking a banner ad or watching a movie. It is thus calculated as the ratio of those who do to the total number of page views. In the most general assessment, even visiting the website isn’t necessary because the customer may have received an email newsletter and called the phone number – that would apparently indicate effectiveness of email marketing.
Website owners could only hope that all visitors would eventually purchase goods or services being advertised. In reality, it is far from that. According to WordStream, as of 2020, 2.35% was that average conversion rate for all industries. The upper quartile isn’t much higher (5.31%), and only 10% of all websites convert more than 11.45% of their visitors into paying customers.
Thus, even in the best case, almost 9 out of 10 come and go. Although they may still bring you benefits otherwise, for example, by placing a backlink somewhere or telling someone about your company, at the moment, they add nothing to conversion. What to do with it then? Let’s have a look at several important ways to make conversion rate optimization a real game-changer.
Conversion rate is an indispensable metric for any web marketing strategy, at the same time not being a goal itself. A plan to raise conversion by X% is actually a bad plan because it gives nothing without a clear understanding of:
- How much the company is ready to pay for each additional customer, and
- A total number of customers it is physically able to serve.
Set realistic goals for your online store or whatever website you run. No matter how arbitrary the notion sounds, even conversion should be realistic itself, for example:
- Number of goods purchased or services ordered
- Number of new subscriptions to newsletters
- New registrations which allow a visitor access to the restricted content
- Number of downloads of a certain file
- Number of returning visitors
- Number of sessions / page views
- Duration of sessions
Analysis and Management
A popular and free instrument for easy analysis of the last three factors from the list is Google Analytics which gathers visitors’ statistics to be later displayed the way you like. For example, if the timeframe for the new online marketing campaign was set equal to one week, 8-14 April, with a click of a mouse, it is possible to see how long visitors stayed on the website’s pages on average. Thus, it is possible to calculate the correlation between the duration of sessions and successful conversion – in other words, how careful examination of the content increases its chances.
More importantly, Google Analytics also allows checking sources of all newcomers and returning visitors, thus measuring the relative importance of various types of online marketing strategies. Choosing the optimal option for backlink placement between what’s available is crucial for managing business remotely. The latter has become a “new normal” for many companies facing lockdown due to the pandemic nowadays.
Just as an example, the largest share of visitors of a known Russian information website is caused by organic traffic. Social media brings slightly above 6% of all visitors. The goal conversion rate wasn’t set because the website is not selling any goods or services.
If it was, one could approximate how many of those clicking backlinks in social media (predominantly in Instagram and on Facebook in the example: 225 and 198 for the week 8-14 April, respectively) would be “converted” by substituting the above-mentioned all-industries average 2.35% as a proxy.
This gives 4-5 paying customers per week. The result isn’t bad, but relative importance requires weighting the results against other traffic sources to decide whether to use an easy tool like linksmanagement.com to get more backlinks, or do the opposite by cutting investments in that direction.
One of the key goals for any business website owner is to increase traffic from resources with great conversion, and those may be tracked by conversion rates. With that information, it is also easy to evaluate costs to attract each new customer and the expected additional value he or she brings, thus calculating the return on investments (ROI).
In the above realistic conversion goals list, the number of times a certain file has been downloaded (or a certain video has been opened) is, in fact, an example of micro conversions – each of the small steps that bring visitors closer to accomplishment of “macro” conversion, or the desired action website owners want to be accomplished. Managers working on convergence rate optimization would most surely monitor micro conversions carefully to discover possible bottlenecks impeding the conversion process.
Depending on the marketing strategy, the following non-exhaustive list of actions performed by website visitors could be seen as micro conversions, thus being an informative source of information of how fast they follow the conversion path (or the “sales funnel”, as it is also called):
- Studying the good’s detailed characteristics
- Filling in the order/Sharing contact details with sales managers
- Going to pages with complementary products or substitutes
- Adding the product to the shopping cart
- Continuing browsing after that
- Adding the second product
- Proceeding to checkout
An Indicator of User Experience
It is impossible to understand what makes clients “bounce” off the website and not purchase without studying their behavior. Only with that will it become possible to make corrections to the website’s design, quality of content, or resolve technical issues.
Speaking of which – the announcement of core web vitals by Google in 2020, with May-2021 being the effective date, was done for a reason. The whole initiative is an evolutionary step taken by the company towards the adoption of a universal approach to quantify user perception of all web pages, not taking content quality into account.
How fast is the page loading, how soon it becomes interactive, or how big are the shifts of the page’s elements when it is still loading – this all greatly affects the users’ attitude. With poor web vitals, they most likely leave without making a conversion. With the new aspect of website optimization put into common practice, three new indicators will come along with the conversion rate because the former is the cause while the latter is the effect, that’s the logic.
An Ultimate Measure of Satisfaction
No matter how simple the calculation is, the conversion rate is an ingenious metric to tell how much visitors like your website without asking them directly. The latter as an option is technically also possible, of course, with online surveys and other methods, although not always feasible.
Conversion is the ultimate goal of any business website. If it is not done, or the conversion rate is far below what could be seen as satisfactory, it simply means your website is not doing its job the way you hoped it would do. With dozens of possible reasons to be examined, it all starts and finishes by checking the conversion metric.
Guest Author Bio: Marie Barnes is a journalist, freelance writer, and editor at Studyscroll. She has worked for many major publications, but she also ambitiously pursues challenging freelance projects. Her love for traveling motivates her to explore the world. Marie wants to inspire people to follow their dreams by sharing her experiences online.