A couple of weeks ago I shared a post on How To Assess The Success Of Your Facebook Advertising Campaign. It proved to be so popular I thought I’d take a more in-depth look at conversion rates across social media and Google AdWords.

Despite the obsession so many online marketers have with conversion rates, benchmarks, and optimisation, recent studies have shown that only around 22% of businesses feel their conversion rates are satisfactory. It seems like a lot of people are unhappy with the rate of conversions they achieve through marketing and advertising on social media and Google AdWords, but that doesn’t mean social media marketing and PPC advertising isn’t delivering great results.

It’s far more likely that the conversion rates businesses are achieving are better than they think, and that the reason so many people are unhappy is a lack of clarity when it comes to:

  • Exactly what conversion rates are.
  • What your conversion rates mean.
  • And what constitutes ‘satisfactory’ conversion rates.

What Exactly Is Your Conversion Rate?

Your conversion rate is the rate at which the people who are clicking through to your website (from organic and paid posts on Google AdWords, social media, and other sites) are converting into paying clients, expressed at a percentage.

For example, if one thousand people click through to your website from a Facebook advertising campaign, and twenty of those people buy the product or service you are advertising, your conversion rate for that particular ad campaign is 2%.

If, on the other hand, your website gets one thousand views from people clicking through from unpromoted Tweets on your Twitter account, and ten of those people end up buying a product or service on your website, your conversion rate for your organic marketing on Twitter is 1%.

A Quick Note On Multiple Conversions

Multiple conversions are the result of a single click (on an advert or post) resulting in more than one conversion. This generally happens when you have multiple conversion goals. For example, signing up to your newsletter might be one goal, while other might be a visitor directly purchasing a product or service, signing up for a monthly subscription, or simply adding something to their basket.

Since one person could conceivably do all four of these things, in a single visit to your website, off the back of a single click, your conversion rate will reflect the fact that one click resulted in multiple conversions. Your conversions are individually counted, meaning that individual clients will ‘count’ as four separate conversions – one each for signing up to your list, completing a purchase, subscribing to a monthly service, and adding something to their basket for later.

This can skew your conversion rates and make them seem higher, even resulting in a rate greater than 100%, which seems ridiculous, but is entirely possible.

If just one in four clicks result in a reader being converted into a client, and every one of those clients takes four actions that fulfill conversion goals, your conversion rate will be 100%, despite the fact you have only converted one in four visitors.

If you want to avoid this rather confounding situation, you can simply ensure you set only one conversion goal for every campaign (i.e. either signing up to your list or a sale), or ensure you only track one conversion (usually the last) per individual.

What Is A Successful Conversion Rate?

The specific rate of conversion you need to achieve varies considerably depending on your industry. Your business model can also impact the rate of conversion you need to achieve in order to consider a campaign successful. Other factors such as the price of the item you’re selling, and whether your clicks are generated organically or through PPC advertising can affect the conversion level needed to count your efforts as successful.

For example, eCommerce websites consider around 2% to be a good conversion rate. That fluctuates, however, depending on the price of the specific product they sell – a low price item costing under $5 will often have a much higher conversion rate than a high-ticket item going for $500+.

Likewise, the conversion rate you could expect from a campaign designed to generate signups for a free optin offer could be expected to be higher than any paid options. A 10% conversion rate is a perfectly reasonable expectation for a free optin offer; that’s an ‘easy sell’, requiring the commitment of an email address, rather than cash. That conversion rate would drop, however, if the form needed to claim the optin required more extensive information, such as filling in your name and business details, or answering an extensive questionnaire.

Paid Vs. Organic Traffic

A paid advertising campaign might also generate a higher conversion rate, as you’re able to reach a much wider audience while simultaneous directly targeting your ideal clients. The conversion rate you will achieve through organic traffic would likely be lower than paid advertising, even if you used exactly the same content. But this isn’t always the case. Provided you have sufficient traffic, organic content reaching a focused audience of your ideal clients who already know, like and trust you, may achieve similar or even superior conversion rates to paid adverts.

Add to this that certain platforms, like Google AdWords, are unavailable for organic conversions, and the fact higher advertising budgets and longer campaigns can often produce better conversion rates, and you begin to see the complexities involved.

Conversion Rates On Different Advertising Platforms

The other major factor to consider when it comes to your conversion rates is the platform on which you’re advertising. The platform makes the decisions when it comes to which metrics they measure and where. It’s also up to them what information they release in terms of industry averages and benchmarks. This often means that independent research on Conversion Rate (CVR) benchmarks is generally needed to put specific numbers on what you should be aiming for on each platform.

As a result, we know more about what constitutes a good conversion rate on some platforms (like Facebook) than others (like Twitter). The more data we have at our disposal, the easier it is to define success.

I recently ran a bit of a battle between four of the biggest advertising platforms (Facebook, AdWords, Twitter, and Pinterest), to see which generated the best results. The key takeaways from that were very interesting, demonstrating that greater reach didn’t equate to more conversions, and that organic traffic was just as effective as paid advertising traffic at converting leads.

But let’s get specific, shall we?

Facebook Advertising

Facebook is one of the platform with the most clarity when it comes to conversion rates. Thanks to a detailed study produced by Wordstream on the subject, we have a lot of in-depth and up-to-date data to help us analyze conversion rates on Facebook.

In my last post, I looked at the click through rates (CTR) and cost per click (CPC). Here’s a breakdown of the average conversion rates you can expect on a Facebook advertising campaign, by industry:

Optimise And Grow Average Facebook Conversion Rates By Industry

Overall the average conversion rate for a Facebook advertising campaign is 9.21%. But as with click through rates and cost per click, the specific average varies considerably depending on your industry.

Google AdWords

Google AdWords is another platform that is relatively easy to quantify in terms of conversion rate success, again thanks to data provided by Wordstream. Once again, the results vary considerably depending on the industry you are in.

Optimise And Grow Google AdWords Average Search Conversion Rates By IndustryAdWords is also slightly more complex, in that there are two different conversion rates to consider – one for search results, and one for Google Display Network (GDN) results.

Optimise And Grow Google AdWords Average GDN Conversion Rates By IndustryYou can see just how much the platform affects the conversion rate you should be aiming for, simply by comparing Facebook averages to Google AdWords. The average across all industries for CVR on AdWords is 2.7% for search results, and 0.89% for Google Display Network results.

This is drastically lower than Facebook’s 9.21% average, which is why it’s such a bad idea to compare conversion rates across platforms: CVR is not only relative to your industry, it’s also relative to your platform.

Twitter Advertising

Unfortunately, t