October 23, 2012

Marketing Research Chart: Average website conversion rates, by industry


No matter what channels you utilize -- from email marketing to social media to print advertising -- the call-to-action often leads to a website where an actual conversion, be it generating a lead or completing a sale, occurs.

In this week’s chart, discover average reported website conversion rates by industry, and share your insights about these findings.

by Daniel Burstein, Director of Editorial Content

In the following chart, from the MarketingSherpa 2012 Website Optimization Benchmark Report, we look at average conversion rates broken down by industry.

Marketing Research Chart: Average website conversion rates, by industry

Q. Please write in your organization's average conversion rate.



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Click here to see a larger, printable version of this chart


Please Note: Bars with the same percentage don’t always line up, because the number has been rounded off, while bar length represents the exact answer.

What are your other thoughts on this data? Share your own analysis in the MarketingSherpa LinkedIn Group for a chance to be published in a future blog post. Include your feedback as either a comment or a link to a blog post where you offer advice based on this data.

Here are a few points to consider as you evaluate this data …








How do you define conversion?

There are many possibilities for the variability of conversion rate performance among the different industries in the above chart. There are certainly many reasons for this disparity, ranging from customer motivation to promotional budgets to marketing channels used.

However, another likely difference is the very definition of conversion rate. A conversion rate can refer to any goal a marketer has, from the sale of a product to a lead form fill, newsletter subscription or free-trial software download.

Perhaps, in the above chart, financial services firms' main conversion goal is simply an email address for a lead in exchange for a free e-book or print publication, and media websites might only be looking for a free newsletter subscription. Whereas, nonprofits might be focused on a much harder conversion goal to attain -- a cash payment in exchange for an idea of doing good, which requires a much higher commitment on the part of the customer and much less obvious concrete value.

What are your conversion goals for your website, and how do they affect your conversion rates? Do you adjust your conversion rate expectations based on the commitment required from the customer and the value given in exchange for that commitment?

How do you use benchmark data?

Some marketers use benchmark data to compare their own organization’s performance to industry averages to gain buy-in and budget approval from senior marketing management and business leaders, and to apprise the entire organization of their team’s performance.

Others simply eyeball benchmark data, using it less as an official yardstick of their performance, and more as a general ballpark of where they would like their performance to lie.

Still, others dismiss benchmark data out of hand, simply focusing on their own company’s previous performance in a vacuum.

How do you use benchmark data? What are the benefits and downsides of using such information? Has comparing performance to benchmark data improved your ability to gain budget approval, influence and political capital in your organization?

Free Benchmark Report Excerpt

Use these discussion questions to gain value out of this marketing research data by discussing these and other pressing issues with your team and your agency (and feel free to share your insights with the MarketingSherpa community, as well).

For three more key findings from our research, download a free excerpt from the MarketingSherpa 2012 Website Optimization Benchmark Report (there is no squeeze-page form fill required, this is an instant download).

Related Resources

MarketingSherpa Quick Guide to Conversion Rate Optimization

Email Optimization: 72% of marketers test subject lines

Lead Generation: 81% of marketers use email marketing

Email Marketing: 83% of CMOs says social media will affect email programs


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