12 minute read

Are your ads performing better or worse than others in your industry? Without a benchmark like average conversion rates, you have no way of knowing.

In this post, we’ll review current average industry conversion rates and provide tips on how to improve them. You’ll discover just how you stack up against your competition so you can figure out if you should step up your game or maintain what you have been doing.

As a word of caution, industry conversion rates are still generalizations. Your unique business may have particular circumstances that cause you to have a much higher or lower rate than what benchmarks say. That said, these numbers can serve as a general guide.

Here’s what we’ll cover. Click on any link below to jump to that section.

How to calculate conversion rate

A conversion is defined as either a sale or submission of information, which a tracking pixel can track. In B2B online marketing, a conversion is usually defined as obtaining a lead’s information rather than a sale. A sale can take months or years to close given the large scope of a product or service offered. (More details on B2B in the B2B conversion rate section.)

Calculating the conversion rate is as simple as dividing the total number of conversions for a page by the total number of visitors to that page and multiplying by 100 to get a percentage. The conversion rate will tell you what percent of the visitors actually converted.

Conversion rate % =
(Total number of conversions / Total number of visitors) x 100

What is a good conversion rate?

A good conversion rate varies by industry. Some industries have lower conversion rates than others for a variety of reasons, such as:

  • Marketers have saturated these industries.
  • Industries require less prospect information or money to get a sale.
  • Consumers in some industries are more likely to convert than customers in other sectors because the pricing and/or benefit is so enticing.

Industry conversion rates vary largely because the customer buying decision process and level of commitment are different for each. For example, deciding on a software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution is different from deciding to buy a pair of jeans. Therefore, you should try to compare your conversion rates to your specific industry as a baseline.

Industry conversion rates vary largely because the customer buying decision process and level of commitment are different for each. Click To Tweet

Average e-commerce conversion rates

What is a good conversion rate for e-commerce? In the image below, Monetate, one of the world’s top customer experience software providers, broke down e-commerce conversion rates in their quarterly e-commerce data report.  You’ll discover that e-commerce sites average around 2.9% globally, with desktop converting much better than smartphones.

monetate ecommerce conversion rates

What’s fascinating about the data is that people will buy on their phones or tablets, but desktop is still more popular. This difference does make sense since it is usually easier to compare, view the details of the product, and checkout via desktop.

Average B2B lead conversion rates by industry

The B2B industry is another factor you have to account for when seeking out accurate industry conversion rates. While some industries are completely B2B, other industries like software can be split down the middle as B2B or B2C. Since B2B has an entirely different business model (larger price points, longer sales cycles, many more decision-makers involved, etc.), B2C benchmarks you find can be inaccurate guideposts for B2B conversion rates.

This image below reveals B2B conversion rates by industry based on data by MarketSherpa, an independent marketing research company.

marketing sherpa average conversion rates

Landing page conversion rates by industry

So far, we’ve covered average conversion rates for e-commerce and across different ad providers. Now we’ll take a look and landing page conversion rates by industry.

By focusing on average conversion rates for just landing pages, we get a more accurate picture of how real marketers are doing because landing pages are usually optimized for one action and one action only: the conversion. Unbounce, an established marketing publication and landing page service, conducted research to identify conversion rates of landing pages by industry.

unbounce average conversion rates

In another report, Unbounce studied 74.5 million visits to 64,000 lead generation landing pages using the Unbounce product.

industry conversion rates from unbounce

As you can see from the image above, industry conversion rates can vary dramatically for landing pages. The median conversion rate from both reports hover between 3-5.5%, so that’s what I’d use as an average conversion rate here. That said, I’d recommend focusing on the number for your industry to get a more realistic baseline.

Email marketing conversion rates by industry

Another large chunk of conversions on the web come from email marketing. Klaviyo, an e-commerce email marketing solution, analyzed over 9 billion campaign emails and 190 million workflow emails sent by over 4,000 companies. Here are the highlights from the data. (I recommend checking out the article to get a more detailed breakdown of email open rates based on welcome emails, abandoned cart emails, or win-back sequence emails.)

