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Conversion Factors

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  • Paul Holstein
    Here is a list of all the factors I know or suspect can affect your conversion rates. I d like to ask all of you to contribute to this list and let me know
    Message 1 of 16 , Feb 6, 2007
      Here is a list of all the factors I know or suspect can affect your
      conversion rates. I'd like to ask all of you to contribute to this
      list and let me know your favorite conversion factors. After I
      compile them all, I'll share the complete list with the group. Who
      knows, maybe someone can use this as an outline for a new book:

      Conversion Factors:

      Trust Elements:
      - Safe Shopping Icons (hacker safe, BBB)
      - Toll Free Number visible
      - Address visible
      - Professional Look
      - Own Professional Domain Name
      - Money Back Guarantee
      - Risk Reversal (We'll pay the return shipping)
      - Accepts all forms of payment
      - Nice Logo
      - Testimonials
      - Contact Us prominent
      - Privacy Policy
      - Order / Shipping / Invoice tracking

      Look and Feel:
      - Site is easy to navigate
      - Easy to grasp what the site does
      - Great site search returns relevant results
      - Checkout / Conversion process is clear
      - Does not require registration up front
      - Fast Page load times
      - Pages load consistently (high availability)

      Product / Selling Proposition:
      - Compelling Product
      - Brand Names
      - Good Product Pictures, quality and quantity
      - Compelling Offer / Price / Clarity
      - Price easy to find
      - Extra charges (shipping) are low and easy to find
      - Fast Shipping
      - Free Shipping
      - International Shipping
      - Good Comparison Matrix
      - Good Headline
      - Good Tagline
      - Supporting Copy
      - Scarcity (limited Qty or limited time)

      Off Page Factors:
      - Time of Day
      - Day of Week
      - Holiday or Event Timing
      - Relevant Advertising
      - Pre-qualifying your advertising (i.e. from $1,000 up)
      - Type of Advertising (banner vs PPC)
      - Visitor profile of site were advertising appears
      - Compelling ad copy
      - Ad copy matches landing page
      - Click Fraud
      - Quality and efforts of Affiliates
      - Reputation of Site
      - Size of the Organization
      - Newsletter Quality
    • Wandering Dave Rhee
      Hi, Paul, Off the top of my head, here are a couple other considerations. First off, did you want to focus on conversion rates for a single site (say, over
      Message 2 of 16 , Feb 6, 2007
        Hi, Paul,

        Off the top of my head, here are a couple other considerations. First off, did you want to focus on conversion rates for a single site (say, over time), as opposed to why conversion rates might differ across two or more of your organization's sites?

        There's AOV and its affect on purchase cycle. A $2 bottle of generic aspirin would presumably have a higher conversion than a $2500 vacation package, as well as fewer page views in the path, lower dwell time on each page, etc.

        Comparison to competitor products often helps conversion, keeping people from leaving the site to check out other offerings.

        Competitor offerings and marketing / advertising also affect your conversion. So do other environmental (uncontrollable) factors (e.g., taxes on an item are about to increase, so stock-up purchasers convert more, and AOV also increases).

        Then, there are the things the consultants will hammer into your thinking -- be sure your buying path is clear, and reduce or eliminate any page that doesn't lead to a buying path. Especially those that provide unwanted diversions from it. Of course, this may improve short-term conversion while harming long-term customer loyalty, but precious few sites or brands have long-term loyalty anyway these days.

        A minor addition to your usability list -- broken links hurt credibility, and thus consumer confidence in your site and brand. Similarly, out of stock items that still display in your catalog, and only red-flag at the checkout -- that can be frustrating and damaging to conversion.

        There's a very long list of best practices here ... this should be an interesting thread!

        WDave
      • JS
        Wandering Dave, I think you ve touched on a pretty big theme here, the fact that the product has a lot to do with conversion rates. I would also go one further
        Message 3 of 16 , Feb 7, 2007
          Wandering Dave,

          I think you've touched on a pretty big theme here, the fact that the
          product has a lot to do with conversion rates.

          I would also go one further as well and say that the market has a
          great deal to do with it. If you are the only one selling the
          product, I suspect that your conversion rates would be higher.

          More precisely, if a customer has a wide range of options for the
          same product, he/she will shop around more and convert less across
          the market.

          I assume that there are some other factors as well, for instance, how
          important the quality of the product is. Independant of price point,
          if the product has to do with something like, say, the safety of your
          children, you would probably be less hastey about a purchase and take
          more time doing research.

