Do More Page Views Cause Higher Conversion Rates?

December 27, 2005

Yesterday, I read an article on increasing conversion rates. The author encouraged website owners to find ways to increase page views per visitor in order to increase conversion rates. Which got me to thinking about correlation and causation…

It is often true that visitors to e-commerce sites who look at more pages convert better. But it is not necessarily true that the extra page views cause the increased conversion – perhaps the visitor has a propensity to purchase and therefore looks around a little more. I would call this a “lurking variable” if I were a statistician.

Furthermore, e-commerce sites who try to cross-sell too much, and send their customers to new pages at the checkout stage may get higher page views but lower conversion. Asking the customer to leave the shopping cart to do anything other than “continue shopping” can be a mistake. Even wonderful, conversion-rich tactics like “View our privacy policy” next to the email field in the shopping cart should come up in a window that has no navigation — the customer reads it, closes it, and continues with the check-out process.

Of course, if you are making money based on advertising views, then get all the page views that you can.