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9335What does the difference in same-process conversion rates mean?

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  • Robert Blakeley
    Feb 2, 2007
      This is an interpretation question. I've been thinking about this
      for a while, and could use some feedback.

      I recently reviewed the conversion rate for an event registration
      process. By event, I mean educational seminars. By conversion, I
      mean a count of those who began the process and completed the
      registration. There were some 250 individual events in the 12 month
      period under review producing thousands of registrations. All used
      the same registration process. (This process entailed about 5
      pages). Of the 250 individual events, there were about 20 different
      seminars (products). That is, the same seminar was offered more than
      one time in the year. With me so far?

      The conversion rates at the product level varied substantially,
      three-fold from greatest to least. So the question is, what does the
      difference measure? Not usability, because the same registration
      process was used for all the events. Not necessarily price, because
      the price for each seminar product was similar. In fact, in most
      cases the price was the same. It was not seasonality because the
      events were distributed throughout the year and there appeared to be
      no relationship between product conversion rate and time of year.
      The marketing copy on the site followed the same format for all
      products, but the copy was different as appropriate to the product.
      I also saw that the conversion "gap" between products was consistent
      month-over-month if one looked at ranking products by conversion
      rate. That is, while the depth of the gap may vary, the rank of a
      product relative to other products was fairly consistent.

      My thought is that the difference measures visitor commitment (or
      need), a measure of the match between the attracted audience and the
      product. In other words, the effectiveness of the marketers'
      targeting and/or the usefulness of the product. How would you
      validate that inference, or do you have a different opinion? What
      would you look at next to decide whether improving the laggards
      should be more of a product or a marketing effort?

      Taking a step further, I looked at the conversion rates within the
      product lines. The conversion rate for the same seminar also varied
      when looking at the individual events for that product. In this
      case, the product was the same and the marketing copy on the site
      was exactly the same. So what do you think that difference measures?
      How would you validate the inference?

      Robert Blakeley
      Product Manager
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