Today I had a conversation with one of my dear friends, who works for a website vendor, and we talked about one of their new products. The topic of conversion ratio vs traffic came up. I was discussing with him how the title tags that the sites were using may actually be counterproductive to traffic and his reply floored me.
Paul, while what we do is to increase traffic we also have to keep conversion ratios in mind. Based on pitches they have received from other vendors in the marketplace, dealers do not understand that a high bounce rate may not be a site issue as much their location in relationship to the actual website visitor.
As an Internet Sales Manager who's income was tied directly to leads, conversions, in precisely measured results, sales, I understood the problem. Tons of traffic that did not convert did not benefit me, however it did benefit the over all branding for the store.
Let's use a mathmatical approach to this problem.
- 1000 Site visitors x 20% Conversion Ratio = 200 leads
- 2000 site visitors x 10% Conversion Ratio = 200 leads
Same results on two times the traffic. If I bought this traffic I would not be happy as it has not directly benefited me and my department, however it would of been charged to my budget. While at the same time providing two times the number of "impressions", for you old school dogs substitute radio cumes or drivebys.
While an SEO program is in reality a form of buying traffic it is completely different then SEM, where impression count does make sense. Out of market area traffic on a SEO basis is incremental business and traffic thus pushing down conversion ratio, but at the same time increasing consumers awareness that you are available for them.
The real problem lies in measuring your "true" conversion ratio. On the lot visitors may not even mention that they saw a website or advertisement but remember the radio commercial, not using tracking numbers in all forms of advertising online and off does not give you a gauge of the effectiveness and a form submission or call from your website is not the only tracking metric to gauge its effectiveness!!
As an ISM I used tracking numbers for every piece of online presentation made. From the website, directory submissions and even google maps. It allowed me to control any conversation that was started via the Internet.
Unless you are taking this kind of disciplined approach how can you really measure conversion ratio?
Maybe some of those impressions are still paying off even if they did not convert the first time they hit the site. Long term, traffic is still supreme especially when the ultimate "conversion" is a delivered unit that cannot be delivered completely online.
What is your take?