Master these four core KPIs that should be studied to understand why visitors leave your site without making a conversion
In the age of online marketing and data intelligence, every click matters. Traffic is a great metric for the potential success of your business, after all. Alas, traffic means little without conversions. A brick-and-mortar store that sees plenty of footfall but fails to make sufficient sales will be considered a failed business model. The online world is no different. Without conversions, a website is just an expensive – and ultimately unsuccessful – advertising campaign.
A conversion is the completion of any pre-determined action on a website. This could be downloading free content in exchange for joining a mailing list or interacting with the site through social media or a contact form. The gold standard of conversions will always be sales, though. If your product or service is not turning a profit, something needs to change.
By studying and understanding website data, you can pinpoint missed opportunities for sales on your site. Utilizing tools and software, you’ll understand what visitors are looking for and why they bounce without converting.
Data to review
Here are four core KPIs that should be studied to understand why visitors leave your site without making a conversion. By mastering and understanding this data, you can make any necessary adjustments to your website and marketing strategy – potentially reaping financial rewards.
1. Google Analytics exit pages
The exit page of a website, which is tracked on Google Analytics, is the last interaction a user has with your website before terminating a session. Google Analytics records exit pages as a percentage, referring to this as an exit rate.
In an ideal world, the most popular exit page on any website will be the thank you page after completing a conversion. At this stage, the user has concluded their business to the satisfaction of all parties.
If you notice a high exit rate on a different page, it merits investigation. Something about this page is deterring visitors from converting. Ergo, this exit page is potentially responsible for missed sales.
Be aware that an exit rate is not the same as a bounce rate. Bounce rate relates to users that leave a site without any interaction. Exit pages are recorded when users begin the journey toward conversion but fail to complete the process.
By understanding which pages on your website have the highest exit rate, you can improve your sales. Take a look at this page and consider why users are not completing a conversion. Potential explanations include:
- An unclear or weak call to action
- A lengthy sales funnel with too many steps
- Insufficient information about your product or service, failing to convince the user to convert – or too much data, confusing a user and causing them to lose interest
- Lack of preferred payment options (that is, ewallets – not everybody likes to use their credit card online)
Tweak this exit page to improve user experience and convince users to conclude a conversion. This is easier if one page of your website, in particular, has a high exit rate. If exit pages are equally spread throughout your site, it may be worth considering a complete overhaul and refresh of the content.
2. Google Tag Manager
The internet has brought a lot of good to the world, but enhancing patience is not among these benefits. With so much competition out there, users are unlikely to tolerate any kind of interface issues when attempting to complete a conversion. You can use Google Tag Manager to identify these issues.
Form completion is arguably the best use of GTM. If you study the analytics of a form and find that it is frequently being abandoned before completion, something is amiss. You had the user on the end of your hook – they would not have started to fill in the form otherwise. Unfortunately, something made them change their mind and you missed out on a sale.
Use the GTM debugging mode to ensure that a technical hitch was not to blame. If this is the case, it’s time to look inward. Some of the common reasons for users to abandon forms before completion include:
- The form is just too long and cumbersome! Slow and steady may win a race, but it bores the life out of online consumers
- Unnecessary questions. If you’re not selling age-restricted products or services, don’t ask for a user’s date of birth. Unless it’s relevant to the product, do not ask for clarification of gender or race
- Pop-up advertising. Unfortunately, you may be standing trial for the sins of other sites here – previous experiences elsewhere may tarnish a user’s view of all online forms
- Lack of assurance about the safety and security of any data that will be provided. Make it clear that you are not in the business is selling personal information to other businesses
- Lack of mobile device compatibility. Over half of all web traffic now comes from smartphones and tablets. Ensure your form is not fiddly and persnickety to complete on such a device
Source: Google Tag Manager
Using GTM to gain insights into why forms remain uncompleted can be an easy fix, and potentially turn half-completed questionnaires into successful conversions. Don’t miss out on a possible sale for something as prosaic as a needlessly complicated sign-up process.
3. Search records
As we touched upon previously, consumers want to feel understood by a business. The modern visitor to a website will ideally not wish to search to find what they’re looking for. Visitors want to find everything they need before their eyes and to see that your product or service will resolve a particular pain point.
