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Funnel analysis and improving conversion rates

Funnel analysis is one of the most important and efficient methods when working with goals and conversions. Wherever there is a process of two or more steps, there is a funnel to monitor and improve. Make sure you establish the baseline, i.e. the average conversion rate over time. Then you will be able to take action when the conversion rate is changing.

Funnel analysis setup

Make sure you have identified pages that are defining your funnel. If your funnel i.e. the process you want to monitor is defined by classic web pages, originating from your CMS, then the job is easy, by recording the URL of each step, from start to finish. If the process is dynamic, i.e. a Single Page Application (SPA), as designed by JavaScript or similar technologies, you need to use measurement technologies with Tag Management Systems (TMS) or similar, where the steps are being identified and thereby generating page calls to be tracked. Each step in the process, from start to finish, should be identified by a step name, which is easy to understand. Also, the entire funnel should have a name which is unique within your organization.

Example: “car-loan-funnel” and the steps “loan-terms”, “car-details”, “person-details”, “loan-offer” and “receipt”. Having these attributes present may seem like extra work today, but if you want to prepared for advanced analysis, then attributes are essentials.

Baseline conversion rate understanding

Once you have your funnel analysis in place, you will see conversion rates, both in total and per step in the process. As an example, you may have 100 visits on the first step “loan-terms”, 90 visits to “car-details”, 75 visits to “person-details”, 60 visits to “loan-offer”, and 30 visits to “receipt”. This would give you a general conversion rate of 30%. If you check the conversion rate per day, week, month and year, you will notice the conversion rate will vary. It might typically be 25% Monday to Friday, 32% on Saturday, and 35% on Sunday. Make sure you are aware of price changes, discounts, campaigns and other external influences that may change the conversion rate. If the baseline conversion rate is 30% on a weekly basis, it might increase to 50% due to better terms, or it might decrease to 15% if there is a lot of marketing to end users not really in the target group of your offer.

Make sure you know your baseline, i.e. the base conversion rate, both overall, and on weekend days, where the customers normally convert at a higher rate, because they would not go onto a site on a Saturday without being more than normally interested in converting, typically.

If the baseline is changing, then take a look at the step by step conversion rates. Where is the change coming from, what step? Check if the application has been changed. Also, check the conversion rate versus browser type and version, screen resolution and device type. It is not unusual that developers make solutions which do work great with some browsers, but they don’t work well with other browsers. A new release of a browser may seriously hit your business. Make sure you are on top of the issue by having all the funnel measurements ready before the funnel conversion rates are dropping.

Improving conversion rates

In a perfect world, the conversion rate will be 100%. Due to competition, the complexity of applications, lack of understanding, users being reluctant to do decisions and so on, the conversion rate will be lower than expected. Watch out for the steps with the largest numbers of “lost customers”, e.e. the lowest step conversion rates. Check what reason there might be why the customers are leaving. Try to move all personal questions out until the very last moment you need them to be sorted out.

Don’t create distractions from the main objective unless it is needed. Any extra information asked for will always reduce the conversion rate. Change the text, color, and layout of text and steps where you lose customers. Do not add a lot of extra links into the process, and make sure navigation is smooth so that the customer does understand easily that input may be changed and that nothing is being committed until the final confirmation page is displayed. Remove any graphics and text that is not 100% needed in order to convert, and measure every change, so that every time the conversion rate is going the wrong way, you may replace the change with the previous more successful version. And finally, take some risks, because taking risk is the best way of learning, and a large change is usually making larger changes to the conversion rate.

Analyzing fields and errors

The key measurements in any funnel analysis are the page steps which are defining the funnel. Still, every step does own a number of fields to be filled in, and a number of possible error states. Make sure you do measure all error messages, including what step they do belong to, and also what field they are related to. If you are not happy with the conversion rate, then take a look at the field by field conversion rates, and the error messages, by setting up a custom report which is correlating the number of visits to steps, fields, errors, and conversions vs total visits to the various steps and fields.

Data attributes

A product code is one of the most important data attributes within all processes. A loan process may be different for a house loan and a car loan, even if the steps are the same. Rather than setting up one funnel per product, you might have one funnel for all loans or all car loans, then it will be possible to analyze conversion rates per product. Also, a code, like a product code, might be mapped into product details, i.e. more than just one attribute, which means you may see if the conversion rate per type, group etc of product.

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