When Conversion Rates are Meaningless

Analyzing conversions rates is one of the most important activities an Internet marketer does. Finding out which channels and/or keywords have high conversion rates lets us know where to put more resources. And finding out which channels have low conversion rates tells us:

  • Where we have to analyse deeper to find out what is wrong
  • Where to test different approaches to improve results
  • Where to stop wasting money if we can’t fix it

Google Analytics shows us the conversion rates. The only problem is that sometimes Google Analytics lies to us. Here is one scenario you have to check. We have a client where there is a keyword we bought on Adwords with an extremely low conversion rate. We analysed further. Here is what we found:

  •  The conversion rate in one country was extremely low
  • The conversion rate in another similar country in the same language was normal but had very little traffic.

This didn’t make sense so we went to Google Adwords’ Invalid Clicks Fraud number. If this is not showing in your adwords campaign you can click on the Column tab and add the Invalid clicks column. Here we found that Adwords was disallowing large amounts of traffic for this keyword as it was suspected of not being legitimate clicks. We agreed.


In this table you can see that click fraud or invalid clicks is very significant for the first campaign. We isolated which keyword had the click fraud. If we didn’t do that the conversion rate for this keyword would be very low and we may have decided to stop advertising on it which would have been a mistake.

The only problem is that in Google Analytics, click fraud is not filtered out. Therefore the conversion rate on this keyword was much lower than it is when you take out the fraudulent clicks. Any decisions made based on the conversion rate shown by Google Analytics may be wrong since GA is showing false information.

If a conversion rate doesn’t make sense make sure you dig deeper. Otherwise you may find yourself making the wrong decisions.



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