Campaign email open rate averages across all industries are at 35%. Conversion rates ranged from 0.31% to 4%.

  • Animal & Pet Care – 0.31%
  • Arts & Crafts – 3%
  • Automobile & Parts – 1%
  • Beauty & Cosmetics – 4%
  • Computers, Electronics & Acc. – 0%
  • Fashion & Apparel – 1%
  • Food & Beverage – 2%
  • Garden & Home Goods – 1%
  • Health & Fitness – 1%
  • Jewelry & Accessories – 1%
  • Media & Entertainment – 1%
  • Outdoor & Wilderness Gear – 1%
  • Toys & Games – 2%

Fortunately, the email conversion rates by industry don’t have as large a range as Facebook conversion rates, which we’ll take a look at later on. Why is this the case? Social media conversion rates may be higher on average once you get prospects to the appropriate landing page. Email marketing involves hundreds of millions of emails being sent out. That vast amount of impressions may cause the difference in rates between industries to seem much smaller.

Email marketing conversion rates by email type

Remarkety, a marketing automation solution, studied millions of e-commerce emails. Based on the data, these are the conversion rates you can expect broken down by the type of email you’re sending. Note that this particular study defined conversion rate as the percent of people who placed an order within three days of opening or clicking an email.

  • Newsletter – 1%
  • Order Follow-Up – 5%
  • Inactive Customers – 2.6%
  • Abandoned Cart – 5%
  • Member Follow-Up – 2.7%

There’s a stark difference between the average conversion rates for a newsletter versus a follow-up or abandoned cart email sequence. Clearly, any follow-up activity, whether it’s via email or through remarketing ads, can’t be underestimated.

While these numbers aren’t broken down by industry and instead are an aggregate of industries, you still get a sense of how one campaign type, like order follow-up, will generally outperform another, like newsletters, which typically promote top-of-funnel content and help build relationships. I suggest adjusting these benchmark rates up or down a bit based on your industry.

Your email open rates play a big role in the number of visitors that even get to the conversion page, which influences how many conversions you get. MailChimp found industry benchmarks by looking at millions of delivered email campaigns with at least 1,000 recipients. The highlight of the study was that industry open rates ranged from 17 to 25%.

If you’re averaging well below those numbers, it’s a sign that you should work on your email subject line copywriting, setting expectations of what someone will get when they sign up, and adding excitement. Many email providers also let users preview the first sentence or paragraph of the email, which is arguably the most important part of the email because it gets more users to click through.

Nevertheless, email marketing has become more and more saturated through the years, so you’re likely to see an overall decline in average open rate across industries as the years tick by.

Heap, a data behavioral analytics company, examined conversion rates by ad provider. Google and Bing had the highest conversion rates, at 8%, which is 1.5 times higher than Facebook’s, which you can see from the image below.

heap ad provider conversion rates

I find these results fascinating because our experience has been a bit different. Based on more up-to-date data from our agency, we see Google performing the best from a conversion standpoint, swiftly followed by Facebook. Bing has slowly been on the decline for many years and doesn’t come as close. Google ads have stood the test of time, while Facebook ads are starting to reach its saturation point. The results make sense because social media advertising is an interruption-based process, whereas search engine advertising meets users based on the intent of the search query. Therefore, the prospects you get are usually more qualified and interested right off the bat.

You’ll notice in this image below that there is a difference between providers in conversion rate spread.

heap advertiser conversion rate spread

Bing, Facebook, and Google have the greatest spread of conversion rate. The variance in conversion rates could be due to a variety of factors, including less experienced advertisers or conversion rate optimization experiments, which conversion optimization best practices can improve. Higher conversion rates are likely indicative of master advertisers and copywriters who understand their audience and small audience sizes. There’s no way you can maintain a 25% conversion rate on any ad provider once the target audience side grows too large.

Facebook ad conversion rates by industry

WordStream broke down Facebook ads conversion rates by industry to get a more specific picture of how the conversion rate varies. This infographic shows a significant difference between industries, with the lowest (tech) hovering at 2% and the highest (fitness) at 14%.

facebook conversion rates by industry

These results show a stunning difference in conversion rates between industries using the same ad provider. Industries like education (13.58%) may have a much higher average conversion rate due to a variety of factors, such as less competition, a more urgent need, and less supply.

