What is conversion rate optimization?

Conversion rate is a key success indicator on
your website. Read our guide on how to ensure your conversion rate is optimized
to achieve your website goals.

is conversion rate optimization?

One way to measure success as an advertiser, affiliate, or
publisher is to analyze and optimize the conversion rate of your marketing
content. Conversion rate optimization helps ensure your potential
customers have a seamless journey towards making a purchase.

is a conversion? 

A conversion is when a visitor on your website takes a
particular desired action. A conversion is not just a purchase, there are
smaller goals you may be targeting. It might be a visitor adding an item to their
cart, subscribing to a mailing list, creating an account, clicking an affiliate
link or otherwise. Conversion rate optimization, or CRO, is the process of
increasing the conversion rate. 

is a conversion rate? 

Conversion rate is a measurable value that typically looks at
the number of conversions on your site against the overall traffic of your
site, but there are actually a few different ways you might measure

Every time a user visits your site is an opportunity for
conversion, so generally conversion rate measures the ratio between how
many people visit your site and how many of those visitors take your desired

You might also measure conversions against sessions for a single
user. For example, if somebody visits your site four times, that’s four
sessions, and if they make a purchase on two of those sessions, that’s two
conversions. The conversation rate here would be two divided by four:

If you were looking at the conversion rate for the site as a
whole, you’d divide all conversions by all sessions to find the conversion

You might choose to measure unique conversions against unique
users, as a user may revisit your site after already converting. That means
someone might visit your site hundreds of times – but so long as they make one
conversion, the conversion rate will be 100% (one conversion divided by one
unique user).  

How you measure conversion rate is up to you; go with what you
think makes the most sense for your website and audience. If you’re unsure,
then dividing total conversions by total visitors and deriving a percentage is
standard in affiliate marketing.   

is a good conversion rate? 

As a general guideline, conversion
rates of 0.5% to 1%
 are considered average for affiliate marketing

B2B companies or finance companies tend to have higher
conversion rates, while e-commerce companies can expect conversion rates
between 2% to 6%.  

It varies within each industry, too. In ecommerce and retail,
fashion, health, and gift brands are likely to have the highest conversion
rates, nearing 5% on average, while consumer electronics generally has the
lowest, at just over 1% on average.  

Conversion rate might also vary based on the traffic source;
display advertising garners a low conversion rate (0.7% on average), while
organic site visits have the highest (2.9% on average). Mobile site visits tend
to have lower conversion rates than desktop, while tablet conversions sit in
between the two.  

optimization planning 

Conversion rate optimization means analyzing your audience and
understanding what must be improved upon in order to persuade them to take your
desired action. It might involve the UX of your website and how usable it is;
it could involve how you’re marketing your brand on your website from visuals
to copy, or even something as simple as altering a CTA.  

Let’s explore some of the most effective ways to approach
conversion optimization.  

Quantitative data  

It certainly helps to have data to guide your approach, so that
you’re not simply taking guesses on what needs to be done.  

Analytics tools can
provide detailed information about the performance of your content and the
behavior of your audience. With the right setup, you’ll be able to track a
visitor’s journey entirely, seeing what link brought them to your site, which
point they left your site, and more. Using advanced tracking can give
visibility on which device customers use to browse and click through compared
to where they complete their sale, which can aid to tailor your offering across
different platforms. SingleView offers multi-touch attribution across
all your digital channels to give a holistic view of your marketing efforts and

With this information, you’ll be able to identify trends,
strengths, and weaknesses in your approach. You can, for example, see which
pages are most popular – and therefore most likely to encourage conversions –
and prioritize this area.   

Qualitative data  

It can also help to engage with your audience and gain real
insight into their behavior and decisions. Data analysis may offer the what,
where, when, and how, but it can’t really tell you the why. Qualitative
analysis is just as important when it comes to conversion rate

Once you’ve performed quantitative analysis, you’ll know which
audience segment you should be targeting. You can then approach members of this
segment who visited your website with a survey, asking them about their
experience with your brand.  

Aim to find out how they perceive your business and product. You
may find that there are features that you should be placing more focus on. You
might learn that your on-site copy is not as enticing as the on-site copy of
your competitors, or that the design and UX of the website are too difficult to

Through this feedback, you should be able to gain a clear idea
of what needs improving in order to appeal to your core

A/B tests 

Running A/B tests is a great way to compare two different
approaches and see which performs best. An A/B test involves changing one
variable while keeping everything else the same, and monitoring the

For example, you could test the difference between two different
pieces of copy – one that’s more casual and another more formal, or perhaps two
different images of your product. Perhaps your A test will tout the ease of use
and convenience of your product, while your B test focuses on quality and value
for money. It could be as simple as announcing a special offer in a headline
without revealing the sale price versus including the sale price in the
headline itself.  

After doing a bit of analysis you’ll have a good idea of which
areas to focus on, and running A/B tests will help you define and refine your
approach to these areas and see what works.  

rate optimization strategies 

Abandoned cart notifications 

Abandoned cart messages – whether by email, app notification, or
within a site itself, can help draw visitors back to your site to complete a
transaction. With this approach, it’s important to avoid irritating your
potential customer, but rather just give them a friendly nudge and remind them
why they should purchase your product. If they’ve already added it to their
cart, you know they’re already interested – now you simply need to close the

Exclusive offers 

Special offers are a wise way to get conversions, especially
when they come with an air of exclusivity. Display advertising is a great way
to do this – you can create special offers that are only available to those who
click the link. This link can direct the user to a landing page where they can
collect a discount code, free trial, or another special deal.  

Email marketing is another great place to offer exclusives. This
will entice users to subscribe, and the feeling of exclusivity might push them
towards a sale. You could also do so through what are known as ‘lead flows’.
These are special pop-ups that appear on your website when specified actions
are taken.  


Perhaps the simplest thing you can do to ensure your site is
tailored for conversions is to make sure you always include strong calls to action
(CTAs). CTAs can be included in the body copy on your blog, in the metadata of
your website, on landing pages, and as standalone buttons. They can be simple,
like “Buy Now” or “Get a free quote,” or more alluring,
like “Start Saving,” “Learn More,” “Explore
Discounts,” etc. A button with a CTA will often be the final piece of text
someone sees before they click through to your affiliate link, so it has to be

UX & site structure 

Making sure the user experience (UX) of your site is smooth and
accessible is a must. Customers don’t want to navigate a labyrinth of pages to
make a purchase, so make sure your website has a logical structure that creates
a clear path towards conversion. Don’t overload every page with too much text
and imagery that might distract users from the goal. A messy website might be
off-putting, and it might also impact the page speed of your website, another
factor that can negatively impact conversion rates.  

Tools for publishers 

Website publishers can
take advantage of tools designed to help optimize conversion rates. Making sure
your site is set up for success is easy with ShareASale’s publisher tools, like Custom link tool, which
helps you convert regular links into affiliate links, and the ShareASale Product
Discovery Bookmarklet browser extension, which helps publishers join affiliate
programs, generate custom links and URLs, and more tools that make promotion
easier and stronger.  

Conversion rate optimization is a process that any publisher, merchant,
or brand should prioritize. Conversion rate is the ultimate measure of success,
and whatever your conversion goals may be, optimizing your online experience to
increase conversions will set you up for growth. 

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