What’s an average conversion rate? 40%!

1 02 2008

New URL testingblog.widemile.com

Would you believe that? And if it were true, would it really mean anything to you? It shouldn’t.

Conversion Rate Table

I get asked this question fairly often and at first glance it seems like a logical question to ask, but really the focus should be elsewhere.

From my experience, conversion rates range from less than a percent all the way up to 30% or more. Does knowing that help me optimize my clients’ pages? No. Every page has so many variables internally and externally that it is very difficult and nonsensical to worry about the average conversion rate.

The goal of your page, differences between your product/service against your competition, target you’re trying to reach, avenues you advertise and numerous other factors all effect your conversion rates. A competitor having a higher conversion rate than you, does not mean you’re doing something wrong. Set the baseline for yourself and keep improving it. That’s how marketers should approach their conversion rate.

If you’re testing, you’ll find out if you’re campaign is performing suboptimal and find out what the optimal is at the same time.

Pretty amazing huh?

I don’t tell clients I’m going to get their conversion rates above industry averages, I tell them that I’m going to make their campaign as successful as possible. Do that and you’ll be ahead of competition and ahead of where you were when you first started.

Every marketer’s New Year’s Resolution

27 12 2007

We marketers get to have a lot of fun. We have a variety of projects that we get to plan, develop and execute. Wrapping up every project is an accomplishment for us. Or is it?

New Years Fireworks

Unfortunately, many projects are started without tangible metrics to strive for other than finishing it on time and within the budget. One part of being a marketer, or any businessman or woman, is showing that what you do is valuable and has a solid number attached to it.

Because of that, every marketer should make a resolution to measure and test their campaigns rather than just finishing them.

Achievements like site redesigns and campaign launches should be celebrated, but they also should be effectively tracked and analyzed from beginning to end.

Jason Burby wrote a fantastic article at ClickZ about ringing in the new year by defining and executing based on goals for 2008. In it he describes how sometimes projects succeed in some measures but fail at others, so overall is it a success?

He even mentions multivariate testing as part of the solution: “One part of this new way of thinking is to ensure you have a simple, easy to use testing platform to try different things and to measure the impact of tests based on goals. If you haven’t invested in an A/B or multivariate tool, 2008 is the time.”

What I’ve found in doing optimization and working with marketers in web analytics is that defining success in every campaign is key to being a quality marketer. And the only way to know if you met those goals is to measure what you do and how much it drives those goals.

For web page testing, the goal typically is to raise conversion rates and so its easy to keep that in mind. However if I never changed conversion rate as my ultimate goal, I might miss out on other valuable goals. A great example is if there are two pages with different subscription levels for a product, then possibly the lower converting page has a higher lifetime ROI.

ROI Table

The great side benefit of having a goal and measuring what gets you there, is that you can learn from success and failure. Even when I test a page and get an improvement, I exam what factors were the worst, along with what did best. It tells me what scares away and attracts customers so that I can look out for those things in other parts of the page and overall funnel.

Never assume that changing or making a new version of anything is always better. Figure out what you want to improve, make the changes and see if you find that improvement. As long as you have a measurement for success and take the time to track your progress, you can learn from your campaign and in the end, get closer to reaching and beating your goals.