What Is Conversion Rate and How Do You Calculate It?

Tiffany Ellis
November 20, 2022

What you'll learn

What you'll need

Conversion rates are determined by the percentage of people who took a desired action. Of all metrics on your website that you must get right, a higher conversion rate is a big one. If your website’s purpose is to generate sales, customers, or leads, you want to be not only aware of what your site’s overall conversion rate is, but the rate of your individual conversion events, as well. 

What is the average conversion rate for a website?

For e-commerce conversion rates in 2022, the average is 2.63% in the United States. Globally, however, the e-commerce conversion rate averages around 4.31%. 

Conversion rate data is often only shared anonymously, as it’s not conducive to good business sharing that type of data with the general public, especially not competitors. 

Because of this, conversion rate data for any particular website is typically a closely guarded secret. The last thing an e-commerce business wants is a competitor redesigning their website to match theirs because the conversion rate is higher. 

What is a good conversion rate?

A good conversion rate is anything above the average for your industry, traffic source, or device type. You can break conversion rates down even further into the rates for specific pieces of content on your site, the browser your visitors used, to even the time of day, and more. 

Depending on your industry, conversion rates can vary wildly and fluctuate depending on the season. For example, the conversion rate for camping supplies lowers vastly in the wintertime along with traffic. 

By the time spring hits again, camping supplies are not only being searched for far more often, but people are buying at a higher rate than they would during the winter, even if the traffic was the same. 

Because of this, if you’re building a seasonal affiliate or e-commerce website, you need to be aware of the traffic and sales slowdowns that happen cyclically. If you’re not prepared to deal with these changes in conversion rate, your business could suffer or even fail completely. 

Industry conversion rates

No matter what industry your website falls into, you should know the basic conversion rate average for it so you know what rate your own site should shoot for. 

Image source

Here are the basic conversion rates for these industries:

  • Agency: 3.3%
  • Automotive: 2.0%
  • B2B Ecommerce: 2.0%
  • B2B Services: 3.5%
  • B2B Tech: 1.7%
  • B2C Ecommerce: 2.0%
  • Cosmetic and Dental: 2.3%
  • Financial: 4.3%
  • Healthcare: 5.6%
  • Industrial: 5.6%
  • Legal: 2.6%
  • Professional Services: 9.3%
  • Real Estate: 1.7%
  • Travel: 4.7%

Traffic source conversion rates

Traffic source conversion rates can vary just as much as industry conversion rates. Here are a few various traffic sources for you to consider:

There are more that we haven’t included here, but you get the general idea. 

Device conversion rates

Device conversion rates have done some strange things over the past decade. In the past, most sales came from desktop computers, and even though this is still true, mobile retail e-commerce sales have exploded. They’re expected to go beyond $430 billion in 2022

You can view conversion rates of desktops, phones, and tablets below:

Data source

How to calculate your conversion rate

You can calculate your conversion rate by dividing the number of conversions you get within your chosen time by the number of people who visited the page or website you’re tracking. 

This is your conversion rate formula:

Conversion rate = (conversions/total visitors) * 100%

What is a conversion event

A conversion event moves someone from being just a visitor to your website to being a visitor who generates income. Visitors can generate income for you in multiple ways, from purchasing a product or service directly from you to clicking on ads on your site to making purchases using your affiliate link. A visitor doesn’t have to directly give you their money to generate revenue for you.

A conversion event can be as complex as a completed product purchase or as simple as a customer adding something to their cart. 

Below, we’ve listed some examples of what you could count as a conversion:

  • Signing up for your newsletter
  • Signing up for an account on your website
  • Signing up for a webinar
  • Purchasing a product
  • Adding a suggested item to cart
  • Downloading a free PDF
  • Speaking with live chat
  • Watching a video for a specific amount of time
  • Calling your business
  • Clicking an affiliate link

This isn’t an exhaustive list of what types of actions you can track as conversions, but it covers the big ones. 

Conversion rate vs click conversion rate

Click conversion rate is calculated as:

Click conversion rate = (converting visitors/total visitors) *100%

This calculates the percentage of website visitors that turned into a sale, no matter how many times the same visitor made a purchase. When you have a lot of repeat customers, this is a metric that can be useful for your business. 

How to track conversion rate

You can track your conversion rate on your website via various methods, including:

  • Google Analytics
  • Anytrack.io
  • ClickMeter
  • MixPanel
  • Funnel.io
  • KissMetrics
  • And more

Google Analytics is the most popular because it tracks all traffic throughout your website and includes conversion tracking as a feature. It’s convenient to have these metrics all in one place, and the best part is that Analytics is free. Other software listed above is paid subscriptions. 

You may not know how to set up conversion tracking with any of this software, but even if you have to hire someone to set it up for you, it’s well worth the investment. 

The best business owners want to know exactly how they turned a visitor, a viewer, or a reader into a customer. Just throwing up a website, turning on some ads, and calling it a day isn’t enough to be competitive in 2022. You need to know what’s working and what isn’t, not only so you can make more sales but also to stop spending time and effort on things that aren’t working. Conversion tracking is critical. 