          Another may be the immediacy of need. For example, a funeral bouquet
          at flowers.com probably converts better than one that's "just saying
          hi." (Sorry for the macabre example, but I couldn't think of any
          others.)

          All of these factors most likely combine in different ways along with
          what was already cited.

          Oh, and to the author of the original list, I might stay away from
          things like "professional look" since it has to do with aestethics
          and is very subjective. If you head down that road you could write a
          book on graphic design and what "professional look" means.

          Maybe it would be better to say something like, "conforms to best
          practice design principals." Or, "quality of design."
        • Jim Sterne
          ... Don t forget the weather. I spoke to the owner of a chain of music stores in Zurich. His online conversion rates went sky-high when it snowed and dropped
          Message 4 of 16 , Feb 7, 2007
            At 06:15 AM 2/7/2007, JS wrote:

            >I would also go one further as well and say that the market has a
            >great deal to do with it.

            Don't forget the weather.

            I spoke to the owner of a chain of music stores in Zurich.
            His online conversion rates went sky-high when it snowed
            and dropped to nothing when the sun was out. People would
            click all over his site and then come to the store to buy if
            it was a nice day outside.


            ------------------------------------------------------
            Emetrics Summit, The Big Picture
            http://www.emetrics.org
            Optimizing Online Marketing Value
            London, March 29-30
            Düsseldorf, April 17-18
            San Francisco, May 7-9
            Washington D.C., Oct 14-17
            -----------------------------------------------------
            Jim Sterne <jsterne@...>
            www.targeting.com +1-805-965-3184
            President, www.WebAnalyticsAssociation.org

            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Wandering Dave Rhee
            Thanks for your thoughtful comments, Jerome. I guess a lot of what we re suggesting boils down to know your customer, and more specifically, cater to what
            Message 5 of 16 , Feb 7, 2007
              Thanks for your thoughtful comments, Jerome.

              I guess a lot of what we're suggesting boils down to "know your customer,"
              and more specifically, cater to what your customer is expecting from you
              site. Which, counter-intuitively, may not be the same thing they expect
              from you or your brand in another channel, such as in a retail store, or
              over the telephone.

              Most folks expect the online price to be cheapest, and are surprised when
              manufacturer sites have higher prices than retail partners (to avoid channel
              conflict). But if you're the mfr., and can actually offer a cheaper online
              price, customers will be happy, and obviously will convert at higher rates.

              Similarly, for design and style, your brand image and target audience have a
              lot to do with your presentation. Take for example a clothing manufacturer
              with a youth line sold at one mall store, that might call for an aggressive
              online presentation, compared to a more conservative line sold at a
              different mall store, doing better with a similarly conservative web
              treatment.

              So knowing your customer *segment* is key here -- and if you're serving
              multiple segments with a single site, good luck to you! It's a problem I
              face daily, with a consumer segment and multiple professional segments
              (government, education, corporate), all part of the direct business unit, in
              friendly competition with the retail business unit. And I know there are
              plenty of others out there facing the same issues, too!

              WDave


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Miles Bennett
              I remember in one of my previous jobs; performance on ebanking was seriously affected (as in loads of customers logged on) when weather was poor)m Miles Miles
              Message 6 of 16 , Feb 7, 2007
                I remember in one of my previous jobs; performance on ebanking was seriously affected (as in loads of customers logged on) when weather was poor)m

                Miles
                Miles Bennett
                milesBENNETT
                07802415750
                miles@...

                -----Original Message-----
                From: Jim Sterne <jsterne@...>
                Date: Wed, 07 Feb 2007 09:35:00
                To:webanalytics@yahoogroups.com, webanalytics@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: Re: [webanalytics] Re: Conversion Factors

                At 06:15 AM 2/7/2007, JS wrote:

                >I would also go one further as well and say that the market has a
                >great deal to do with it.

                Don't forget the weather.

                I spoke to the owner of a chain of music stores in Zurich.
                His online conversion rates went sky-high when it snowed
                and dropped to nothing when the sun was out. People would
                click all over his site and then come to the store to buy if
                it was a nice day outside.

