Editor’s Note: This post has been updated with fresh content and new links to better serve our (ridiculously good-looking) readers. 😉
Original Publication Date: April 16, 2013
Conversion rates are a big part of why PPC is so much fun.
PPC marketers get to see the ups, the downs, and the steady rolling of our pay per click marketing efforts. We “sorta” test, we conclude, and we make a lot of changes and decisions based on emotions, and not so much analytics.
We do what we think is right because “we like it”, and not so much on how the “visitors like it”. Most of all, we try to figure out what the average conversion rate for PPC is in the industry and set that as a goal worth reaching for.
But what if that logic makes no sense at all? What if average conversion rates are completely worthless and have no implication on how you or your business is doing? The truth is, average conversion rates should have no meaning when it comes to anything.
Average PPC Conversion Rates Vary By Industry
The average conversion rate for PPC for a camel rental website might be extremely high since there aren’t many competitors offering camel rentals.
The average conversion rate via PPC for a small tech shop might be horrible since they’re competing with Best Buy and Amazon.
It really depends on the individual business and what they have done to maximize their conversion rate.
Here’s a great quote from Chris Goward at Unbounce:
What I’m trying to say is that average conversion rates tell you nothing about your business! The only important thing is that you are profitable, and what you are selling is making a profit via whatever the current conversion rate is, right then and there.
But that doesn’t mean that you should stop trying to improve the conversion rate for PPC. You should always try to squeeze out everything you can from your advertising dollars.
When people think of average conversions they think they could just randomly enter any business industry, slap up a website, and then start expecting that conversion rate. They want to see how they compare to others in their industry.
Online conversion rates are only influenced by your initial messages (PPC ads, blogs, and other inbound marketing) and your website. That’s it!
How Do I Improve My Average Conversion Rate For PPC?
The functionality, calls-to-action, and overall experience a visitor has on your site are where the money is.
Ask yourself how you can make it easier, more fun, and more enjoyable for potential customers to convert. That’s the question you should ask, not “What is the average conversion rate for PPC?”
So you get smart. You test and test and test until you find out what is increasing conversion rates and not lowering them. Because that’s where your growth as a company is. To reduce costs while increasing profits. And you try an endless pursuit of reaching a 100% conversion rate. Just like Patrick…
As you can see in the infographic below, average conversion rates for PPC vary greatly by industry, and also by the network. I would, however, take this data with a grain of salt as I don’t believe it to be quite accurate.
Don’t Forget the Two Different Networks
It’s important to keep in mind that your PPC conversion rate can vary depending on the network.
We’re all very familiar with search networks on Google and other affiliated search engines like Bing, but let’s not forget that there is a whole other world of advertising in the display network.
The display network, with all its placements, banner ads, video ads, texts ads, etc., can bring about a very different conversion rate than the one from your search network advertising. Because the intent is much different, the display network should hold a different rate expectation.
Usually, display network ads will have a lower conversion rate than that of search network ads.
Why? Because your display ads are being shown to a larger audience that has less urgency than users in the search network.
Ultimately you’ll find that some industries have extremely low conversion rates, but each sale brings in a lot of profit. You might also find an industry where their conversions count leads, not sales, thereby creating a higher conversion rate illusion.
Depending on your industry, sales cycle, and other factors, your conversion rate will be unique to your business. The goal of your PPC campaigns, however, is almost always the same: optimizing your conversion path to bring in more leads, prospects, and sales.