Practical Ecommerce

When To Ignore A 50% Conversion Rate

Now that your analytics tool is tracking your conversions, you can measure the conversion rate of search engine keywords, referring sites and ad campaigns. The strategy is to find a traffic source that generates higher-than-average conversions, and increase the traffic from that source and ones like it.

Simple right? The eye instantly notices keywords that generate 25%, 33.33%, 50% and even 100% conversion. But for several reasons, these numbers should be suspect, and sometimes ignored.

Too perfect

Conversion of 25%, 33.33% and 100% are suspect because they rarely appear when there is an adequate sample size. Let’s use one of our newer stores, Brainwaves Educational Toys, as an example. In the analysis, the keyword phrase “superstructs pinklets” brought three visitors, and one of those visitors converted. The web analytics reports a 33.33% conversion rate.

While this is an excellent conversion rate, it doesn’t yet represent a trend that supports investment for the phrase “superstructs pinklets.”

I recommend two actions related to this discovery

First, analyze a larger time span to see if you can reveal a trend supported by more than two conversions. If there isn’t enough data, set a reminder for yourself to re-check the keyword in your next analytics session. It might be a great opportunity for converting traffic.

Second, dig around a bit to see why this traffic source has appeared. In the example above, we filtered the keyword report by search engine and found that the visits came from a new Google ranking for the specific product name. Because this store was the first to carry the product, the page ranked #2, just below the manufacturer’s listing.

In your regular analysis, focus on traffic sources that reveal a conversion trend based on more than two conversions. Sites, ads and keywords that generate 25%, 33.33%, 50% and even 100% conversion rates should be noticed, but validated before investing your resources in these sources.


Michael Stebbins
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Comments ( 3 )

  1. Legacy User June 12, 2008 Reply

    Sure you can Waste time analyzing reports. Or waste Money Paying PPC. Advertise on Searchforithere.com Py No PPC,Free Adds For Business. I saw this site and recomend you list on this site. Save thousands of dollars.

    — *NO PPC*

  2. Legacy User June 16, 2008 Reply

    Gabriela,

    Is your education vertical a retail site? If so, a 10% conversion (with a decent sample size) is something to be proud of! You can always test your way to improvement beyond that, but many retailers are thrilled to see 3-4% conversion.

    -Michael Stebbins

    — *Michael Stebbins*

  3. Legacy User June 14, 2008 Reply

    For someone new to this, your insight is very much appreciated. We are looking to establish a new venture in the education vertical and are struggling with conversion rates. I have a difficult time believing that we can only get 10% on the high end of visitors to convert. Can you shed any light on this?
    Thanks.

    — *Gabriela Paredes*

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