If you’re using Google Analytics to track user behavior on your website, you’re probably familiar with your site’s conversion rate. But is the default formula (# of conversions/# of sessions) right for you and your specific site or business goals?
Take a look at the goals you’ve defined, and ask yourself, “Would a visitor to my site ideally do this during every session?” If the answer is yes, then that goal would be a good one to analyze with the traditional conversion rate formula. Examples of this would be goals defined by duration, pages per session, or certain events that you may have defined in Google Tag Manager (file downloads, etc).
But some goals for your site make better sense to consider on a user basis. For example, if one of your site’s goals is lead generation via contact form or newsletter sign-up, then you wouldn’t expect a visitor to fill out that form more than once. In this case, a user based formula would give you a better view (# of conversions/# of users).
For other goals, you might need to dig a little deeper into the “Path Length” and “Top Conversion Path” reports for each goal type. If you’re noticing that site visitors typically visit your site multiple times before converting, a user based conversion rate might be better for you. We see this often with high end products that certainly are not bought on impulse!
The reason this is important is because if you have a newsletter signup, and someone visits your site 4 times before actually signing up for your newsletter, the traditional formula is going to show you that you have a 25% conversion rate (1 goal completion/4 sessions). But if you create a new calculated metric for Newsletter Signup Goal Completions/Users (1 goal completion/1 user), your conversion rate is actually 100%! But this is more than just about vanity (although we love a high conversion rate!). It’s about using metrics that inform you of user behavior based on realistic expectations of how real visitors are using your site.