When Conversion Rates Get Too High

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Conversion Rates Too High

Before you scroll down to the comments section and scream “how can conversion rates be too high”, take a look at my reasoning below. Experienced internet marketing consultants won’t be surprised by what I’m about to put forward but if the title of this post seems bizarre, give me a few minutes.

Conversion rate optimisation is a very important process for any digital marketer and their clients. We certainly want to maximise the spend and effort it takes to funnel visitors from targeted segments to your website or app – and get a nice, juicy ROI.

So while we aim for high conversion rates, is achieving them really a good thing?

Why high conversion rates can be a concern

While high conversion rates are always very welcome, we need to think about what else might be going on here.

Here is the crux of my argument: a high conversion rate may indicate that you are missing opportunities and leaving money on the table.

Have a think about these questions:

  • What are you counting as a conversion? (A full ecommerce sale, viewing a key page, time on site, etc.)
  • Are you segments too narrow, possibly missing the customers on the fringe of your targeting parameters?
  • Is your budget too small, again missing other potential customers?
  • Are you focusing too much on conversion rate and not enough on the number of conversions?
  • Are your conversion goals actually contributing to your bottom line – your profits?

You see what I’m getting at.

Would you accept a 50% drop in your conversion rate statistics if your strategy also returned a 100% increase in profit? I would.

It’s time to push, experiment & get creative

The label ‘conversion rate‘ itself is probably partly to blame for the hyper focus on achieving a high conversion rate percentage in our reports each month. But if you accept my point on missed opportunity then perhaps you’ll agree that high conversion numbers indicate an opportunity to try a few things.

Here are a few areas to look at:

  • Increasing budget on profitable campaigns. Protect your positive ROI though.
  • Look for target segments that can be gently expanded and monitor to see if they increase conversions (not conversion rate necessarily).
  • With pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns, don’t dive in and destroy your conversion rate with overly aggressive experimentation. Conversion rate has a broader effect in this situation. Expand your campaigns cautiously or create separate experimental campaigns.
  • See if you can replicate your winning strategies with other tools within the same channels.

The internet is a fast moving place as we all know so be prepared to respond to a changing marketplace. Your ads may go stale, trends will change, competitors may move in or out of the market – the list goes on. How will you preserve your conversion rates in the face of all this flux?

Whatever you do, just don’t sit back and develop a phobia for change (I think that is called kainotophobia).

Know what is converting and why

Every online marketing campaign teaches you something. Hopefully this is because your strategy worked well, or even better than expected. Maybe it wasn’t so great. Either way, you learn something.

This is important when you are enjoying high conversion rates. Take the time to find out why you are getting such a high conversion rate and then work out how to replicate it. You may have discovered a winning strategy that you can roll out time and time again.

Also, if a winning strategy does start to fail then understand why that is happening. It may be something beyond your control and you may have even seen it coming after a performing a SWOT analysis. Regardless, if it is something you may face next time, you’ll know what to expect.


An online marketing report full of high conversion rates is an easy read and clients certainly like positive results. But temper the celebrations, you’ve got work to do.

Goals should be achievable, but not so easy to achieve that they barely qualify as a goal at all. Set the bar higher.

If you are an online marketing consultant then push yourself to achieve more for your clients. Doing the same thing every month and settling for a nice safe conversion rate to justify your fee is bordering on unethical.

If you hire a consultant or agency to manage your online marketing then make sure they are also working to boost your balance sheet. The charts in our fancy reports are nice but this is business and you’ve got financial targets to hit.