What is a Conversion Rate: definition, formula and benchmarks

Conversion rate is the number of conversions or actions, divided by the total number of visitors. A conversion rate can be applied to other actions too, it is not exclusively tied to sales. 

Conversion refers to any action you want the consumer to take, such as clicking a call-to-action button, signing up for an email list, setting up an account, or anything else you want it to be.

Measuring the success of your site or app keeps you in control and capable of making informed changes and decisions. It is key to knowing how to improve, see what is working for your business and what isn’t, and grow sales. 

Conversion rate formula

It’s very easy to calculate your conversion rate – simply divide the number of conversions by the number of interactions.

For example, if 500 people visited your website and 40 people registered, your conversion rate is 40 ÷ 500 × 100% = 8%.

Raising your conversion rate

Conversion rate optimization, or CRO, is the process of improving different metrics in order to improve conversions. 

The easiest way to optimize conversion rate is to use A/B testing. A/B testing helps you experiment by presenting user group A with one version and user group B with another version, then see which performs better, and make changes based on the results that will improve conversions. Your A/B testing must go beyond experimenting with color or font – design and layout, ad copy, mobile optimization, and more all matter and should be tested.

Once you have an attractive site or app, making it easy to buy from you is the simplest way to improve conversions. Complicated or long checkout procedure with too many input fields, too many options, or requiring any additional actions is going to make people quit mid conversion without completing a purchase/action. Simplifying the checkout process leads to more conversions. 

For B2C businesses, one of the simplest ways to optimize conversion rate is to offer free shipping (seriously), which is explained perfectly here:

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One more way to optimize conversions is use cases, testimonials, and reviews. People want to trust in what they are buying and who they are buying from. 

The ideal conversion rate

It is important to note that the conversion rate will vary depending on the industry, medium, and offer. 

According to WordStream, for example, the average landing page conversion rate across industries is 2.35%

However, the top 25% reach the average conversion rate of over 5.31%. What you should be aiming for ideally, though, are the top 10% with the average conversion rates of 11.45% and higher… across their entire account, not just landing pages.

Average conversion rate
Source: WordStream

Conversion rate goals are a bit of a “shoot for the stars, land on the moon” situation in that you want to work towards the highest possible rate while being aware you may not – and probably will not – hit that mark. But just by aiming high, you will land high.

Remarketing to the ones who got away

On average, 96% of people who visit your website will not convert to a sale, simply because they’re not ready to convert yet. Remarketing is the process of targeting the people who, say, visited your website but didn’t purchase through multiple channels – in search results, on social media, YouTube, etc. 

Remarketing gives you a chance to: 

  • Turn abandoners and bouncers into leads
  • Increase brand recognition, which increases branded searches
  • Increase repeat visitor rates and engagement
  • Increase the effectiveness of your SEO and content marketing

Most importantly, remarketing helps you stay top of mind and once the lost leads are ready to convert, they’re more likely to choose you. 

Conversion rate is the most important metric you can improve

Conversion rate is one of many ways to measure your success, but it may be the most important one in seeing how well your business is actually doing. You will never be able to sell to everyone, but striving to keep your conversion rate high should be the priority for most of your campaigns and strategies. 

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