True Conversion Rate For Content Value

The real value of a client’s site taxonomy and webpage content is not truly available from Google Analytics when viewing the provided conversion rate. The conversion rates in the Goals Overview data cubes, and built-in tables do not reflect the User Experience of your target market. This raises three major concerns for the analysis of advertising value, budgets, and page performance.
  1. Those conversion rate percentages are calculated using sessions as the denominator.
  2. Those conversion rate percentage are calculated using bounced and non-bounced sessions in the denominator.
  3. Effective and actionable analysis requires a true conversion rate.
Sessions are not the best denominator to use for goals especially when the stakeholders are evaluating advertising budgets based on goal completions by channel, sources and mediums. When your digital advertising team is investing a lot of valuable efforts identifying key demographics and programmatic media buys based on user interests groups and user performance there is even more critical reason to stay away from the Google Analytics built-in reports and metrics. The solution is to use Calculated Metrics. Using a calculated metric available in the Admin section of Google Analytics, you’ll need to define the conversion rate based on Entrances, and based on Non-bounced Users. While the Entrances metric is still not a one-to-one metric of individuals who are visiting the website, conversion rates based on Entrances are typically higher than conversion rates based on sessions or users. Why entrances and not users or sessions is best defined in an article from the google analytics support page on bounce rate. In that article they define a bounce as a visitor who exits the entrance page without visiting any other page of the site. Even if the visitor bookmarks the landing page and returns 10 times but does not engage with the conversion or whatever the call-to-action may be, each return is a bounce.

The Non-Bounced Users metric provides a view of the conversion rate based on visitors who are engaged with the client’s website/content. I call this metric a True Conversion Rate (TCR). The onus for increasing the number of these engaged visitors is on the advertising team. By developing the TCR you are providing the stakeholders and the advertising team with analysis which provides evidence of the landing page and the websites ability to convert when the right target audience clicks through from the advertising. When you combine the TCR with audience segments, behavior segments, and drill down by source/medium in your analysis, many key actionable insights unfold.

  1. Does the landing page convert when visited by the target audience?
  2. Is the call-to-action communicating effectively?
  3. Is the landing page the right message for this audience?
  4. Are you targeting the right audience?
  5. Which programmatic logic is working, which isn’t?
  6. How much different is the conversion rate: > 300%, 500%, etc.?
  7. What can organic engineering learn from the paid audience landers?
There are dozens more insight probing questions that could be added to the list, and depending on the client vertical and offers you can always find significant impact using TCR. Here’s the how-to guide.

Log in to the View level of the client’s Google Analytics Admin tab. From here click on the calculated metric opportunity. 
Calculated metrics for true conversion rate

The View Level of Admin is where to find calculated metrics


Of course we’ll need to click the New Calculated Metric button.

create-metric





  1. Name the metric
  2. This is a system completed naming convention.
  3. There are five formats to set. In this case we are creating a percentage.
  4. Write the formula.
Four steps to create the metric

Four steps to create the metric


Make absolutely certain to set the formatting to be a percentage. The data management system will add the variables as you begin to type in the formula box. Use the goal completions in the numerator and make sure to use parenthesis to surround the denominator. Remember the rule of operators, PEMDAS?


As shown in the image above I’ve set the denominator for the true conversion rate to subtract Bounces from the total number of Entrances.

Now that you have the TCR defined you will need to create a custom report to use it in analysis. I typically create a single custom report and add a new tab for each goal that I have a TCR for. If you’ve never created a custom chart before… shame! But, you’ll see that it is fairly simple process and far more powerful for discovering insights.

Here’s my system for creating a True Conversion Rate report.

The first step is to navigate over to the Customization section in the client’s Google Analytics Admin. And, of course, create a new custom report.
Creating a custom report for true conversion rate analysis.

Creating a custom report for true conversion rate analysis.


Then you’ll need to build the report to include the metrics, dimensions, and any filters you require.

  1. Name the report, True Conversion Rate
  2. Add the Tabs, one for each calculated TCR
  3. Set the Metric. First metric is the TCR and the second metric is the conversion rate for the same goal. This gives you a side-by-side comparison of the two conversion rates for the same goal.
  4. The dimensions are a drill down function where the first position is the default and each dimension below it provides you with a deeper view. In my case I like to see the TCR by source. When I click on the source I want to next see the breakdown by medium. Drilling down again I’ll click a medium to see the landing page. Finally I can drill down on a landing page to discover the city the user was in when they completed the conversion engagement.
Here’s an example of the custom report.

true-conversion-rate
  1. Select the tab you want to analyse the TCR for.
  2. Compare the standard Google Analytics CR to the calculated metric for TCR
In this case the goal 9 conversion rate as reported in the built is Google reports is 1.26%. When the bounces are removed from the Entrances the True Conversion Rate is 5.27%. That’s a full 418% higher conversion rate. From here, when using a custom report, you can add custom segments just like you can in all GA Reports, and you can drill down to each dimension that was set when you created this custom report.

One last idea on the dimensions to drill down on is to add a Device Category option. There you can see what device is used more frequently for conversions.

tcr-device

In this case from the image above, I’m looking at phone calls to a call center from a website. The custom report identified there are more conversions from desktop devices then from mobile devices.

Interesting… and true conversion rate is 312% higher.

While Google still provides the analyst with no metrics that provide the actual number of visitors to the website or the webpage, we have to innovate and define as closely as possible. Entrances are a far better means to calculating conversion rate than sessions, but clearly we cannot truly provide the client with 100% data integrity. Using the entrances in this calculation of true conversion rate is a giant step closer to mastering optimization. 

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