Conversion Rate or User Conversion Rate? Which is the best metric?9 Aug 2019
Which one is best to use for evaluating campaigns and your website conversion rate?
The answer is User Conversion Rate. If you don't understand why, you need to read this....
Let's start at the beginning...
A conversion can be a number of things including users who have completed
1/ Goals you have set up in Analytics; and / or
2/ Transactions - if you have set up E-Commerce reporting in Analytics
Conversions / Goal Completions are reported when a visitor to your website has done something you wanted them to do (and have set up a Goal to measure this). Usually organisations measure visitors who:-
- Arrived at a Thankyou page after completing a form or purchase
- Clicked on some button or link on your website that you have tracked such as your telephone number, email address link, Pay by Paypal button, etc
However, there are a lot of reasons why Conversions are under-counted and why you need to understand how Google calculates Goal Conversion Rate.
1/ Cross Browser Traffic Issues
Probably the most common cause of miss-reading the source of your conversions is that Google really struggles to attribute conversion to the right source due to 'cross browser' behavior. E.g.If someone clicks on your fab social media ads on a mobile and visits your website and then returns on a desktop later on by simply searching in Google for your company name - which lets face it is quite likely - then as far as Google Analytics is concerned this person arrived either via Direct or Organic Search channel.
If they then complete one of your Goals this would be attributed to Direct or Google / Organic - and your Social Media ad - which actually was the original source of this visitor - would not receive any recognition for the part it played.
Whilst Google is making efforts to resolve cross browser tracking it remains a major issue for accurate reporting and will usually under-count conversions on all Channels except Direct and to some degree Organic traffic.
2/ Attribution Modelling Issues
By default, Google Analytics uses a model called 'Last click attribution' for Goal Conversions. This means that the Conversion is 'attributed' to the source/medium/campaign which was the last website/link they came from.
E.g. If they clicked on an Google Ad, came to your website, and then completed a Goal - this conversion would be attributed to the relevant Google Ad Campaign/Ad Group.
Great, but what if they didn't buy first time? Let's say this user didn't buy first time they visited your site but came back later via an Organic Search on Google and then bought: Then the Conversion would be attributed to Google /Organic and the Google Ad would not receive any recognition for the part it played.
What this means is that a lot of the reports in Analytics under count conversions for certain channels - in particular PPC, Social Media, Referrals etc. It over-counts conversions from Direct traffic.
However, there are more detailed Conversion reports in Analytics to get a feel of how users convert.
Before making decisions based on your Goal Conversion Rate you should check out the following reports: Conversion Path, Assisted Conversion and Attribution Modelling reports.
3/ Goal Conversion Rate Issue
Google Analytics metrics 'Goal Conversion Rate' is how many sessions lead to a conversion.
Whilst this is a perfectly reasonable way to measure conversion it can lead to odd results and a misunderstanding of Conversions.
Why? I hear you ask...
If you imagine the following scenario...
I visit your website from a Facebook post; and I don't convert/buy in this session (visit).
A bit later in the day I go back to my Facebook feed to have another look and I click on your post link again and take another look at your website but I still don't buy/convert.
I then ask my boss if they think I should buy. She says 'yes' - waahoo - so then I click on the Facebook post again and this time I convert.
The data would look like this
If I use Conversion Rate as the metric I might ask the question - why only 33% conversion rate - what happened to the other 77% !
However if you use the metric 'User Conversion Rate' this would report:
Both 'Goal Conversion Rate' and 'User Conversion Rate' are good metrics but in the example above most people would think that User Conversion Rate gives a better idea of how well our Facebook post performed and how well the website converted the visitors.
On discussion with some other Analytics insights experts, they all agree - User Conversion Rate is usually better for measuring Campaigns, Sources and your website performance.
Before you all go off with the intent of using for User Conversion Rate there is one problem.
It's not there.
However, the good news is that you can create it in Admin under Calculated Metrics. If you don't know how see my next article.
Once you have set up the custom metric "User Conversion Rate' you can use it in Custom Reporting, Saved Reports and Dashboards. It is a bit of a faff but once you have done this these reports will always be available to you.