About Website Conversion Rate Author: Steve Jackson Published: Monday, October 25, 2004
Conversion rate as a key website advertising metric
A conversion rate is a measurement, also often referred to as a metric, which is defined as the percentage of visitors who take or complete a desired action. This is probably the most important metric you can measure. By measuring a percentage of visitors you can guage how well or how badly your website is doing regardless of traffic levels. Conversion rates vary from website to website and measurement techniques are not standardized yet. To give you a rough idea, we have defined what we consider to be the critical conversion rates for four types of business websites.
Retail or e-commerce websites
The conversion measurement should be the number of visitors who make a purchase directly from the website as a percentage of total visitors. A successful convert is the visitor who is guided by your website to buy one of your products.
A typical conversion rate will be between 0.5%-8% depending on the sector, target market and quality of the site and proposition. Within retail financial services online, for example, 1 - 2% would be typical with 2% being very good. For retailers, the high end can go up to 8% but this is exceptional and only the case for the very best pure-play e-tailers. For a ‘clicks to bricks’ e-commerce site targeting consumers, you will usually expect between 1% and 2% of visits to culminate in a sale with 5% representing “best in class”.
Conversion rate for lead generation sites
The conversion measurement should be the number of visitors as a percentage of total visitors who opt-in and give you the right to contact them again. A successful convert is therefore someone who has registered their interest, filled in your contact forms to download white papers or simply got in touch with you directly through your website. Companies with an optional and free registration process commonly get 2% - 3% of visitors to register. When added to buyers (who also have to register) companies frequently find they have the personal details of about 5% of visitors.
Conversion rate for content websites
The conversion measurement should be the number of visitors as a percentage of total visitors, who sign up to receive more information or register their details to become a part of your community. A successful convert is, therefore, someone who has subscribed to your newsletter, filled in your contact forms to subscribe to your forums, or registered to get more information similar to lead generation web sites.
Customer service and support websites
The conversion measurement here is the number of people as a percentage of total visitors, who successfully locate the information you want them to find. A successful convert is, therefore, someone who finds the downloadable FAQ, emails the correct support address or finds the answer they were looking for when searching through the web site database.