You can’t compare performance across different industries on Facebook because the numbers show it’s like comparing apples to oranges. The retail industry has a 3.26% conversion rate, but the real estate industry has a 10.68% conversion rate. This large range suggests you need to pin down the Facebook-specific conversion rate for your industry before you talk about how good or bad your conversion rate is.

Google ads conversion rates by industry

WordStream analyzed hundreds of accounts with conversion tracking and significant volume to identify a benchmark conversion rate. They plotted their results in the image below.

search conversion rates by industry

The median conversion rate was 2.35%, while the top 10% of Google Ads advertisers have account conversion rates of 11.45%.

WordStream also analyzed thousands of Google Ads accounts with a total of $3 billion in annual spend to discover the average conversion rates by industry. The company found that 5% conversion rates put you in the top 25% of advertisers. See the image below.

google ads conversions rates from wordstream

google ads conversion rates

What our data tells us about Google ads conversion rates

We want to provide some original data ourselves. Our agency has dozens of clients, with total spend in the millions. We built a PPC and landing page tracker that aggregates most of our accounts’ conversion rates. We were averaging 7.78% conversion rates across major Google ads accounts until a recent, large testing project increased our aggregate conversion rate to 9.88%.

It’s easy to assume that the conversion rates reported by the top 10% are impossible. But as you can see, it’s possible although difficult to achieve the so-called unicorn top 10% status.

Great conversion rates don’t happen overnight. It requires various points of optimization, including Google Optimize experiments, geo customizers, responsive ads, new landing pages, and new ad copy.

7 ways to increase conversion rates

So what do you do if you’ve just realized that your current conversion rates are less than the industry average? I have seven tips that will help you increase your average conversion rates.

If your conversion rates are below industry average, use these 7 tips to help give them a boost. Click To Tweet

1. Reduce the required information

Especially in the B2B industry, opt-in forms have tons of fields that increase friction and repel people from filling them out. Since many of these forms are shown to prospects only moments after they first discover your company, it’s only natural that users wouldn’t be inclined to give you their full name, phone number, address, annual revenue, or other details — yet so many B2B companies ask for all or most of this info. Even in B2C, most companies can reduce friction by eliminating required fields to the bare minimum, which is usually just the email address. Chances are you’re not swimming in leads and customers yet, so you don’t need to be filtering leads by having them jump through extra hoops.

2. Write compelling copy

Eliminate standard landing page copy and offers. Especially in B2B, I still see too many opt-in pages and websites that ask for an email and other private info in exchange for “joining a newsletter” or “getting an ebook.” People don’t want to join your newsletter. They want the benefits of what that newsletter provides.

Get more creative with your copy rather than the standard “free trial” or “free consultation” offers. Communicating offers in creative ways is not as tough as you think. The bar is low in the marketplace.

Plus, you can learn from those that have already done it. Insurance isn’t the most exciting industry, but Geico has managed to make its offers catchy and concise. They leveraged a mascot, a gecko, with a valuable offer: save 15% or more in 15 minutes — even though other insurance company could’ve potentially made the same offer, they captured that deal in the minds of consumers.

Dollar Shave Club turned a standard razor kit delivery service into something fun, manly, and humorous with their videos.

Apple turned a computer that people saw as a tool for accounting and other business needs into something that represents rebels, creatives, and out-of-the-box thinkers. If you can add emotion, benefits, themes, or humor, your conversion rates have a good chance of improving.

3. Improve the user experience

The user experience of the page you want users to convert has a noticeable impact on the conversion rate. If your forms aren’t intuitive and if users have to spend too much time thinking about what to do next, they’re likely going to feel frustrated and bounce, rather than convert. User experience also encompasses technical considerations. If your website is loading too slow, your users will leave before they’ve even seen all the content. Alexa’s SEO Audit can help you swiftly identify technical SEO problems that may provide a poor user experience and inhibit conversions.