                ------------------------------------------------------
                Emetrics Summit, The Big Picture
                http://www.emetrics: <http://www.emetrics.org> .org
                Optimizing Online Marketing Value
                London, March 29-30
                Düsseldorf, April 17-18
                San Francisco, May 7-9
                Washington D.C., Oct 14-17
                -----------------------------------------------------
                Jim Sterne <jsterne@targeting.: <mailto:jsterne%40targeting.com> com>
                www.targeting.com +1-805-965-3184
                President, www.WebAnalyticsAssociation.org

                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Bryan E.
                I m not going out anywhere to buy outside now. It s freezing here in NY. Online conversions are rocking in our offices. Anyway, at Future Now we have
                Message 7 of 16 , Feb 7, 2007
                  I'm not going out anywhere to buy outside now. It's freezing here in
                  NY. Online conversions are rocking in our offices. Anyway, at Future
                  Now we have identified over 1100 variables that affect conversion
                  rates. Many of which we have written about in Call to Action, on
                  GrokDotCom.com and ClickZ.com. We have broken up to 5 main areas:

                  Planning
                  Structuring
                  Communicating
                  Momentum
                  Optimizing

                  You can see a lot of these variables if you search through the index
                  of Call to Action at http://www.futurenowinc.com/ctaindex.htm.

                  Bryan




                  --- In webanalytics@yahoogroups.com, Jim Sterne <jsterne@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > At 06:15 AM 2/7/2007, JS wrote:
                  >
                  > >I would also go one further as well and say that the market has a
                  > >great deal to do with it.
                  >
                  > Don't forget the weather.
                  >
                  > I spoke to the owner of a chain of music stores in Zurich.
                  > His online conversion rates went sky-high when it snowed
                  > and dropped to nothing when the sun was out. People would
                  > click all over his site and then come to the store to buy if
                  > it was a nice day outside.
                  >
                  >
                  > ------------------------------------------------------
                  > Emetrics Summit, The Big Picture
                  > http://www.emetrics.org
                  > Optimizing Online Marketing Value
                  > London, March 29-30
                  > Düsseldorf, April 17-18
                  > San Francisco, May 7-9
                  > Washington D.C., Oct 14-17
                  > -----------------------------------------------------
                  > Jim Sterne <jsterne@...>
                  > www.targeting.com +1-805-965-3184
                  > President, www.WebAnalyticsAssociation.org
                  >
                  > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  >
                • Lisa Seaman
                  I ve found that email marketing campaigns usually cause our conversion rates to go down, but our total conversions to go up. You listed 3 types of
                  Message 8 of 16 , Feb 7, 2007
                    I've found that email marketing campaigns usually cause our "conversion
                    rates" to go down, but our "total conversions" to go up. You listed 3
                    types of adverstising related factors. Maybe what I'm saying falls under
                    Relevant Advertising, but it's really just the existence of advertsing
                    at all.

                    - Relevant Advertising
                    - Pre-qualifying your advertising (i.e. from $1,000 up)
                    - Type of Advertising (banner vs PPC)

                    Even if your conversion rates go down, it can still be a good thing if
                    your conversions go up! I think it's important to distinguish between
                    the two and measure both, but don't focus exclusively on conversion
                    rates because it's the number of conversions that are tied to $$.

                    cheers,
                    Lisa

                    Paul Holstein wrote:

                    >Here is a list of all the factors I know or suspect can affect your
                    >conversion rates. I'd like to ask all of you to contribute to this
                    >list and let me know your favorite conversion factors. After I
                    >compile them all, I'll share the complete list with the group. Who
                    >knows, maybe someone can use this as an outline for a new book:
                    >
                    >Conversion Factors:
                    >
                    >Trust Elements:
                    >- Safe Shopping Icons (hacker safe, BBB)
                    >- Toll Free Number visible
                    >- Address visible
                    >- Professional Look
                    >- Own Professional Domain Name
                    >- Money Back Guarantee
                    >- Risk Reversal (We'll pay the return shipping)
                    >- Accepts all forms of payment
                    >- Nice Logo
                    >- Testimonials
                    >- Contact Us prominent
                    >- Privacy Policy
                    >- Order / Shipping / Invoice tracking
                    >
                    >Look and Feel:
                    >- Site is easy to navigate
                    >- Easy to grasp what the site does
                    >- Great site search returns relevant results
                    >- Checkout / Conversion process is clear
                    >- Does not require registration up front
                    >- Fast Page load times
                    >- Pages load consistently (high availability)
                    >
                    >Product / Selling Proposition:
                    >- Compelling Product
                    >- Brand Names
                    >- Good Product Pictures, quality and quantity
                    >- Compelling Offer / Price / Clarity
                    >- Price easy to find
                    >- Extra charges (shipping) are low and easy to find
                    >- Fast Shipping
                    >- Free Shipping
                    >- International Shipping
                    >- Good Comparison Matrix
                    >- Good Headline
                    >- Good Tagline
                    >- Supporting Copy
                    >- Scarcity (limited Qty or limited time)
                    >
                    >Off Page Factors:
                    >- Time of Day
                    >- Day of Week
                    >- Holiday or Event Timing
                    >- Relevant Advertising
                    >- Pre-qualifying your advertising (i.e. from $1,000 up)
                    >- Type of Advertising (banner vs PPC)
                    >- Visitor profile of site were advertising appears
                    >- Compelling ad copy
                    >- Ad copy matches landing page
                    >- Click Fraud
                    >- Quality and efforts of Affiliates
                    >- Reputation of Site
                    >- Size of the Organization
                    >- Newsletter Quality
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >---------------------------------------
                    >The Web Analytics Forum
                    >Founded by Eric T. Peterson (www.webanalyticsdemystified.com)
                    >Moderated by the Web Analytics Association (www.webanalyticsassociation.org)
                    >Email moderators at: webanalytics-moderators@yahoogroups.com
                    >Yahoo! Groups Links
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                  • Miles Bennett
                    Good plug Bryan - for the rest of our group who haven t bought Bryan s book - WHY NOT!!!! Miles Bennett milesBENNETT 07802415750 miles@milesbennett.co.uk
                    Message 9 of 16 , Feb 7, 2007
                      Good plug Bryan - for the rest of our group who haven't bought Bryan's book - WHY NOT!!!!
                      Miles Bennett
                      milesBENNETT
                      07802415750
                      miles@...
                    • Debbie Pascoe
                      A loud second to Dave s know your customer . And it leads me to ask what the definition of conversion is. Some products and services do not lend themselves
                      Message 10 of 16 , Feb 8, 2007
                        A loud second to Dave's "know your customer". And it leads me to ask
                        what the definition of "conversion" is.

