You’re doing conversion rate WRONG

It’s not your fault, everyone does it wrong. The platforms accentuate the issue, they feed you what a conversion rate means, and this then ends up in your reports, your meetings, and ultimately goes all the way up through the business. The platforms are spreading something which is incorrect!

Historically, the “conversion rate” has been the number of conversions in a given period divided by the number of visits. This metric is utilised to understand the efficiency of both offsite marketing and onsite web performance. This is unfair to both parties for a multitude of reasons. Two for starters:

  1. The performance of the website on converting someone who arrives is highly dependant on the quality of the individual it has been marketed to.
  2. For marketers, the performance of an individual when they arrive at the website is determined significantly by the quality of the experience that the website provides.

The first thing to address is the concept of conversion. At CUBED we have used the logic of macro and micro conversions. A macro conversion is the brand’s revenue driving action and micro conversions are points of interaction and engagement that occur throughout the journey leading up to an action, a form fill or a sign up to the newsletter for example.

Non-bounce conversion rate

A quite simple way to understand the performance of a website without letting the quality of the marketing visitors impact the result is to remove bounced visits form the analysis. A bounced visit is someone who has only visited one page on the website and then leaves without interacting (it is slightly more complicated than this, calculations vary, but this is the jist.) By removing bounced visits you end up with the visitors who have interacted in some way and have given an indication that this is the brand that they wanted to engage with. If you now divide the number of conversions by the non-bounced visits you will get a better indication of website performance than if you just include all visits.

Visitor conversion rate

As an industry we have started to shift from ad-driven marketing to consumer/customer driven marketing. This means that we can move between conversion rate from visits to visitors. The goal of this is to change the logic to reflect the marketing performance towards how efficient we are at converting consumers into customers.

As a brand this is incredibly important as we know that it will most likely take a significant number of interactions over a long period of time, and through segmentation, we can understand what truly works.


Brands need to look at either non-bounced visit conversions or visitor conversion rate or a combination of both to actually understand the performance of their marketing and their website. The “conversion rate” on its own can be very misleading, especially in organisations which are growing and investing in new marketing tactics.