By Jen Doyle, Research AnalystConversion Rates by Conversion Event and SourceClick here to see a larger, printable version of this chart
One of the most common mistakes made when dealing with conversion rates is confusing the use of different types of conversion rates. In analytics, a conversion event is what is known as a user-defined event. In other words, it can be anything you want it to be.
The most important part of defining a conversion event is to make sure it matches the strategic goals most important to your organization and is realistic enough that you can receive actionable data. The harder a conversion metric is to collect, the less data you will have to make marketing decisions.
Ideally, an organization will collect multiple conversion metrics in order to gauge effectiveness of marketing throughout the purchase funnel, not just at the end.
When we isolate conversion rates by conversion event and source, we see a few trends echoed from other sources. First, organic conversion rates are higher than paid conversion rates. This makes sense when one considers that organic searchers are often already familiar with the brand, have searched for specific products and are more likely to be closer to purchase rather than still considering many brands.
Second, the higher up the marketing funnel a conversion event is, the higher the conversion rate will be. A sale is nearly always going to be more difficult to achieve than collecting an email address. For this reason, it‘s important to compare "apples to apples" when judging conversions.
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from MarketingSherpa’s 2009 - 2010 Search Marketing Benchmark Report.