What's A Good Web Conversion Rate?

March 6, 2006

“What’s a good conversion rate?” I get asked, all the time. One person filled out the “contact us” form on the LunaMetrics website just to ask that question. The web analytics for this blog show that visitors who aren’t using feeds (so, they aren’t subscribers — they are picking up my blog on the newstand, so to speak) are very often searching on some version of that question.

There are a whole bunch of caveats that go with this question. How do you define conversion rate, by conversions/unique visitors or conversions/visits? The latter will be a smaller number. What’s the time period? What’s the industry? Maybe the conversion rate is low but they purchase high margin items. Maybe the conversion rate is low but they purchase at a store, or they call you up to use your services (but you can’t track the phone call without the latest technology.) And why do you care so much anyway — you should be comparing your numbers to your numbers from last year, not to everyone else’s numbers.

Having said all that, I know that you still want to know “the answer.” I saw some FireClick index numbers from 2003/2004, showing that the lowest conversion rate in their sample was among consumer electronics (about 1%) and the highest was among catalogers (about 6%). This makes perfect sense — the catalog companies, like Lands’ End, have been at the direct response game for years, and understand it incredibly well. Remember that the numbers are old (in Internet years) and that I don’t know how they are calculated (by visits? unique visitors?)

But you really don’t have to rely on my 2.5 year old information. Instead, go to Fireclick, where they show the index every week. They only give numeric information for “this week” and “last week” but you can see information over time by looking at the little graphs in the right margin. And if you’re that interested, you can create an Excel spreadsheet, tune in to their site every week, fill in the weekly numbers, and you’ll have calculated a conversion rate for your vertical within 13 weeks.