4. Tailor messaging to the customer journey

The stages a prospect goes through in the customer journey require different messaging. If a prospect has never heard of your brand or product, catch their attention by highlighting the benefits of your product rather than your brand name. On the same note, you should highlight your brand name to a prospect that has been exposed repeatedly to your brand and is a loyal follower already.

These differences in messaging trigger different emotions and are tailored to search intent, all of which will improve the chances your prospect will convert. If you fail to tailor the proper messaging to the right stage of the journey, your conversion rates will be less than ideal. A prospect isn’t going to be inclined to jump on your offer when your headline and major messaging focuses on a brand they aren’t familiar with or a need that misaligns with their own.

To make the offer relevant for your audience at each point in the purchase funnel, Alexa’s Competitor Keyword Matrix can help you find the right types of keywords for each part of the marketing funnel.

5. Include social proof

Social proof is a phrase that is thrown around everywhere these days, even in pop culture. While using social proof may seem obvious, common sense isn’t always common practice. Our agency has encountered plenty of companies that know social proof is important, yet they haven’t included any on their opt-in or check-out page — or website.

Adding social proof to a page doesn’t have to be some enormous ordeal. You can add a single expert quote, customer testimonial, simple marketing case study, prestigious publication or company you’ve worked with, award you won, or average rating on a review site. Or, you can start with something as simple as a screenshot of your reviews. Any social proof can help give people the push they need to convert.

6. Use a wizard

Instead of a traditional opt-in page that has a bunch of fields, a wizard will personalize the experience for users and offer value upfront by asking tailored questions based on a prospect’s answers to identify the best solution. A wizard gamifies the opt-in process, making it more fun and personalized.

You can use a wizard to offer a recommended product or answer to an informational question. In the fitness industry, you can offer a person an answer to which diet or workout aligns best with someone based on his or her age, lifestyle, and body fat percentage.

7. A/B test the smart way

Usually, your first landing page test isn’t going to convert the best. That’s normal and to be expected. You must realize that the bulk of the improvements in your conversion rate is likely to come from the dozens of tests you conduct to iteratively improve your landing page over time as you perfect your ad copy.

The mistake that often happens is that a live landing page gets unattended because of other priorities. Frequent testing can give you important insights and help you increase conversions for your pages.

By always split testing new variations of your page, you can incrementally improve your conversion rates over time. When starting, test significant changes because you don’t know what works or doesn’t. Small tweaks to the button color or font have a minor impact.

For more in-depth tips on optimizing conversion rate, check out these five conversion rate optimization best practices.

A review of average conversion rates

As you can see, it’s vital that you get as specific as you can with the exact industry and method of obtaining your conversions so you’ll have an accurate benchmark for your business. If you’re doing email campaigns, look for email conversion rates by the specific campaign type you’re doing. If you’re looking to benchmark Facebook ads performance, look at landing page conversion rates for Facebook ads in your industry. If you fail to get specific and use a general conversion rate benchmark, you may end up shooting for an impossible number or thinking you’re doing much better than you are.

Understanding average conversion rates will help you spend your money wisely. A quick glance at industry averages can tell you if you’re doing something wrong or if you’re right on track. These numbers give you a level of awareness that helps you swiftly identify and fix a conversion rate optimization issue you weren’t aware of.

But remember, use these numbers as guidelines. Many variables affect conversion rates. Additionally, conversion rate averages generally all decline over the years as more marketers pour into the competitive landscape. And you shouldn’t let them put you in a box of expectations because you never know how far you can surpass them until you test.

Based on the data presented and our experience serving hundreds of clients, Google, Facebook, and Instagram currently have some of the highest conversion rates and most promise. But compare your performance with each provider’s industry rate since the numbers in each provider range dramatically by industry, especially for Facebook.

How are your current conversion rates?

To make sure your site is able to drive the highest conversion rates, sign up for a free trial of Alexa’s Advanced plan. You’ll get keyword research and SEO analysis tools to help you ensure your landing pages are fully optimized and engaging for audiences.

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