Conversion rates are half the picture

Why people need to stop obsessing about conversion rates

Conversion rate optimisation

First of all let me share a situation that prompted this article. I had run a test that delivered a 60% uplift in conversions. Not bad right. Anyway we put the winning variant live and all was rosy until I was asked why conversion rates had not increased.

So I dug through analytics spoke to the PPC guys and found out they had switched on a display campaign on the new page. So what was converting at 7% became more like 4%. Bad right?

No it was great, why? because with the additional traffic we had delivered an extra 400 conversions when comparing post launch to the previous month. Also the cost per conversion had dropped by 20%. More conversions at a lower cost, party time.

If only life was so easy. I was then asked why had conversions dropped when the test had shown such a good uplift. I then pointed out search traffic had indeed increased 60% but the display campaign where the bulk of the traffic was now coming from was pulling it all down.

I said if you want the old conversion rate back switch of display but you would be losing enough money to buy a couple Ferrari’s with enough change left over for a nice BMW.

This is why i say conversion rates are not the be all and end all of any digital organisation. Yes they matter but conversions matter more. A 6% conversion rate on 100,000 visitors is better than a 50% conversion rate on a 1,000 visitors.

At then end of the day revenue is what matters not conversion rates or even conversions. A 100% conversion rate means nothing if everyone returns their purchase.

Always measure as far down the funnel as possible and never forgot rejections/returns when optimising.