Conversion Rates Are a Pretty Crappy Metric

We have an unhealthy obsession with site conversion rates.

When they’re up we feel good. When they’re down we want to shoot someone.

As a former conversion addict I can tell you conversions aren’t the right only metric. Just like carat weight of an engagement ring isn’t the only measure of love.

When you focus on conversion rates you are telling yourself (and your team): people that buy are everything and those who don’t buy mean nothing.

And what you believe drives your team’s attention. When the big cheese says something (even if it’s presented as a possible idea) the team runs with it.

So, What’s the Trouble with Conversion Rates?

The single most valuable asset in the world is attention. So people navigating your site might not be paying with their credit card but they most certainly are paying with attention. And attention is $$.

When we focus on credit card digits we end up ignoring attention.

Why Focus on Attention?

Because getting credit card digits is the end result of attention. It’s impossible to succeed in the attention game and fail in the credit card game. But it’s very possible to succeed in the credit card game and fail in the attention game. And those who fail attention eventually die.

Framing the Question

Don’t ask: Why is our conversion rate 3.2%?

Ask: How come 24% of our visitors spend 4:10 minutes (which is an eternity online) but only 3.2% end up buying?

You’ll realize that the second question will take you down a completely different path.

How to Track Attention for Your Site

That’s going to vary from site to site. It can get complicated (because we’ll need to add markers at critical steps of the funnel). But one simple solution is to look at visitors who spend more than 2 minutes and view 4 or more important pages.

Thank you for investing time to read this post. If attention is something you want to explore further, just comment below and let’s talk.

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *