Conversion rate – the conversion guide incl. Explanation & examples

If you have your own website, you will come across the term conversion rate at some point. But what is it really? 

In a nutshell, the conversion rate can be defined as follows:
The conversion rate describes the ratio of visitors to a specific action.

But how do you calculate your own conversion rate? When is a conversion rate good and how can it be increased? You will learn all of that in this guide.

Let me explain it with an example:

For two months now you have been offering the option to subscribe to a newsletter on your website. After a month you have changed the color of your button and want to know whether this has led to more entries.

Of course you can just look at the number of new entries, but that is not really meaningful, because of course the number of your website visitors is not always the same. So that you can compare the development correctly, you first have to calculate your conversion rate. This then indicates in percent how high the proportion of users who have actually registered.

With that, the question of what the conversion rate is good for has already been resolved. It is there so that you can compare your marketing processes and target actions independently.

Calculate conversion rate – this is how it works
You can easily calculate the conversion rate by dividing the number of conversions by the number of visitors and multiplying that by 100. How to calculate the conversion rate in percent:

(Number of conversions / number of visitors) x 100 = conversion rate in percent

To go back to the example from earlier:

In the first month, the website had 2500 visitors, 150 of whom signed up for the newsletter. Inserted into the formula it looks like this:

(150 registrations / 2500 visitors) x 100 = 6% conversion rate
In the second month the website had 6,000 visitors and the number of conversions rose to 280. First of all, we can be pleased that there were more entries in the newsletter. But to find out now whether there were really more conversions in relation to the number of visitors, the values ​​have to be reinserted into the formula:

(280 registrations / 6000 visitors) x 100 = 4.6% conversion rate
This calculation shows that the conversion rate fell in the second month.

In order to get reliable values ​​it is of course very important that you use the correct numbers. The number of your visitors should really be the number of users, not the total number of page views. A user can of course also call up 3 or 4 different pages from you. If you calculate your conversion rate with this value, it would be falsified.

Evaluation of different processes
You can evaluate any process that you know the number of who could theoretically have executed the process and know how many of them actually executed the process.

Here are a few examples:

Download a free product
Registration in the newsletter
Registration on a website / forum
Buying a product
Click on an ad
However, it can of course also happen that a process does not consist of just one goal, but of a series of goals. Here we speak of micro and macro conversions.

Micro & Macro Conversion – What’s the Difference?
As already mentioned, in some cases there is not just one goal, but also other intermediate goals on the way to the great goal. This can be the case in online shops, for example.

The main objective (macro conversion) of an online shop is of course that a product is bought. But this is not possible without an important intermediate goal (micro conversion): The customer must first put products in the shopping cart.

The Marco Conversion describes the entire process, while the Micro Conversion deals with the smaller intermediate goals.

Why is it important to distinguish?

It’s simple: you can only improve your processes if you know where your users get off. For example, if an online shop has a good micro conversion (products are added to the shopping cart), but the macro conversion (purchase of products) is very bad, one can assume that the problem lies with the completion of the purchase process. In the conversion optimization, it is then important to check what can be improved so that the users not only add products to the shopping cart, but also actually complete the purchase.

What is the good conversion rate? When do I have to optimize my conversion rate?
There are no fixed key figures for good and bad conversion rates. This is also due to the fact that very few speak openly about their conversion rates.

Then of course it also depends on your goal. In other words, which conversion rates do you evaluate exactly? When it comes to downloading a free product, you can normally expect higher conversion rates than if you wanted to sell a product. The conversion rates also differ greatly within different industries. So you can’t give a blanket value here. But there are different studies that deal with conversion rates from different industries and with different goals. has prepared an overview for this. If you want to get involved with other trade fairs, you can have a look here.

I would advise you to ask yourself if you are happy with your conversion rate or not. However, from experience I can tell you that you are never really satisfied. One always strives to optimize the conversion rate. With some of my lead forms, I have already achieved conversion rates of over 5%. Nevertheless, I am constantly working to improve it, because theoretically every user who comes to my website is interested. Then why shouldn’t I have the goal of getting all users to carry out my target action?

In practice, of course, I know that this is not possible. Nevertheless, I am of the opinion: As long as the conversion rate is not yet 100%, there is always something to do.

How can I optimize my conversion rate?
In the rarest of cases, one is at peace with the conversion rate right away. Therefore there is a need for optimization in almost all cases.

There are various steps to optimize the conversion rate that I would like to go through with you in detail.

Step 1: Does the offer really suit my target group?
Before you start tinkering with your landing pages or your shop, you should first ask yourself whether the offer fits your target group at all. The following applies: the higher the accuracy of fit, the more likely the users will jump on your offer.

Especially when you place advertisements for your website or your shop, you not only have to ask yourself whether your offer fits your target group, but also whether your target group generally fits your website. Because even if your offer fits your website and your topic 100%, but your target group is imprecisely defined, your conversion rate will leave a lot to be desired.

This point is also very important for the conversion rate optimization of advertisements. Take a look at the design, ask yourself whether you hit the nerve of the target group and also take a look at the text of the ad. Of course, you can also let people see your ad here who have not yet seen it. This can help to come across formulations that could prevent you from clicking on the ad.

Step 2: technical optimizations
Technical problems or limitations are often underestimated. But that can also affect the conversion rate. These include, for example:

Too long loading times
Broken links
Operating problems with touchscreens / small screens
So you should always make sure that your project runs flawlessly.

Step 3: Usability optimization
The next step can then be to look at the usability. If your conversion rate for online shop sales is too low, see, for example, whether the users can find products quickly and easily. Check whether the shop also works well on mobile devices such as smartphones and also see whether there is anything in the direct purchase process that could prevent your users from buying. This can be, for example, very high shipping costs (which the user cannot understand) or restricted payment methods.

Of course, you should also make sure that everything works. For example, if you offer a form for subscribing to the newsletter, test the form on different devices (PC, smartphone, etc.) and also in different browsers. Then go through the entry step by step. If individual user groups have problems registering, this can of course also lead to low conversion rates.

Step 4: Content & layout adjustments
Every pixel has to be thought through, especially with landing pages. A missing call-to-action, a headline that does not immediately address the user or a poorly worded explanation of the content can lead to a low conversion rate.

The color scheme of a page naturally also plays a role. Think about how you want your page to look. Very colorful landing pages can quickly appear unprofessional or too intrusive. Pay attention to a harmonious overall picture and also keep an eye on the legibility of your texts when designing the colors.

You can read more about the design of a landing page here .

Test different pages against each other with A / B tests
Especially with content adjustments or optimization of the layout, so-called A / B tests can help you to evaluate whether your optimizations were successful or not. Because if there are changes, it is of course also possible that your conversion rate will not increase but decrease.

With an A / B test you have the opportunity to randomly show your users two different versions in equal parts. So you can test different versions over the same period. Only in this way can you really achieve comparable values.

With an A / B test, however, you should always make sure that you only carry out optimizations step by step. For example, if you change the heading of your page, add a button and change the background color, you have no way of seeing which optimization led to changes in the conversion rate. To really find out, you should really only optimize one element in an A / B test. If you were able to achieve more target actions, you can use this version as the starting version and carry out the next optimization.

But how can you test two landing pages against each other, for example? To do this, you need a tool that enables you to automatically show your user different versions of a page.

I use the Thrive Themes tool “Thrive Optimize” for this. This WordPress plugin enables me to create and evaluate A / B tests directly in WordPress with just a few clicks. You can watch it in the following video:

more on this
Note: In order to use Thrive Optimize, you must have created your pages / landing pages with Thrive Architect.

Of course, you can also create A / B tests if you are not using WordPress and Thrive Architect. You can do this with Google Analytics, for example. You can read in detail how this works here.

These optimizations and tests will help you to increase your conversion rate. Patience is particularly important because this is the only way to achieve really optimal results.

You now know how to calculate your own conversion rate, evaluate it correctly and carry out optimizations to increase the conversion rate.

One thing is particularly important: patience and diligence. This is the only way to achieve optimal results.

Basically, I recommend that you work on the conversion rate optimization before you start advertising or similar for your project. Because of course your investments in advertising will bring you more if you have a conversion rate of 3.5% instead of 1.5%. With 1000 visitors per day you would achieve 35 instead of 15 conversions.

Frequently asked questions about the conversion rate
In the last few weeks I have had more and more questions about the topic of conversion rates, which I would like to briefly address at this point:

Does a higher conversion rate automatically mean more success?
No. The conversion rate alone does not indicate success or sales. An example of this:

You run an online shop for cosmetic products and have a conversion rate of 1.5%. Your direct competitor tells you that they have a conversion rate of 2.5%. Does it automatically generate more sales? Not necessarily. In order to be able to compare both shops, only the conversion rate is not sufficient. In addition, you still have to know what your average shopping cart value looks like and how many visitors it generates per day.

Let’s assume you both have an average shopping cart value of € 50 per order. However, you can show 1000 visitors a day, but only 500. This is what the bill looks like:


500 visitors x (2.5% CR / 100) x 50 € = 625 € turnover

1000 visitors x (1.5% CR / 100) x 50 € = 750 € turnover
So you can see that the conversion rate says absolutely nothing about the success of a company or a website. In order to measure this, even more key figures are necessary. The conversion rate only indicates how well a website or shop converts, i.e. converts visitors into customers or leads.

What does conversion rate mean in German?
Conversion rate can be translated as “conversion rate”, “conversion rate” or “conversion rate”. The term “conversion rate” in particular makes it clear what the conversion rate means, namely the conversion from one user to another status (e.g. buyer, subscriber, etc.).

What is a cart conversation?
In this case, “cart” stands for the English term “shopping cart”, which means the shopping cart or shopping cart in an online shop. The cart conversion describes the percentage of users who not only put products in the shopping cart, but also actually completed the purchase.


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