What is driving conversion as we near the end of 2011?

The latest conversion, mobile and referrals benchmarks


Recommended link: IBM Coremetrics 2011 Benchmarks

Our commentary on the latest Coremetrics benchmarks

We’ve featured the Coremetrics benchmarks in our average conversion rate roundup for some time. Today, it’s much more useful than what’s provided by Google since it looks at conversion rates and referrers together. It’s based on Coremetric’s (now IBM) clients who tend to be larger organisations, so can be used for larger organisations to benchmark against and give smaller companies and idea of the conversion rates you can achieve if you’re a large trusted brand.

In the past, we’ve featured UK and US data, but the latest data is just for the US - it’s around the Black Friday - Thanksgiving - Cybermonday weekend. Thanks to my friend Geno Prussakov to alerting us to it - Geno’s post features some of the time-related sales volumes.

Here are the three main trends I picked out from the data which I think are relevant for marketers world-wide.

1. Mobile sales and visits more than doubles year-on-year

We’ve posted alerts on statistics showing the growth of mobile use throughout the year. This is one of the most dramatic indications of the rate of change. Mobile has more than doubled as a percentage of sales and visits over the last year:

  • Mobile devices: 11% of visits 2011, 4% 2010
  • Mobile devices: 6.6% of sales 2011, 2.3% in 2010

Mobile growth 2011-2012

The report also shows the rising importance of iPad which has now overtaken Android and looks set to overtake iPhone usage on these sites soon:

iPad statistics 2011-2012

2. Social media drives limited direct traffic and sales but converts well

Looking at these figures, I think you’d agree with this statement, indeed Twitter has actually declined:

  • Facebook 0.8% of visits 2011, 0.73% 2010
  • Twitter 0.02% of visits, 0.07% 2010

Of course you need to use attribution models to understand the full path to purchase.

This does beg the question - are we investing too much time/money in social media marketing compared to other channels? However the role of social media in generating awareness through amplification isn’t taken into account here and we are seeing a higher proportion of social media visits do convert:

  • 9.2 percent of consumers that visited a retail site from a social media site made a purchase.
  • This compares to 5.5 percent of all direct online shopping last year.
  • Facebook accounts for 77 percent of all traffic from social networks.

3. Conversion rates “steady as she goes”

We used to talk about average visit to sale conversion rates of 2% or so back in the day. Previous Coremetrics compilations have shown that for trusted brands that figure could be double. The latest data shows these conversion measures for Cyber Monday:

  • Average conversion rate: 5.71%
  • New visitor conversion rate: 4.39%
  • Shopping cart conversion rate: 37.69%
  • Shopping cart abandon rate: 62.31%
  • Bounce rate (single page visit session): 64.37%

So, useful figures for 2012 planning if your creating budget models and looking to run conversion rate optimisation projects.

Here's the full report:

Share your thoughts

  • Thanks for your thoughts Tim. Conincidence I was on your blog yesterday reading that post – it prompted a look also at this: http://blog.awe.sm/2011/07/14/twitter-drives-4-times-as-much-traffic-as-you-think-it-does/

    I agree that apps/mobile use will lead the undercounting of contribution by maybe maybe 2-4 times, but if it’s say 4% social referrals compared to 1% it’s still a small direct contribution (event if attribution shows a higher percentage).


  • This is very useful data. Thank you. But I’m dubious about the data for social marketing. I suspect that the number of social visits is being underreported because of the absence of referrer information when people use mobile apps for social channels.

    So some of the apparent decline in Twitter use might be caused by an increase in use of Twitter via mobiles rather than traditional devices. Facebook will be affected by the same issue, though perhaps not to quite the same extent.

    I’ve written more about the referrer problem in a post which also contains a link to Thomas Baekdal’s study of the same effect:


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