The Changing World of Conversion Touchpoints

The Changing World of Conversion Touchpoints

Brad Geddes

Last updated October 17, 2018


Most marketing materials talk about the average website’s conversion rate as a roughly 2-4%.

That means that 98-96% of your visitors aren’t converting.

While this statement is factually true; it’s also widely misleading as its based upon last click attribution.

For instance, let’s say

  • Day 1: 100 people visit the site, 1 person converts.
  • Day 2: The same 99 people visit the site, 3 people convert.
  • Day 3: The same 96 non-converts visit the website and 4 people convert.

Now, I can say that I’ve have a 3.9% conversion rate; which is 8 conversions from 295 visits. Or I could say I have an 8% conversion rate as I’ve had 100 unique visitors and 8 conversions.

The new reality is that consumers visit websites at least 6 times, on average, in the purchase process (source: Nielson). 

Those 6 visits could be 1 on your website and 5 on competitor websites or 4 on yours and 2 on others, and other combinations.

I took an in-depth look at one of our advertisers that we’ve worked with for years to see if the number of visits before conversion had changed over the years. In examining 7 months of data that occurred in 2011 vs 2016; we see that the conversions with only 1-2 visits has dropped and the number of conversions with 3+ visits has grown significantly.

This advertiser took a look at this data and immediately started using audience targeting methods for AdWords which resulted in very nice gains in conversions and revenue.

Take a look at your analytics account. Do most of your conversions come from people who are visiting your site multiple times? If so, you really should engage in audience targeting to make it easy for them to find you past your initial touchpoint with that user.

There are 3 ways to use audience targeting with paid search advertising.


RLSA or remarketing lists for search ads, allows you to create custom lists of user behavior on your site. You can then use this list to change the ads, keywords, or bids for each user list when they do a search for one of your keywords.

Customer Match

Customer match allows you to create lists from your CRM or email system. You can then use these lists to target users across search or some display targeting options such as Gmail or YouTube.

Display Remarketing

Display remarketing allows you to create custom lists of user behavior for your site and show ads to those users across the display network. An advanced usage of display remarketing is known as dynamic remarketing. With dynamic remarketing you can include the products (such as ecommerce, hotels, jobs, and more) the user viewed on your site directly in the ad so that the ad is always relevant to the user.


The initial visit from a user just introduces your brand and starts your conversion conversation. It’s often the subsequent visits that are necessary to lead a person to finally convert. If that user is not finding you on those additional visits, then you will lose that customer to the competition.

Audience targeting is no longer just something we talk about in display or social advertising. Managing audiences by first brining in visitors, watching their behavior, segmenting them into audiences, and then continuing to engage with the best prospects should be an integral part of your paid search efforts. 

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About the Author

Brad Geddes is the author of "Advanced Google AdWords", and founder of Certified Knowledge, an online source where the Paid Search community comes together for PPC training, tools, and advice. Brad makes it his mission to share his expertise in Paid Search with online marketers so they can build successful online campaigns that generate business. He frequently writes columns for Search Engine Land, co-moderates the AdWords forum on Webmaster World, has spoken at more than 35 conferences, and has led more than 60 AdWords seminars.

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