How to Calculate and Boost Your Conversion Rates

The conversion rate is the most reliable indicator of success for an online business. By analysing your conversion rate, you can improve specific elements on your website and inspire visitors to take desired actions, which will consequently increase your profits.

Keep reading to find out what conversion rate is, what are other variations of it, how to calculate it, and what affects its value.

Contents:

What is a conversion rate?

The conversion rate is the percentage of visitors who took the desired action on a website. This value allows you to accurately measure your customers' decisions and shows how often you manage to convince your visitors to, for example, make a purchase.

However, the conversion rate doesn't have to be solely related to the completion of the transaction. There are different types of conversion rates, the definition and calculation of which depends on the purpose of the page, the ad, or the content.

Calculating different conversion rates

There are a number of conversion rates that can give insights into your visitors’ actions on your online shop. It really comes down to what specific action you are trying to measure and figuring out the percentage of total users that are actually doing it.

Here are the most important formulas:

Conversion rate

This is the mother of all conversion rate formulas. Think of it as the basis for all the other converstion rate formulas. This formula can be modified depending on the user action you want to measure.

Conversion rate (%) = (number of visitors executing a defined action / number of all websites visitors) x 100

Sales conversion rate

By defining the “execution of a defined action” as "the number of users who completed a sale", you’ll get the sales conversion rate.

Sales conversion rate (%) = (number of sales / total visitors) x 100

Lead conversion rate

If you’re unfamiliar with the term “lead”, it is a way of getting customer contact information who could potentially become a customer.

For example, if someone signs up for your newsletter, but hasn’t purchases anything from you, this person has a high probability of becoming a customer in the future, and thus, they should be nurtured or contacted at some point in order to convert them. By looking at these numbers, you’ll get the lead conversion rate.

Lead conversion rate (%) = (number of leads / total visitors) x 100

Click-through rate

The click-through rate is another conversion rate that has some flexibility. This formula can be used to measure the success of your call-to-action (CTAs) buttons (e.g. Buy Now, Learn more today!, etc.), email campaigns and other marketing efforts.

If your insights here do indeed show that your efforts are not bringing in the results you were hoping for, this might indicate that you should change some design elements of your pages and campaigns (e.g. use different texts or images). It may also be worth A/B testing these changes to prove whether or not they are helping.

Here is how to calculate the click-through rate (CTR):

Click-through rate (%) = (number of visitors who clicked / page impressions) x 100

mouse with blue background

shutterstock/Katerina Fabianova

Download rate

Does your website offer free content or other files available for download? Measure the download rate of users who have visited that page.

Download rate (%) = (number of downloads / total visitors) x 100

Micro conversion rates

shopping cart with packagaes

shutterstock/Lee Charlie

If you want to calculate a micro conversion rate you first have to define a process and its steps. An easy example of a sales process would be:

Click on product > Add to basket > Basket to buy > Complete order

By calculating the conversion rate of users that went from the Basket-to-buy to complete order, you will get the checkout conversion rate. With that number, you can figure out the abandonment rate as well.

Checkout conversion rate (%) = (number of sales (completed orders) / number of visitors that visited the checkout) x 100

If you have multiple steps in your checkout process, you can calculate a micro conversion rate for each step. So you can find out where in the checkout process your visitors are cancelling their order.

Sales Conversion Rate calculation example:

number of sales = 100

total visitors = 5,000

Sales Conversion Rate (SCR) = 100/5,000 = 0.02 * 100% = 2.00% SCR

This means, that 2% of all your visitors generate a sale in your shop. This calculation would be interesting for special groups of visitors, too. For example, visitors coming from search engines (perhaps through a special keyword). This can help you figure out which marketing actions worked well and which can be improved.

Trusted Tips: If you lose customers during the checkout, download our  whitepaper on checkout optimisation

What affects the conversion rate?

The answer to this question is not clear-cut because, as we mentioned earlier, the conversion rate and its definition depend on the previously defined goal. However, if we accept the most general version and consider that the ultimate goal of an online shop is to increase sales, then every element of the website helps achieve this goal – from the first impression and design through product pages and the ordering process.

That's why it's so important to monitor, test, and optimise the various elements of your online store.

Trusted Tips: Increase the conversion rates of your shop with our whitepaper!

