The truth is that Conversion Rate is a very general term that can be applied to different fields of work. It is commonly used in the Digital Marketing Industry to evaluate the performance of their websites and advertising campaigns. But, how?
For you to leave here as an expert on Conversion Rate, there are some previous concepts I want to explain to you, that will give you a full understanding of the subject.
What is a Metric?
Basically, a metric is the measurement of a specific process. Everything measurable is, in a way, a metric.
In Digital Marketing, there are some simple metrics (like counting views, visits or clicks) and some others that are a bit more difficult to understand, because they usually involve maths (Conversion Rate being one of them).
Some of the most common and easy to understand metrics are:
- Users or Unique Visitors: The amount of unique people that entered your site. A person only counts as one Unique Visitor, no matter how many times he or she enters the webpage (disclaimer: only if the cookie that tracks that user, is capable of tracking it long enough).
- Sessions: In Google Analytics, a session starts every time someone visits your website, and ends after 30 minutes of inactivity. All activity tracked during this period of time, makes up one “Session.” So, a person can have multiple sessions.
- Average session duration: How long, on average, visitors are staying on your website.
- Page view: Any view of a page that is being tracked.
- Page view by page: The amount of views each page has on your website.
- Reach: Used to determine the number of unique people that were reached by your ad.
- Impressions: The number of times your ad was shown to someone (which is different from Reach, because a person can only be reached once, but have several impressions of an ad).
- Clicks: Amount of clicks that an ad or button gets.
- Leads: A lead is a person that has shown interest in your company. It can be by calling, filling a form, etc. It is a person that is nearer to be a customer than a complete stranger.
- Views: Amount of views a video has.
- Likes: Amount of Likes in a post or ad.
- Shares: Amount of shares of a post or ad.
- Comments: Amount of comments of post or ad.
Conversion Rate is also a metric; meaning that its purpose is to measure a certain thing. As I said earlier, it is a bit more complex than counting how many clicks you’ve got on a Facebook Ad. For understanding what is Conversion Rate and how to improve it, first, you have to understand what a “conversion” means.
What is a Conversion?
Let’s make an example:
Jennifer is the owner of an online shoe store. Obviously, her objective will be to sell shoes. So, every time a person buys a pair of shoes, she’ll count that as a conversion (a person, converted into a customer).
Pretty simple, right?
The thing is that Jennifer is thinking about launching a summer collection, and wants to know if there are people interested in it. So she puts a big banner on her website that talks about the incoming summer collection, and asks the users to leave their email address so they will be notified when the shoes are out to purchase.
With this, she is getting leads (interested people), and she thinks that’s a metric that can really help her understand the demand for the summer collection. So she will set the conversion as the action of leaving an email address (every time someone leaves an email address, the conversion counter goes up).
Also, if she has a blog post explaining every pair of shoes that is included in this collection, she can put a “Learn More” button on the banner, and count clicks on it as a conversion.
She can even count conversions as people that get to the blogpost, to compare the number of people that clicked, with the number of people that really got to the page.
Where I’m trying to get here is that the “thing” that the conversion counts, depends on your objectives. It could be Clicks on a button, signing up for something, purchasing a product, or even reaching a person with your ad. It is the action that you desire the users to make.
This, in a way, is some of what makes Conversion Rate so tricky.
What is Conversion Rate?
Finally! Now that you understand Metrics and what a “conversion” means, it’s time to define Conversion Rate, and show you how you can measure and improve it.
The conversion rate is the percentage of users that made a conversion, out of the total users that were impacted by your ad or visited your landing page. In other words, it is, out of 100 people that got to your landing page or saw your ad, how many of them made the desired action.
How do you calculate Conversion Rate?If you use Facebook Ads, Google Ads or Google Analytics, the tool will do it for you, but the formula to calculate CR is:
(Visitors that convert / Total visitors) x 100
Just to be sure, let’s go back to Jennifer for this one:
Let’s say she puts the summer sale banner on her home page for a week. This is smart, because it’s where she gets the most amount of traffic. If she decides to count leaving an email address as the conversion event, the Conversion Rate, in that case, would be the percentage of people that left their email address, out of the total of visitors that her home page has.
Jennifer sets that up and a day passes. She is looking at a Conversion Rate (CR) of 4%. This means that 4, out of 100 users that visited her home page, were interested in her summer collection. Pretty good, right?
Well, not for Jennifer. Her objective was to get at least an average of 9% on the week that banner was up.
So, how can she improve it?
(the answer will surprise you -or maybe not-)
Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
I can give you a complex, well-written definition of what Conversion Rate Optimization means, but my objective is for you to understand.
So, if we leave all the fancy words out, CRO is all the actions you take to improve the % of conversions on your website (CR).
If you ask me, this is very general, because there are a lot of things that can be messing up your Conversion Rate: Load Speed, design, texts, images, message, etc. This makes CRO very tricky, but it doesn’t mean that it ceases to be a central piece of your Digital Marketing campaign.
Jenniffer can spend her entire marketing budget on trying to drive traffic to her website, but if the landing page does not showcase the summer collection in the right way, she will not only lose money but also a great opportunity.
I can recommend to you one of our articles that offers a deep explanation of how to improve your conversion rate.
Nonetheless, here are the basics:
It really ends up depending on who you are talking to. What are they looking for?, and how is the best way of talking to them?
Do you think that if Armstrong and Aldrin went to the moon and found a -breathable- Caribbean beach five stars hotel, filled with margaritas, coco water and great music would have returned to earth? I don’t.
Every segment of people is motivated by different things, so understanding WHICH is your audience, WHERE do they come from and WHAT do they respond to is key when optimizing for conversions.
Without information, it’s very difficult to understand what your audience will react to. That’s why there’s a bunch of types of experiments you can do on your landing page to get to know your traffic and improve conversions, based on that information.
The one I’m most qualified to talk about is A/B testing. This is a process where you test how different changes in your landing page, like the headline, the copy or the call to action, can impact your conversion rate, by comparing them to the original design.
It’s very crazy to see how just changing the color of a button improves your conversion rate by a lot.
What’s even more nuts is the ease with which you can start testing your landing page.
By just putting the URL of your landing page in that box, you can have a Free A/B test running in less than 10 minutes, which will improve the conversion rate of your landing page in no time.
To sum up, Conversion Rate is a great metric to visualize the performance of your website or ads campaign. The optimization of this metric has been facilitated by a myriad of tools that offer you a way of getting to know your audience, making the best out of them. Now that you know what Conversion Rate means and how to improve it, it’s just a matter of getting down to work!
If you have any questions or feedback, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll be more than happy to receive your message and help you out.