How to improve your conversion rate

The goal of any business website is to generate sales, so improving your conversion rate will be a continuous process. There are various ways to go about this; we’ll cover some below. 

Split testing

Split testing, otherwise known as “A/B testing”, is the practice of testing individual elements of your website, landing page, or ads to see which versions convert more visitors into customers. Have you ever made multiple changes on your website at once, and suddenly your conversion rate increased? Did you know which change made the difference? If you didn’t split test, you most likely don’t know what caused it. 

Split testing can be invaluable to nearly any online business due to the power of multiplication. If your website makes $100 in revenue from every sale and your conversion rate is only 1%, an increase to 1.5% is a big deal, right? You’ve increased your revenue by 50%!

Now imagine being able to increase your conversion rate from 1% to 5%. Or even 10%! You can have those revenue increases without a single drop of additional traffic. 

Here are a few items that you can split test effectively and variations you may find useful:

  • Heading text (font, size, color)
  • Calls to action (font, size, color, placement)
  • Add to cart button (color, text, placement, size, etc)
  • Product image (type, placement, size, etc)
  • Ad text
  • Sign up forms (design, number of fields, types of fields, etc)
  • And more

You can split-test many other things on your website, but these are some basics. 

Don’t underestimate the power of split testing on your website. It can create exponential increases in revenue with little cost associated with the process. 

Here are a few split testing SaaS to help get you started:

  • Visual Website Optimizer
  • Optimizely
  • Unbounce
  • Google Optimize

Create landing pages

You should never be sending paid traffic directly to your website’s homepage. Anywhere you promote your website online, be it paid traffic or social media, should have a dedicated landing page for that audience. In the case of paid traffic, you should have targeted landing pages created for each individual ad group with sales copy specific to the intended audience. 

The more relevant the page you land your traffic on, the higher your conversion rate will be. This is something that you can split test; create two different versions of a landing page to run your ads and see which one does better. 

Test traffic

Not all traffic is created equal. While you may get great results from Google Ads, you may get very poor results from Reddit or Facebook ads. When deciding where to invest your money, you want to test various traffic sources adequately before dumping a lot of money into them. 

Create a new offer

Have you been running the same offer, and it’s getting good results but not exactly what you hoped for? Maybe you should try creating a new offer or reframing your current offer. 

For example, have you ever heard of a “2 for 1” deal? It sounds great, right? 

But, what if I reminded you that “2 for 1” is the same as “buy one get one free”?

How you word things matters. In both scenarios, you’re still only paying the price of one product, but the word “free” is the top-performing word in conversions today. Instead of “2 for 1”, reword it as “buy one get one free” and see what happens. 

Conversion rate myths

There have been a lot of myths created over the past 20-25 years concerning conversion rates and it’s high time they be put to bed. 

Here are a few myths concerning conversion rates that you’ve probably heard but should be skeptical of. 

What color increases conversion rates?

There has been a long-standing myth that there are colors that are best and worst for add-to-cart buttons, calls to action, etc, but the truth is that there aren’t any. When deciding what colors to test on these things, you should look at your website and pick colors that stand out against the other design elements. 

Your calls to action and add-to-cart buttons should be unique colors that aren’t anywhere else in the site design. This lets your customers know that items that are this color are clickable, actionable items. Beyond this, the color doesn’t matter as much. 

Conversion rate best practice lists

While there are many articles on the best practices for conversion rate optimization or even lists of ideas on how to do it, you can’t just read these and stop there. 

These are great to reference and get the gears in your brain turning, but they shouldn’t be looked at as exhaustive lists of things you can do to increase your conversion rate. And let’s face it, there’s no way you can use every single split testing idea you run across online. 

On average, split tests take between 4 and 6 weeks to get solid results, so it would take years to complete a list of 100. But you can split test on more than one page at a time.

You must prioritize the things you believe you need to split test and don’t try to do more than one test on a page at any given time.

A/B testing doesn’t  work

Suppose you’ve started split testing on your website and haven’t experienced significant results. In that case, it’s one of three things: you don’t have enough traffic for split testing, you’re testing the wrong things, or you haven’t waited long enough. 

Split testing works, but you must ensure that you’re doing it properly. Sometimes test results are obvious and can occur quickly, even if not much time has passed, but this doesn’t mean you kill the test early. As mentioned earlier, it can take 4 to 6 weeks to see solid results that you can rely on, depending on your traffic. 

It works for our competitor, so it will work for us

This is one of the worst myths about conversion rate optimization. You can’t just do what your competitor does and expect it to work. It doesn’t matter if it’s having the same product page layout, graphics, etc. 

Your competitor has completely different branding from you, different audiences they’re targeting, and probably even different traffic sources. You can’t see what their incoming traffic looks like, so it’s impossible for you to copy what they’re doing and get the same results.


Conversion rate is the most important user metric you have access to on your website, and you should make the most of it by not only keeping track of it, but by doing the work necessary to improve it continually.

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