We'll look at some tips in the next section, but we'll summarise some of the factors that influence your conversion rates here:

  • Advertising channel: Using various marketing strategies (Google ads, social media ads, SEO) attracts users with varying degrees of interest in specific products or services, and proper targeting and presentation of the offer will increase the conversion rate.

  • Device: More and more users use mobile devices to shop online, but many customers still prefer to do it with the help of a computer. Therefore, it is important to ensure the mobile responsiveness of the website, convenient navigation, and loading speed on all devices.

  • Industry and competition: In competitive industries where customers have the choice of multiple stores offering similar products, the conversion rate may be lower due to the greater number of options available. Brand awareness and reputation are also important.

  • Region: The economic situation of a country or region can affect the willingness to shop online. This aspect is important primarily for companies interested in foreign expansion.

  • Season, market trends: Big sales holidays, such as Black Friday or Christmas, can often encourage users to make more purchases online. Different times of the year can affect what products are desirable at any given time.

Boosting the conversion rate of website traffic

Getting started with your own website can be one of the most exciting things you do in your professional life. What is extremely frustrating is putting your blood, sweat, and tears into a website, seeing plenty of traffic coming in and not getting any conversions.

Clearly, there must be something wrong with your site if people are visiting but not buying anything. So, what can you do to boost conversions with your existing traffic?

high traffic

shutterstock/Kalinin Ilya

Getting insights

If you’re a "do-it-yourselfer", there are two main ways to get insights into your problem: analytics and real feedback. Google Analytics is really going to be your best friend when it comes to optimisation (more on that later), but your real-life best friends should be helpful as well.

Get feedback from real people

Let’s talk about how your friends (and even some strangers) can help you sell more. The idea is pretty simple: send your friends to your website and get them to give you real, honest feedback about your site.

Get them to tell you their very first impression when landing on the site. Then, get their opinions on as many other things as possible. For example, ask about the images, the text, the products, the amount of information, the checkout process, etc.

If you have friends with some kind of business or marketing background, even better. However, an honest “customer” point of view can always be helpful, too.

man giving feedback

Get feedback from someone who isn’t involved in your project. Insist on honest feedback from them, so check your ego at the door. (shutterstock/enadan)

If you don’t have any friends that can provide helpful feedback, try out some forums. Get on a site like reddit (the self-proclaimed front page of the internet), and head to subreddits (topics) such as r/Startups or r/Entrepreneur and simply ask for someone to critique your website. Many of the active members of those “communities” have a lot of e-commerce experience and many are happy to give you their opinions.

Naturally, you should be careful about revealing too much information about your business to strangers, but the feedback they provide could be really helpful. In fact, sometimes asking strangers is better than friends because they won’t be afraid of hurting your feelings and will provide honest, objective feedback.

Trusted Tips: Increase the conversion rates of your shop with our whitepaper!

Get feedback from Google

Google offers Google Analytics as a free tool to basically anyone running a website. It provides so much information about how users interact with your website that it is simply a must-have for any business owner. Google even offers free online courses to learn how to get the most out of this free tool.

Without getting into too much detail, I will tell you that there are a few stats that will be very helpful in order to figure out your site’s pain points. Here is a list of some of the most important ones:

  • New or unique visitor conversion: Separating returning conversions and first-time visitor conversions can be extremely useful in optimising your site for new visitors.

  • Sources of incoming traffic: Are your visitors coming in through search engine queries, referral sites, or by directly typing in your website address into their browser?

  • Bounce rate: How often are new visitors leaving your website without taking a single action?

  • Exit pages: Which pages are people leaving your site from?

  • Average session duration: How long do visitors actually spend on your site? A few seconds? A few minutes? A few hours?

Naturally, there are plenty of other helpful metrics, but these are a few to get you started and to give you an idea of how useful Google Analytics can be. All of the stats mentioned above can give you great insights into what the customer journey (and customer experience) on your website looks like (and leads to).

Find the pages, buttons, and images on the pages where people leave your site without buying anything and optimise them.

Where to focus your attention

As I mentioned above, there are a lot of different factors that could be leading to your website’s lack of conversions. However, if you advertise online with Google or Facebook (or anywhere else for that matter) and are getting high traffic with low conversions, there’s a good chance you’ll have to keep a close eye on both your landing pages as well as your ads.

