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

Author's avatar By Dave Chaffey 30 Nov, 2011
Essential Essential topic

The latest conversion, mobile and referrals benchmarks

Value/Importance: [rating=4]

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:

Author's avatar

By Dave Chaffey

Digital strategist Dr Dave Chaffey is co-founder and Content Director of online marketing training platform and publisher Smart Insights. Dave is editor of the 100+ templates, ebooks and courses in the digital marketing resource library created by our team of 25+ digital marketing experts. Our resources are used by our Premium members in more than 100 countries to Plan, Manage and Optimize their digital marketing. Free members can access our free sample templates here. Dave is a keynote speaker, trainer and consultant who is author of 5 bestselling books on digital marketing including Digital Marketing Excellence and Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice. My personal site,, lists my latest Digital marketing and E-commerce books and support materials including a digital marketing glossary. In 2004 he was recognised by the Chartered Institute of Marketing as one of 50 marketing ‘gurus’ worldwide who have helped shape the future of marketing. Please connect on LinkedIn to receive updates or ask me a question.

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