                        Some products and services do not lend themselves to frequently
                        returning visitors; some are more likely to be researched online and
                        purchased off-line. (cars and houses, many B2B products and services,
                        custom designed items, etc.)

                        You may only get one shot at attracting that customer to you or
                        pushing them away to your competitor. Improvements to conversion
                        factors may mean attracting the next customer, not getting a second
                        shot at the one that got away.

                        For those organizations, measuring conversion is elusive, with no
                        direct tie from the web experience to the dollar generated. The
                        structural aspects of the site - a look and feel that engenders trust
                        and credibility, fast loading-defect free pages, consistent
                        navigation, informative pages, good internal search results, effective
                        implementation of the privacy policy – are, IMHO, vital conversion
                        factors to organizations whose sale does not conclude online.

                        Since the ultimate goal for a commercial endeavor is revenue to the
                        bottom line, I'd be curious to know if - and how - companies are tying
                        these conversion factors to total revenue, as opposed to
                        online-generated revenue....a KPI perhaps? :-) If anyone has
                        gotten to that stage, it would be good to hear more about what
                        specific measurement you are using.... $ of sales revenue/total site
                        visits?


                        Debbie Pascoe
                        MAXAMINE, Inc.
                      • Paul Holstein
                        OK, here is the final list of all the elements that could possibly affect your conversion rate. So the next time someone asks you what is the ideal conversion
                        Message 11 of 16 , Feb 9, 2007
                          OK, here is the final list of all the elements that could possibly
                          affect your conversion rate. So the next time someone asks you what
                          is the ideal conversion rate, simply tell them it ranges from zero to
                          100% depending on the following. Enjoy.

                          Conversion Factors:

                          Trust Elements:
                          - Safe Shopping Icons (hacker safe, BBB)
                          - Toll Free Number visible
                          - Address visible
                          - Quality of Design
                          - Quality Domain Name
                          - Money Back Guarantee
                          - Risk Reversal (We'll pay the return shipping)
                          - Accepts all forms of payment
                          - Nice Logo
                          - Testimonials
                          - Contact Us prominent
                          - Privacy Policy
                          - Order / Shipping / Invoice tracking
                          - Privacy guarantees (e.g. truste etc.)
                          - We don't spam you messaging
                          - Clear and unambiguous optin/out for marketing & 3rd party marketing
                          - Ability to get offline help at physical locations

                          Look and Feel:
                          - Site is easy to navigate
                          - Easy to grasp what the site does
                          - Great site search returns relevent results
                          - Checkout / Conversion process is clear
                          - Forms are forgiving (e.g. taking dashes, spaces for credit card)
                          - Forms error handling - clear, concise errors & instructions for
                          correcting
                          - Does not require registration up front
                          - Fast Page load times. Ads Render last.
                          - Pages load consistently (high availability)
                          - Renders in all major browsers (yahoo has a good matrix)
                          - Accessibility / 508
                          - Pictures are good quality and highly optimized
                          - Good quality help / FAQ system
                          - No Broken links or broken images

