You need an accurate base from which to track growth, so calculating your conversion rate is fundamental.

Google’s definition of a conversion rate is:
“Conversion rates are calculated by simply taking the number of conversions and dividing that by the number of total ad interactions that can be tracked to a conversion during the same time period. For example, if you had 50 conversions from 1,000 interactions, your conversion rate would be 5%, since 50 ÷ 1,000 = 5%”

Simply put; The conversion rate is calculated from the number of conversions divided by the number of interactions.

Having said that it doesn’t have to be related to adverts, traffic could be from organic listings, an email newsletter, a Facebook link, a blog post etc.

Establishing this base conversion rate figure gives a benchmark to then build upon and track improvements so it’s important to ensure that your tracking is accurate so that no leads or sales are missed. 

It’s also important to ensure that analytics is set up correctly so as to see accurate inbound traffic figures from which the conversion rate is calculated.

Conversion Rate For Lead Generation.

Whilst the conversion rate for a lead or sale is calculated the same way, with e-commerce, you’ve just been paid on the other side of the conversion. so it’s binary, black and white and a firm figure (ok.. well that’s after allowing for returned items which you should track too). However with lead generation, you haven’t been paid, you’ve just got someone into your lead to sale process, so this needs sub-tracking to ensure that you don’t over-optimise for the lead at the expense of the sales on the other side.

It’s no good improving a lead generation conversion rate if sales drop off as a result, so you need to track and attribute the outcome of leads and track lead to sale conversion rate as a KPI when optimising for higher conversion on the lead side. 

How To Calculate Your Conversion Rate
Analysing your data is key to knowing where you stand!

Going more granular depending on what you are selling you’d need to track the sale value too as not all sales are equal depending on the traffic source, we constantly see a difference in conversion rate and basket values for traffic from paid ads and organic traffic, so depending what you change to force an increase could have effects on the actual cash value of leads that turn into sales, going granular is the key to really uncovering where the profit sweet spots are in the data, look at differences such as traffic source (paid, organic, social media, email etc.) as well as how different elements of your site convert (or don’t via the bounce rate figures), such as home page, category pages, product/service page, basket/checkout pages etc.

  • Go Granular to see the bigger picture.
  • Break the conversion rate down by traffic source/medium.
  • Use Google Analytics to quantify the conversion rate by page/category etc.
  • Asses and track other KPI’s to get more insight.


Spend some quality time in Google Analytics and really drill down into the data. Once you have gone nice and granular you may see opportunities for increasing conversion rates by trying to get more of a certain type of customer i.e. paid visitors may convert better than organic visitors, email may convert better than social etc.

Whilst the conversion rate is a key figure, it also needs to be looked at in conjunction with other metrics such as average sale value too, as often (in eCommerce sites) paid and organic average order values can vary significantly, so one may convert better but overall be worth less per customer. Not all traffic is equal; email may perform much better than social media or paid traffic via mobile could be worth double the value of organic visitors via desktop.

You also need to ensure that your attribution method gives a large enough window to be sure you are tracking the full value of clicks to the desired outcome. If you are doing mortgages this could be 6 months from the initial click to a fee earning outcome versus pest control which could be 2 weeks.

  • Track more than just ‘THE’ site conversion rate.
  • Establish your Average lead/sales value and track against it after any changes
  • Ensure your attribution method tracks all leads/sales regardless of timescale.


A warning story about just focussing on the conversion rate.

Around 4 years ago a client left us to go with an agency who promised the world and.. on the face of it.. delivered it.

At the time we were generating a couple of hundred well qualified, targeted leads who had an interest in purchasing one of their bespoke products costing from high hundreds to mid-single-digit thousands of pounds.

The new agency sold the dream of higher volumes, and in the first month they delivered multiples of the volume we normally generated, so the visitor to lead conversion rate exploded compared to our rate, the client was delighted, and it should have finished with “and they all lived happily ever after”!

However the sales operation soon began to groan, nice (expensive) glossy brochures and materials packs were sent out and follow up calls were made, but these new leads reacted much differently to the leads we had generated, many of the leads said that the cost was ridiculous, yet ironically the client actually offered great value for money, for a hand made item built with excellent materials, but the new agency, (who were being paid per lead) removed all ‘friction’ such as pricing from ads, and had a nice prominent “Download our brochure” site stripe so people were getting the brochure without checking prices.

Many ‘leads’ just never answered the phone or responded to emails, obviously, some of our leads were like this too, but a far smaller percentage as our ad copy and qualifying approach culled the timewasters and tyre kickers to a minimum, so only people who knew what they were looking for, with a budget that fitted the client’s pricing, were asking for brochures, meaning a far better lead to sale rate.

In under six weeks, the client was back with us as the other agency had optimised for lead conversion rates and thrown all thoughts of quality control, qualification of the lead, or the return on spend to the wind so the client came back.

We had them turned around inside the next few weeks and running at a lower volume but of far better quality and return on spend, coupled with a saving on mailing out info packs to people who were never going to convert, yet the lead to sale conversion rate increased back up to pre ‘optimised’ figures, with happier sales staff, more predictable revenue and management breathing much easier.

Not all prospective customers are viable customers, target and qualify them!

Conversion Rate Dont’s.

Don’t forget to compensate for seasonality. You may find that at different times of year you see a spike (or drop) in conversion rate, so try to pinpoint these in the data so you don’t feel too smug if it goes up, or dismayed if the figure is dropping, if it tends to happen at certain points in the year anyway.

Don’t benchmark your site against generic conversion rates. Conversion rates vary wildly by sector. Wordstream released average conversion rate data for 2019 across various sectors and the rates vary from under 2% for Advocacy, to almost 10% for Dating, with eCommerce at 2.81%, Health and Medical at 3.38%, legal at 6.98%, Travel & Hospitality at 3.55%.

Overall the average is conversion from Google Ads is 3.17% but if you run a dating site doing that, then you’re way behind the sector average so need to start looking at conversion rate optimisation as your peers are outperforming you by a long way. If you run a Home Goods site then you can feel a little smug about it as the average conversion rate is only 2.70%.

Bear in mind that these are averages and there will be outliers doing far better than the average. A client of ours averages around 40% conversion rate in an industry that typically sees single to low double-figure conversion rates, the difference is (that in addition to benefiting from our conversion rate expertise) he lives and breathes his product and knows what his clients want as he used to buy the same service himself before he moved over to selling it, so he’s got that advantage of most of his competitors, but he’s also taken our advice on board, coupled with the attitude that he knows his market, but data tells the real story so he’s open to experimenting, not everything works but overall the trajectory is upwards.

Don’t assume you know it all, as per the example above, knowledge can unlock conversion wins, but data ultimately proves what converts better so ensure you keep an open mind, don’t let your biases cloud opportunities to improve your conversion rate, track everything as granularly as is feasible and be open to testing all aspects, even ones that you think cannot be improved any further.

Using the calculation of Conversions Divided by Ad Interactions you can work out your initial conversion rate i.e. 100 conversions from 1000 unique visitors = 10% conversion rate.

If you generate leads, you can then calculate how many leads turn into sales, i.e 100 leads generate 23 sales, then your conversion rate is 100/23 = 23% conversion rate.

So your overall conversion rate from visitor to sale would be calculated as 23 sales divided by 1000 visits = 2.3% overall visitor to sale conversion rate.

If you’d like more info on increasing your conversion rate then drop us a line for a chat.

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