Every time I present on website tracking and analytics, I inevitably get this question: “What’s a good conversion rate?

That’s because I talk a lot about tracking conversion rates from visitor to lead and from lead to sale.  Those conversion rates are absolutely critical to track and try to improve for every marketing campaign.

But here’s the thing;  There’s no “good” conversion rate.  That’s like asking “what’s a good marathon time?”

Well, if you’re an elite runner then a good time might be only 2 hours!  If you’re an amateur runner then 3 hours is “good.” If you’re in my sandals, then anything close to 3 hours 30 minutes would not just be good, it would be amazing.

What is a Good Conversion Rate?

It’s all relative, my dear Watson…


Tracking Is All Relative

Do you see how there is no one size fits all answer to the question?  It’s all relative to the person in the case of a marathon time, and it’s all relative to the business in the case of website conversion rates.  A good conversion rate for Main Street ROI might be a lousy conversion rate for your business, and vice versa.

That’s why absolute values are not as valuable to track as relative values.  For example, what if I told you one of my landing pages had a sales conversion rate of 2% last month? Is that good or bad?

What if I said  it was 4%?  Now is that a good conversion rate?

The answer is that you still do not know.  There’s simply no way to look at a conversion rate in isolation and determine whether or not it’s good.


Set Your Goal & Track Incremental Improvements

My goal for the 2014 NYC marathon is to run it in 3 hours and 30 minutes.  As I said earlier, for me that’s an amazing time.  I ran my last marathon in 3:46 and the one before that I ran in 4 hours flat.

Based on that information alone, I don’t think I’ve set an outrageous goal for this year.  I seem to be “on track” based on my past performance.  Of course, I have a long way to go and I plan to run several races throughout this year to gauge my progress.  As long as my pace is getting faster and faster and my endurance is increasing, then I know I’ll be able to reach my goal.

I’m sure you already know where I’m going with this.  Improving your online marketing campaigns is no different.  The key is to set your goal (like increase website conversion rates from 1% to 1.5%) and then track the relative, incremental improvements over time to ensure you’re getting closer and closer to the goal.

Remember, tracking your online marketing is not about finding some magical number.  An absolute number alone tells you very little about the health of your marketing.  It’s much more important to measure the incremental changes and make sure they are moving toward (instead of away from) your goal.