What is a Conversion?

“Conversion” is marketing lingo for any action a user takes on a site that has been predefined as a goal. You’ll often hear this term used by web marketers, data analysts, growth analysts and experience designers to refer to actions or key performance indicators for a website or web app’s performance. It is often interchangeable with the term “goal,” or “KPI,” though a goal and KPI can also be applied to more general site success metrics, made up of conversions.

Typically, conversions are tied to positive or beneficial actions that users take on a site, indicating that the site was used for its intended purpose.

For information-based sites, a conversion might be a white paper download. For corporate sites, it might be a contact form submission. For ecommerce stores, a conversion typically denotes an online purchase.

Determining Which Conversion Goals to Track

For any given website, there are a nearly endless amount of activities that a website owner can track. If you don’t have an primary goal, or Ultimate Conversion Goal, you’ll need to decide what factor best determines success for your website.

Here are some of the most common goals tracked on the web:

  • Completed online purchase
  • Contact form or order form submission
  • Button or link clicks
  • Landing on a specific web page within a website
  • Video play or interaction
  • Newsletter signup

Depending on the type of site you own, you’ll want to map out which conversions define success for you.

Sites like Wikipedia, IMDB, eHow, Dotdash and more rely on being go-to sources of information.

Information sites

Sites like Wikipedia, IMDB, eHow, Dotdash and more rely on being go-to sources of information. As such, they’re much less concerned with online purchases as they would be with goals like:

  • Number of visits
  • Average time on site
  • Number of pages per visit
  • Monthly pageviews

Ecommerce sites

Since ecommerce website are designed to sell stuff, their primary conversion would be you guessed it an online purchase. But, that doesn’t mean that other conversions wouldn’t be worthwhile. Ecommerce site owners can also track aggregate conversions like:

  • Overall conversion rate
  • Overall number of transactions
  • Newsletter signups

Corporate/Business sites

Corporate and business sites are predominately informative and designed to act as an online business card for individuals and companies who offer a specific set of services. They’ll often track conversions like:

  • Contact form submissions
  • Quote form submissions
  • Chats started
  • Button clicks
  • Video views
  • Email links clicked
  • Newsletter signups
  • Visits to a specific landing page or URL

Real estate sites

Real estate sites are a unique subset of the web. They’re part ecommerce, part corporate, part search engine. As such, there are ton of different conversions a user can take on the site. If you manage a real estate site,here are some you could be tracking:

  • User registrations
  • Request to show listings/more information
  • Contact form submissions
  • No. of listings viewed per session
  • Newsletter signups

News sites

Online news sites are very similar to information sites in that their primary goal is to drive up readership. However, most news sites will also have additional goals to drive online or newspaper subscriptions, grow social media subscriber bases and drive up newsletter signups. Here are some conversion metrics a news site might track:

  • Video views
  • Youtube subscriptions
  • Facebook, Instagram, Twitter followers
  • Online subscription signups
  • Newsletter signups
  • Clicks to ad serving pages

Video hosting websites

Video hosting sites like Youtube, Wistia and Vimeo rely on monthly users to drive revenue and keep people using their platforms. But many of these platforms are broadening their reach into additional revenue streams. For example, Youtube is currently promoting YoutubeTV. Wisita and Vimeo are likely more concerned with their paying customers. For video hosting sites, you’ll typically track things like:

  • Average monthly users
  • Average monthly video views
  • No. of paying subscribers
  • Viewership for cornerstone videos and streams
  • Adoption of new features

Search engines and social media sites

Search engines are designed to be used for web queries, to sell ads and more. Similarly, social media sites do the same thing, but with user-generated content on their platform. They’ll track things like:

  • Average monthly users
  • New advertisers
  • Total revenue from ad dollars

How to Measure Conversions

In order to gauge how your website is performing, it’s necessary to be able to track and measure your website conversions. For the most part, we marketers will utilize an analytical tool like Google Analytics to track user behavior on sites and aggregate that data into an easy-to-parse report.

Some web platforms will also allow you to track conversions in an administrative dashboard. For example, Volusion merchants can login to their admin dashboard and view recent purchases, orders, most popular products and more. But, if you’re looking to track purchase conversions as well as other user behavior goals, you’ll want a data aggregator. Since Google Analytics is available to any and all site owners, let’s look at how to track your goals and conversions in Google Analytics.

In Google Analytics, you’ll go to ADMIN  > VIEW > GOALS.

From there you’re able to keep track of a wide range of goals from Google’s default set of conditions. Within Google Analytics, you can track:

Revenue

  • Orders Placed
  • Complete Checkouts

Customer Acquisition

  • Account Creation

Inquiries

  • View More Clicks
  • Contact Us Emails
  • See Available Inventory
  • View Available Deals
  • Read Reviews

User Engagement

  • Comparison Shopping
  • Social Shares
  • Newsletter Signups
  • Add to Cart Actions

You also have the ability to set up custom goals based on URL destinations, time on site, page per session or a particular event that happens on your site (like a video play).

What Conversions Matter for Volusion Merchants?

Since Volusion is primarily an ecommerce software that allows small- to medium-sized businesses to build a shop and start selling online, more than likely, the most important conversion metric for these businesses to track will be orders placed.

A placed order means money in your pocket.

A placed order conversion means that someone found your site, found the product they were looking for and completed a purchase on the site. A placed order means money in your pocket.

But any successful online business will also track other types of conversions, especially if you’re actively marketing your site and trying to grow your customer base.

  • Newsletter signups - Newsletter members are dedicated customers that are typically eager to find deals and promotions on products they already love. It’s much, much easier to convert a user from a newsletter than it is from search.
  • Add to Cart clicks - Add to Cart clicks signify intent. While they don’t always lead to an order being placed, it does mean that you’ve got a customer who needs just a little more time or incentive to buy. This can be seen as a “soft” conversion.
  • One Page Checkout - A One Page Checkout conversion means that someone found exactly what they were looking for on a category page and checked out right there. This is an indication that your product and/or category pages are well optimized for that search and the customer found your checkout process easy to follow.

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