Average Conversion Rate: What’s Average, Anyway?

By Amanda West-Bookwalter | @Amanda_WestBook | Senior Account Manager at Hanapin Marketing

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is a huge topic in the PPC world, especially since increasing this metric can turn dirt into gold in your accounts. Each time someone clicks you have a chance to gain a conversion – whether that’s a sale, lead form filled out, or subscriber gained. Each time that person doesn’t perform a conversion on your site, you’re wasting money.


So, what conversion rate should you be realistically shooting for? Is your average conversion rate a good one? Well, these questions are so difficult because it’s so entirely relative.


For instance, we have an account in our MCC that has a 28% conversion rate, but they’re still struggling because they only make a dollar for each conversion. We have others converting around 1%, but swimming in cash because they make thousands off each conversion.


To complicate matters further, lead generation accounts are always tricky because you also need to understand the quality of these conversions. I once worked with a client getting a 30-40% conversion rate on Bing Ads, but most of them turned out to be fraudulent leads from the Search Partner Network.


I think you can see now why finding the ideal conversion rate is tricky. Yes, you want to improve it, but comparing your rates to industry standards or what conversion rate experts think can be dangerous.


That being said, how can you go about shooting for increasing conversion rates in your account? A lot of conversion rate experts will give advice on A/B tests for your landing pages like changing button colors, experimenting with lead forms, etc. However, that’s kind of small-fry stuff, and there’s much more impactful things you can be trying to affect this metric.


Sam Owen wrote this article about how to increase your conversion rate without even touching your landing page. He has a lot of really great pointers, and this information is great for folks without the capability to make landing page edits. Among his methods that he covers to improve conversion rate are:


  • Increasing the quality of traffic
  • Optimizing your funnel
  • Aligning ad messaging to landing pages
  • Optimizing mobile ads
  • Using labels
  • Eliminating inconsistencies
  • Tracking phone calls
  • Using remarketing


It boils down to changing what you’re doing to better align with what your site visitors desire. That can be account specific as Sam suggests, or it can be on your site. While those small changes I mentioned can have an impact, it’s much more likely to have an impact if the site changes reflect a new way of approaching your visitors.


Sweeten The Deal


One sure-fire way to get higher conversion rates with ecommerce accounts is to offer free shipping. Studies have shown that even if you offer a coupon saving them more than the cost of shipping, users will convert more with free shipping.


That is the kind of mentality needed during conversion rate optimization: how can I make my deal sweet enough to increase conversion rates without making me unprofitable?


Make It Easier To Convert


More than just changing the color of a button, if you can make it easier to convert on your site, you’ll increase your conversion rate. Simple updates would include:


  • Removing obstacles during the checkout process (such as navigation)
  • Adding directional images so visitors know where to go
  • Using color highlights to ensure visitors see where the lead form is located


Improve Quality


For lead gen, this strategy is obvious. Dig into the back-end data and figure what’s actually driving revenue instead of conversions. For ecommerce, it’s more what’s driving big sales and sales of products with high ROI. For both account types, you might even decrease conversion rates if you find many conversions are of low quality, but you can rest easy knowing your bosses will all be super happy if you still increase the number of high-quality leads or sales.




You want to have conversations with clients and bosses about what really drives high quality conversions. Don’t worry about what the average conversion rate should be as long as you are focusing on increasing those high quality conversions. You want to be improving through growing ROI and revenue, not chasing some industry average that has no context of comparability behind it.