If users are making use of the search function, configure the site to record search terms. This provides the perfect opportunity to study what your potential customers are seeking – and presumably not finding – on your site. If they located what they were looking for, they would likely have completed a conversion.
Understanding what users are searching for means that you can improve and enhance your offering to apply these missing services. Alternatively, it may just reveal that your copy needs a little updating. Check whether users are using terminology that does not match up with keywords used on your site. This is an easy fix with a content refresh and reduces the frustration of being so near but yet so far from a conversion.
This will also have a welcome side-effect of potentially bolstering your SERP standing. Google is moving toward a model of enhanced search equity, which makes your use of copy all the more important. It will be very welcome for a website’s page ranking – and conversion potential – to stand or fall on quality and relevance of content, as opposed to restrictive technical obstacles.
4. Traffic value
To paraphrase George Orwell, “all website traffic is equal, but some traffic is more equal than others.” Some pages on your website will inevitably demonstrate greater potential for sales and conversions. Investing in a search analysis tool can aid you in identifying these pages so you can focus your financial outlay on them. Google Trends can also be an invaluable ally here.
Your website will likely utilize at least one cost-per-conversion model, such as Google Ads. You may be using several, with Facebook Ads (which includes Instagram Ads) and even Microsoft Advertising providing plentiful leads to conversions. While PPC business models are constantly evolving, some tactics are evergreen.
Perhaps the most critical of these is identifying which pages on your site have potential that is not being maximized. By undertaking SEO analysis, you will gain a greater understanding of what users are looking for online. In learning this, you may realize that you are placing too much of a marketing budget on one page when judicious use of keywords on another may yield greater results.
For example, it’s always tempting to place all of your financial muscle on a completion page. We have discussed already how users are looking for a brief and practical conversion funnel. Do not overlook the potential to educate and entertain before pushing for conversion, though. If you embrace – and more importantly, perfect – content marketing, you will convince users to click through to a conversion page after learning more about your offering. This enhances your traffic stats, potentially building brand loyalty in the process.
Now that you are aware of these metrics, use them to calculate your conversions. That’s easily done – just divide the number of conversions by the number of visitors, then multiply the total by 100. How does that number look to you?
If you feel that your conversion rate is lacking in any of these metrics, there are steps that you can take to improve it. These include:
- Simplifying any forms and streamlining your sales filter
- Improve and simplify the copy on pages with a high exit rate
- Considering adding a pop-up with a renewed CTA – or even the promise of a discount or freebie – when a user tries to close a common exit page
- Review your search records and ensure your offering matches consumer needs and expectations
- Keep up to date with search trends and ensure you are monetizing the right pages on your website
Follow these steps and you’ll potentially see your conversions soar. Few things are more frustrating than missing out on a sale that came enticingly close. These minor improvements will not take much work but could make a real difference to your bottom line.
What is a website conversion?
Any website will contain a range of actions for visitors to complete. This could be signing up for a newsletter mailing list, sharing a post on personal social media channels, making a query through a contact form, or ideally making a purchase. If a visitor to your website completes this action, it is considered a conversion. The number of people that do so compared to your traffic quantity is referred to as a conversion rate.
What is a good conversion rate for a website?
This depends on a range of factors, including your industry and your anticipated return on investment. A website that operates on a cost-per-conversion model, such as Google Ads, needs a higher conversion rate to turn a substantial profit. The average conversion rate on this platform is circa three percent. What matters most is that you are seeing a return on your investment – and that your conversion rate continues to grow, not shrink.
How to increase the conversion rate on a website?
The most effective way to increase a conversion rate is to make the process as fast and simple as possible for consumers. Create a superior user experience by making it obvious what a visitor needs to do to convert, and by removing any unnecessary steps from the resulting filter. Every additional action you ask of a user gives them another opportunity to lose patience and walk away.
How to calculate a website conversion rate?
There is a simple formula for calculating the conversion rate of your website. Track your conversions over a set period, divide this by the number of visits to the website in this time, then multiple the total by 100. For example, a website that enjoys 700 conversions from 12,500 visitors over 30 days has a monthly conversion rate of 5.6%.
How to set up conversion rate tracking on your website?
Any website must track conversions to ensure optimum efficiency and return on investment. Major platforms like Facebook Ads and Google Ads have in-built tracking facilities. Learn how to utilize these tools and turn the data to your advantage.
by Joe Dawson