                          Product / Selling Proposition:
                          - Product / Site Exclusivity
                          - Compelling Product
                          - Brand Name awareness and reputation
                          - Good Product Pictures, quality and quantity
                          - Compelling Offer / Price / Clarity
                          - price elasticity of demand
                          - Price easy to find
                          - Add to cart button is inviting and prominent
                          - Terms and Conditions highly visible
                          - Path to checkout is unencumbered with no distractions
                          - Extra charges (shipping) are low and easy to find
                          - Fast Shipping
                          - Free Shipping
                          - International Shipping
                          - Good Comparison Matrix (including competitors)
                          - Independent Product Reviews
                          - Good Headline
                          - Good Tagline
                          - Supporting Copy
                          - Scarcity (limited Qty or limited time)

                          Off Page Factors:
                          - Time of Day
                          - Day of Week
                          - Holidays
                          - The weather (Snow skiis vs. swim suits)
                          - Event Timing (product will be regulated, taxed or discontinued)
                          - Item / site gets significant press (front page NY Times)
                          - Relevant Advertising
                          - Pre Qualifying your advertising (i.e. from $1,000 up)
                          - Type of Advertising (banner vs PPC)
                          - Visitor profile of site were advertising appears
                          - Compelling ad copy
                          - Ad copy matches landing page
                          - Click Fraud
                          - Quality and efforts of Affiliates
                          - Reputation of your Site
                          - Size of your Organization
                          - Newsletter Quality
                          - Offline advertising
                          - Presence of offline locations
                          - Competitor Offerings and Marketing

                          --- In webanalytics@yahoogroups.com, "Paul Holstein" <paul@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > Here is a list of all the factors I know or suspect can affect your
                          > conversion rates. I'd like to ask all of you to contribute to this
                          > list and let me know your favorite conversion factors. After I
                          > compile them all, I'll share the complete list with the group. Who
                          > knows, maybe someone can use this as an outline for a new book:
                          >
                        • Patrick Terrell
                          I didn t see customer reviews. This is a must. [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          Message 12 of 16 , Feb 9, 2007
                            I didn't see customer reviews. This is a must.

                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          • Paul Holstein
                            It s on the list as -Independent Product Reviews I also have testimonials for the company on the list. --Paul
                            Message 13 of 16 , Feb 9, 2007
                              It's on the list as

                              "-Independent Product Reviews"

                              I also have testimonials for the company on the list.

                              --Paul

                              --- In webanalytics@yahoogroups.com, "Patrick Terrell" <patrickt@...>
                              wrote:
                              >
                              > I didn't see customer reviews. This is a must.
                              >
                              > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                              >
                            • Patrick Terrell
                              My bad ... From: webanalytics@yahoogroups.com [mailto:webanalytics@yahoogroups.com]On Behalf Of Paul Holstein Sent: Friday, February 09, 2007 10:58 AM To:
                              Message 14 of 16 , Feb 9, 2007
                                My bad

                                -----Original Message-----
                                From: webanalytics@yahoogroups.com [mailto:webanalytics@yahoogroups.com]On Behalf Of Paul Holstein
                                Sent: Friday, February 09, 2007 10:58 AM
                                To: webanalytics@yahoogroups.com
                                Subject: [webanalytics] Re: Conversion Factors



                                It's on the list as

                                "-Independent Product Reviews"

                                I also have testimonials for the company on the list.

                                --Paul

                                --- In webanalytics@ <mailto:webanalytics%40yahoogroups.com> yahoogroups.com, "Patrick Terrell" <patrickt@...>
                                wrote:
                                >
                                > I didn't see customer reviews. This is a must.
                                >
                                > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                >







                                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                              • cparish05
                                Thanks for putting this together; Great list & a handy-dandy format! I ll keep watching to see if anyone decides it s time to apply weights...
                                Message 15 of 16 , Feb 9, 2007
                                  Thanks for putting this together;
                                  Great list & a handy-dandy format!

                                  I'll keep watching to see if anyone decides it's time to apply weights...
                                • Gus Kormeier
                                  Hey Paul, Great list. Do you have some examples of sites that do Good Comparison Matrix (including competitors) well? I ve heard talk recently about
                                  Message 16 of 16 , Feb 9, 2007
                                    Hey Paul,
                                    Great list. Do you have some examples of sites that do Good
                                    Comparison Matrix (including competitors) well?

                                    I've heard talk recently about competitor comparison, but really found it
                                    hard to imagine for our site.
                                    -Gus

                                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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