Landing pages

landing page design notes

shutterstock/Eviart

If your ads are getting you traffic, but you notice that people are bouncing away from your site very quickly, there’s a good chance your landing page (LP) is at fault.

If your bounce rate is above 80%, then it’s time to have a long, hard look at your landing page. There are a lot of things to keep an eye on. Here is a list of the most common points to optimise:

  • How does your page look “above-the-fold” (the top part of the page that first appears on a user’s screen)? What is the visitor's first impression of your site?

  • Is image quality good enough - do product images look professional?

  • Does the page instil trustworthiness?

  • Does the LP look professionally designed?

  • Does the product on the LP match the product in the ad?

  • Is the pricing of the product an immediate turn-off?

  • Is there enough product information on the page?

  • Is the text engaging?

  • Is the call-to-action clear?

  • Are there too many calls-to-action?

  • Does the LP load quickly enough?

  • Is the LP mobile responsive?

  • Does a spammy pop-up appear too quickly? (Consider an exit-intent pop-up instead)

With so many “professional-looking” websites out there these days, it’s basically business-suicide if you don’t have one. Look at what your most successful competitors are doing and use it as inspiration. Don’t be afraid to spend a little money on a website template. Most shop-software providers like Shopify and Magento have some free themes and templates available and plenty of them are available for reasonable prices as well.

perfect landing page checklist

Images need to be sharp, not pixelated. The tricky part is that the images can’t be too high-quality either. Otherwise, your page will take too long to load - another conversion killer.

pixelated shoes

If your images look like this, forget about conversions and get your eyes checked! (shutterstock/PhotoStockPhoto)

Your text needs to speak to your target audience. Be exciting with your copy. Sell a lifestyle. Make sure to give enough product information, but also sell the benefits of the product. For example, if you sell fitness products, sell the idea of “losing X kilograms in 3 months” instead of just “a great abdominal workout”.

Does your website instil “trust at first sight”?

Customer reviews can be a huge indicator of trust for many users. Seeing social proof can bring peace of mind to any hesitant shopper who doesn't know your brand yet.

Strongly consider getting a well-known trustmark (seal-of-approval) from a trusted 3rd party certifier. The Trusted Shops Trustmark also includes a 30-day Buyer Protection, which can be reassuring to visitors of an unknown shop.

All in all, it’s worth looking at every little thing on the page. Think about it from a customer’s point of view. Would you honestly buy from this shop if you had a quick look around? Remember to get a few opinions and note all the feedback you receive.

Perfect product images  Boost the user experence and your site's SEO Download checklist

Your ads

If you really feel like your landing page is not the problem, it’s time to look at your ads again. There are definitely a few things to keep in mind here. Let’s look at some of the most common optimisable elements for your ads.

  • Is your ad misleading?

  • Does the product in the ad match the landing page?

  • Are you targeting too many people and getting (expensive) clicks that aren’t of value?

  • Are you bidding too high for those clicks and getting low ROAS (Return on Ad Spend)?

  • Are your ads running at optimal times? Check your analytics for your most successful times and limit your ads to those hours/days that work best.

  • Are your ads being placed in the right areas? (With Facebook, you can choose between mobile/desktop newsfeeds, Instagram, right column, etc.

  • Have your ads gone stale? Rotate your ads with new images and headlines.

  • Have you tried A/B testing to see which ads perform best?

  • Are the keywords you’re targeting the best ones?

Between Google Analytics, Google Ads, and Facebook Power Editor (Ads Manager), you can get a lot of great insights into the effectiveness of your ads in order to optimise them. As mentioned above, there are lots of free courses and tutorials on learning how to analyse and improve your ads.

Conclusion

By analysing your different conversion rates, you can get some great insights into what’s working with your design as well as how effective your marketing campaigns are. Once you identify these issues, it’s time to take action and optimise it. By getting feedback, making tweaks, and comparing your results, you’ll surely boost those conversion rates in no time.

Trusted Tips: Increase the conversion rates of your shop with our whitepaper!

27/03/24

Alon Eisenberg

Alon Eisenberg has been the Content Manager UK at Trusted Shops since 2017. He graduated from Boston University with a Bachelor's degree in Communications in 2004.

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