UPDATED JULY 7th, 2020
Conversion rate directly affects your bottom line, so when it drops suddenly, it can be concerning. And so many factors affect the conversion rate that it’s often hard to know where to start when it comes to bringing it back up. After all, everything from a website redesign and outdated copy to technical errors on your site can drastically change the conversion rate.
So how do you know what caused your conversion rate to drop, and what can you do about it? Here are the top eight details to consider—and the changes you can make—to bring your conversion rate back up.
1. Consider Any Recent Changes You’ve Made to the Site
If your conversion rate dropped suddenly, your first step is to pinpoint when the sudden decrease took place—and whether it happened to coincide with any changes you just made to your website. So think about the last time you made any updates to your site, from design adjustments to new plug-ins or apps.
Even if you didn’t make any changes to the site yourself, it’s possible an automatic update went into effect and caused your conversion rate to drop. So look over your site’s log of changes and take note of when they occurred to see if they correlate with your new, lower conversion rate. You should also look at your list of plug-ins and apps, as sometimes they become unsupported or need an update, and your conversion rate may pay the price.
Even if recent site changes do not seem to be the reason your conversion rate dropped, note that it’s a good idea to keep a close eye on your conversion rate right after you make any site adjustments. Getting into this habit will let you immediately know the reason for any dips in the rate so you can quickly reverse the changes before you miss out on profits. You might also want to do some A/B split testing on your site after you update it, so you can see which adjustments result in higher conversion rates!
2. Look for Technical Errors on the Website
If you didn’t make any recent changes to the website, maybe you should, as technical problems can make your conversion rate drop pretty fast. For example, if the shopping cart on your site is not working properly, your conversion rate is going to plummet, and there’s no guarantee those customers will give you a second chance by returning to the site once it’s fixed. For this reason, you should check the shopping cart’s functionality first!
You should also make sure the site is compatible with all browsers and operating systems. You can do this by opening the website on Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge, Internet Explorer, and both iOS and Android mobile. Make sure all the products load properly and that you can add them to the shopping cart with no issue. Also, look for broken links, pictures that don’t load, or coding problems as you browse the site.
You can use Google Analytics to help you through this step of figuring out why your conversion rate dropped. If you open Google Analytics and go to the Browser section, you can see an e-commerce report that will tell you which browsers are not bringing in conversions like they should be. This will help you narrow down the problem so you can fix it!
3. Make Sure the Site Is Not Too Slow
If you’ve ever exited out of a website that didn’t immediately load, you already know the importance of a site that loads quickly. While you might assume your content is worth waiting for, rest assured that most visitors will not give you the benefit of the doubt.
In fact, one study found that most people expect a site to load within 2 seconds, and for every delay of 100 milliseconds, you can expect a 1 percent decrease in your conversion rate. So the speed at which your site loads does matter!
You can use a tool like Google’s own Page Speed Insights to determine how fast your site loads. If it takes a few seconds, you should try compressing your images, using a cache, and reducing your redirects. Then test the site speed again so you’re one step closer to improving your conversion rates.
4. Check on Your Ads
Another step to take to after you notice your conversion rate dropped is to examine your ad campaigns. This is especially important if you normally get most of your web traffic from your paid ads, as a sudden decrease in ad effectiveness will bring your conversion rates down fast.
First, find out if your scheduling for the ads has ended, as you likely chose an end date for each ad and it might have simply come and gone. Next, take a look at the audiences you’re targeting. It might be time to adjust them so you target a different group that is more likely to buy your products.
It’s also good to make sure the content of your ads—and the landing pages they take consumers to—is still appealing and accurate. For instance, if the ads mention summer and now it’s fall, you need to update the content so it’s still relevant. And if the ads mention a discount—but the landing page does not reflect it—you’ll get fewer people buying from you, so make sure all your ad content is in alignment.
5. Think About the Products You’re Marketing
Sometimes when your conversion rate drops, it’s not all about your marketing materials, but the products themselves. You may be getting consumers to the website, but they’re not buying from you, and it could have to do with the products themselves.
If your conversion rate dropped recently, the products were good enough to sell at some point, so what’s changed? Well, it’s possible that the products themselves were re-branded, or are being positioned differently. If the product itself has its own landing page off of your site, check that your ad copy still represents the product in the same way that the advertiser is doing so.
If there’s a difference in the expectations set by your ad and the advertiser’s landing page, then your conversion rate could have dropped because of customer confusion or a lack of trust.
6. Take Trends Into Consideration
In some cases, it’s not that the product itself has changed, but demand for it has. This is often due to seasonal trends beyond your control. For example, most people are less apt to spend money in January, right after the holidays, so be prepared for your conversion rate to temporarily drop during this time.
You should also consider trends for your specific industry. If you look at your traffic and conversion rates for the same time in recent years, you might find these are typically down around this time of year. You may be able to make up for it by adjusting your content or offering a discount on products if you don’t want to have to wait for the conversion rate to come back up on its own.
7. Look at Your Sources of Site Traffic
Another way to see why your conversion rate dropped is to look at the sites that normally send traffic your way. You can use Google Analytics for this, as this tool will tell you how much traffic you’re getting from each source.
If the conversion rate from just one or two sources of traffic has decreased, it may indicate an issue with certain parts of your marketing funnel. For example, maybe the content those consumers see just isn’t very persuasive, or the design of the landing page isn’t appealing. Make some changes and then check back on your conversion rate in a few weeks to see if it’s increased.
If all the sources of your site traffic appear to lead to lower conversion rates, maybe the market has simply changed. Just ensure that you keep your site optimized and your ads as relevant as possible.
8. Double Check the Tracking Codes
It’s possible your conversion rate dropped due to issues with the tracking codes, so double check this detail. Whether they weren’t installed correctly from the start or you accidentally changed them as you made adjustments, you should take a look at them as you try to find out why your conversion rate dropped.
One tool you can try using is the annotations feature within Google Analytics. This is an easy way to keep track of the changes you’ve made to your site over time, as you can quickly see when and where you might have made accidental adjustments to your tracking codes.
In addition, think about whether you’ve correctly added tracking codes to any new offers and landing pages you’re using to market. And if you use plugins, be sure they integrate with Google Analytics properly. Otherwise, your conversion rates won’t be what you’re expecting to see.
As you can see, there are several possible reasons for your conversion rate to drop. The most important detail to remember is that there’s no need to panic, as it’s common for your marketing metrics to change over time. Fortunately, the reason is usually within your control and you can make the necessary changes once you identify the issue—whether it’s a slow site, inaccurate tracking codes, or a broken shopping cart. Going down this list should give you an idea of which details to check so you can get your conversion rate back up as soon as possible!