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What's a good conversion rate?

I hear this question all the time. I don’t think there’s a good answer.

Which conversion rate?

Are we talking about the sitewide conversion rate for an ecommerce shop selling items priced under $50? Or a lead generation site asking visitors to give their phone number to a sales team that offers a $25,000 B2B SaaS product?

Most people will be interested in comparing their conversion rate to similar businesses, but that’s not easy to define. Is L’Oreal similar to NARS? Sure, I guess, but … what if L’Oreal has a slightly higher purchase conversion rate, while NARS is killin’ it with their Artist Program signup conversion rate? L’Oreal doesn’t have one of those. Do they still win?

Are we looking at a six month average, or the holiday season? All visitors, or new visitors? Should we separate out desktop versus mobile?

What good is this information, anyway?

There are industry benchmarks out there. In exchange for your email address, Monetate will give you a thorough report on ecommerce trends and conversion rates, broken down by device type.

You can learn things like “In Q4 2018, US mobile device ecommerce conversion rates were 2.19%.”


What will you do with that? If your conversion rate is 2.21%, are you done? Will you cancel all marketing activities, take a couple months off, and hike the Camino de Santiago?

If your conversion rate is 1.83%, will you try to improve it? Of course. But … weren’t you going to try to improve it anyway?

Is conversion rate the right number to compare?

A site with tons of helpful educational content will have a lower conversion rate than a site that is nothing but products & a checkout.

But it’s also likely to have more visitors, more engaged visitors, more loyal visitors. It might make 100x more money in a year than the other site. Do we care about that conversion rate?

If your company gets mentioned on the news, you’ll see a huge influx of visitors. Most will poke around for a bit and leave. A handful will buy, or come back later to buy. But your overall conversion rate for the month will be shot. Is that a bad thing?

I’d love to be challenged on this one. Called out as defeatist or intellectually lazy. If comparing your conversion rate to someone else’s has improved the results you get, the revenue your company makes, or the way you sleep at night, please hit Reply and tell me.

But if not, I’m officially giving you permission not to worry about it. Have a great weekend.

    © 2024 Brian David Hall