Industry Standard Conversion Rates – Do they exist?

Posted on 21. Sep, 2011 by in Digital Marketing, Stats & Trends

Recently I wrote a post addressing a common client query around industry standard bounce rates. A similar common debate addresses industry standard conversion rates.  Once again we find that clients want to know what a ‘good/average’ conversion rate is for their industry sector, which is understandable.  Sadly, is not quite as simple as that.

To put it simply, there is no ‘right’ conversion rate, and searching for that industry standard ‘average’ to determine whether you deviate from the norm is only hindering your progress. As with bounce rates, conversion rates are only valid if calculated on an individual site basis.

What are Conversion Rates?

One of the things that matters most to our clients is understanding the ROI of any development or marketing activity. We calculate ROI by dividing profit by total costs (digital marketing costs, usability costs, development costs etc). To calculate profit we need to measure conversions, conversion value and profit margin. So we know it’s important but what is a conversion?  What might affect our ability to convert?

A conversion, in its basic form, is the process of turning a visitor to your site into a customer through a purchase, booking, sign-up, registration, lead, or a key page view.  As a business, you first need to define your site goal (the conversion) then measure and monitor its performance.

Measuring Conversion Rates

Once you have your goals set up it is important that you track performance with an analytics package like Google Analytics.  The conversion rate is defined as the number of goal achievements divided by the number of visitors:

Every site is likely to consider different or multiple ends as goals (free consultation, request a call back, download brochure) and therefore conversions, this, combined with other factors (size of site, audience niche, variety of products/services) makes it impossible to accurately establish a standard conversion rate or to compare statistics.  The question that should be being asked instead is ‘how do I increase MY conversion rate?’

So how do you improve Conversion Rates?

Identify where and why you are not converting more or all of your traffic.  I would urge you to stop looking for standard conversion rates for comparison and start asking yourself ‘what can I do better?’  After spending time, effort and money attracting visitors, you now must spend the time giving your visitors content that they want – content that leads them to convert and your profits to increase!

How? I hear you ask. The simple answer is by improving user experience and optimising site content.  Conversion Optimization activities such as AB testing, multivariate testing, landing page optimization (LPO) or content optimization will allow you to investigate user needs, identify areas for improvement implement conversion strategies to improve user experience and increase conversion rates.

Small changes from the positioning of your calls to action, to removing mandatory registration can have significant effects on your conversion rates.

Why Conversion Rates are so individual

In the competitive world we live in, yes it would be nice to have a benchmark figure to either aim or exceed, however this just isn’t the case.  Much like my previous post, the key is not to focus on comparing conversion rates but to concentrate on improving your own through evaluation and testing!

Spend time focusing on what your site goals are, clearly define them and then concentrate on how to improve the conversion process from a users perspective!

Conversion optimisation = Increased conversions = Improved ROI.

It’s as simple as that.







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  • Optilead

    I agree with what you say in how conversion rate is different on a site by site basis as no two sites are similar in terms of design and target audience which always gives them unique figures to work with.  

    • Amy McInnes

      Thanks for your comment.  Its certainly a question asked a lot by clients and like you say, everyone has there own ‘unique figures’ so comparison brings little to no value.