Subtle Website Conversion Rate Influences

by SMD 

I’ve been thinking about conversion rate lately. In general conversion rate is the ratio of sales to potential sales. So in a conventional retail store it could be the number of sales made divided by the number of people who entered the store.

For this website, it is the number of clicks on the ad links / number of pages viewed [this is called the click-through rate or CTR]. When it comes to text based ads there are some basic best practices.
These include:

  • Narrowly defined story topics. This is to insure that the ads match closely with what the viewer is interested in.
  • Have ads in prominent positions on the page. On the top [above the fold] and to the left if possible.
  • Have the ad styles match their immediate surroundings [link and text colors the same as other links on the page]. This is to essentially blur the distinction between ads and other links.
  • Eliminate barriers [lines, color changes, boxes] between the ads and there surroundings.

The tips above are the standard optimization for text based ads on a content page. What I’ve really been wondering about is the less tangible factors when it comes to conversion rates for on-line businesses. For brick and mortar stores this subject area is thoroughly studied. Product placement, color schemes, background music and even store fragrance have all been studied extensively as conversion tools.

I am wondering about the corresponding factors for on-line conversion, especially when it comes to text-based ads clicks as the desired conversion result. Can the writing style influence CTR? Do certain website color schemes generate higher CTR [all other factors being equal]? How about ad color schemes? Ad shapes? Do page layout factors affect clicking habits?

My site doesn’t have sufficient traffic to do a thorough test of these subtle influences to website conversion rates. For now they will remain just questions. Here’s an article will some more info and stats about the realationship between conversion rates of on-line and off-line retailers. Comments and observations welcome.

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One Response to “Subtle Website Conversion Rate Influences”

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