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FutureNow Article
Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2007

Unlocking Key Performance Indicators: “Take Rate”

By Ronald Patiro
October 24th, 2007

[This series will take an in-depth look at important web metrics, one-by-one. Enjoy!]

every conversion countsKey Performance Indicators or KPI’s (define) are the critical Web metrics you should be monitoring to evaluate the effectiveness of your site. Key performance indicators may differ depending on the business topology (ecommerce/retail, lead generation, content or self-service/support), but understanding them broadly is critical to any organization’s online success.

In this first installment of Unlocking KPI‘s, we’ll discuss the “take rate”; the amount of people taking you up on a given offer on your site. It’s not necessarily your “conversion rate,” because that term is generally reserved for the site’s primary goal, or macro-conversion (e.g., acquiring a new lead, processing an e-commerce order). Take rate is used to measure micro-conversions. These can include:

  • Newsletter subscriptions
  • Downloadable materials such as ebooks
  • Case studies
  • White papers
  • RSS subscriptions
  • “Add to Friend” links for social networking sites
  • Up-sell and cross-sell offers added to shopping cart

To calculate take rate, simply find the number of successes for the action being measured and divide it by the number of people exposed to the action.

Example: Lets say I write an ebook about where to find the best pizza in Brooklyn. 8,000 hungry people downloaded this ebook from my site last month. And during that month, my site received 80,000 visits. Of those visits, there were 40,000 unique visitors.

Take rate = 8,000/80,000 = 10%

This can also be done with unique visitors.

Take rate per unique visitor = 8,000/40,000 = 5% 20%

So now that we have the calculation behind take rate, lets look at what influences the take rate. Ultimately, the presentation of the material you want visitors to take has to be perceived as relevant and valuable. The specific elements that will influence how a visitor perceives your presentation need to be tested and optimized to find out what is working best. You will know you are moving in the right direction when your take rate increases.

Here’s a list of some main elements to test on your site that will influence its take rate:

  • Call to Action. Does it consist of an imperative verb and an implied benefit? Is it clearly noticeable?
  • Title. Is the title of the section containing your offer relevant and noticeable?
  • Point of Action assurances. Are you easing the visitor’s concerns about taking the action? For instance, two commonly overlooked assurances regarding newsletters are privacy policy (i.e., that their email address will not be shared with third parties) and telling the visitor they can cancel anytime.
  • Benefits associated with the offer. Are you speaking in terms of benefits that the people who accept your offer enjoy? Are you picking the most persuasive benefits relative to the segment of traffic you see the page attracting?
  • Tell the visitor what to expect. If the material is downloadable, tell the visitor how large of a download is required. If it’s a newsletter, tell them how often its sent.
  • Location of the call to action. Are you presenting the call to action (e.g., text link to white paper download, newsletter sign-up) above the fold? Is it in an area where the visitor can expect to find what your offering?
  • Targeted keywords. What are the keywords you targeted to attract people to the page the offer is presented on? Are they relevant to your offer?
  • Look and feel. Does the offer look like a banner ad? Is it contrasted against the rest of the page enough to stand out and be noticed?

grok_newsletter_signup.pngNow that you have a framework of understanding what a take rate measures, and elements of its presentation to test to optimize, lets have a final look at why take rate is important to your site.

In planned scenarios, the take rate can be viewed as a leading indicator for the short-term performance of your site. Viewing a take rate as a micro-conversion point to indicate interest in your macro-conversion goals will tell you if people are moving forward in their buying decision process. If your take rate increases, you’ll qualify more people to move to your macro-conversion goal — like plugging holes in a leaky bucket.

For the next installment of Unlocking KPI‘s, we’ll cover the ever-important “bounce rate.” Until then, if you have any questions, we’d love to hear from you in the comments.

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Comments (10)

  1. 8,000/40,000 = 20% not 5%. ie better, not worse.

  2. ;) Thanks for noting that arithmetic typo Lance. Its been corrected.

  3. [...] they take a given action like sign-up for a newsletter, refer a friend, or download a [...]

  4. I’m confused: Isn’t the example showing how to calculate a macro-conversion, not micro-conversion? And thus showing how to calculate conversion rate, not take-rate?

    In the example I think the primary goal should be download of the eBook. A micro-conversion could be downloading a free, light edition or something like that.

    Or haven’t I understood the concept correctly?

  5. I think you got it Soeren. The example assumes that the site has a larger goal other than downloading an ebook.

    The ebook download is counted as micro-conversion because it signals a person is showing increased interest in the site and is moving closer toward the end goal.

  6. Tks very much for your useful post.

    Other sources about KPI, I think also useful

    http://www.humanresources.hrvinet.com/human-resources-kpi/

    rgs

  7. I appreciate your insights and the good information you have shared here. All points are significantly important for me and your article have helped me a great deal.Free to everyone
    discount

  8. Thanks for noting that arithmetic typo Lance

  9. how about for get many visitor subscribe my blog?

  10. Conversions are what I really need to work on to make my learn to play bass site more effective, thanks!

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