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FutureNow Article
Wednesday, May. 28, 2008

To Boost Conversion, Don’t Focus on Exit Pages ONLY

By Melissa Burdon
May 28th, 2008

exit_pages_and_conversion.jpgThere’s no one formula for what to look at in your web analytics to try and gain insight into what your visitors are experiencing and how they’re reacting to what’s there. Each site behaves differently and has different strengths and weaknesses.

When I recently walked through my client’s analytics with them, she pointed out that the highest exit pages are probably a good place to start fixing conversion stumbling blocks. In theory, this sounds like the right thing to do. If we know that these pages are turning people away more than any other page, then it makes sense to work on these pages. But as soon as I took a deeper look at their analytics and asked the next question, I knew this would not be the most effective way to enhance their online performance.

Once we looked at how much traffic was going to these pages, the answer was plain as day.

Unless the high exit page is a shopping cart, a lead generation form, or a landing page, if it is getting minimal traffic, you probably have bigger fish to fry. Try comparing your top 20 exit pages with your top 20 most trafficked pages. Then, find the highest trafficked pages with the highest exit rates — that’s where you will often find biggest opportunities for quick-fix ROI.

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About the Author: Melissa Burdon is a Persuasion Analyst at FutureNow. The Persuasion Scenario Analysis is her specialty.

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Comments (15)

  1. I have to completely agree, but I would add one thing. Everyone should always take into consideration the pages with the most traffic and other metrics when prioritizing.

    I put the 80/20 “not so much a rule” in place. Where top 20% of your pages is where you should spend 80% of optimization on. Because that is where you will have the biggest impact.

    Take for example a page that has 10,000 hits a day with a conversion rate of 5%, that is 500 conversions a day. With a modest improvement of 10% you get an additional 50 conversions. Where as if you spend the time optimizing a page that gets 2,000 hits a day with a 4% conversion rate you will have to get an improvement of 61.5% to match those 50 additional conversions.

    The moral of the story is never only consider one metric when prioritizing your optimization.

  2. Great addition, Pearce! So true…

  3. I would also look at the % exit following an internal site search query as a possible optimization priority.
    According to research from Visual Sciences (RIP) internal site search users convert three times the site average.

    Consequently, the loss of potential sales might be higher than suggested by traffic volumes only.

    I guess Pearce’s same moral applies here.

    Michael
    AEP Convert

  4. The exit pages are a great place to start no doubt, but also the entry pages would be the second place I wouild look at.

  5. Very good post, Melissa. I am reworking my category and adding item pages to my site right now. I can not wait to start getting Google Analytics data back on them. I am sure my website bounce rate will drop just from the redesign alone. But I am also putting in things I have hopefully learned read posts to help conversion.

    Only thing, I figure I need to wait atleast a month, after the redesign to have enough data over time to really start making some educated decisions about what to do next, but I can not wait, I am really excited, this is something I have been needing to do for a long while now.

  6. @Audio Bible
    I would suggest for your first couple experiments you just use your best judgment. Take a look at a post by Brian Eisenberg on When Should You Start Making More Money.

    p.s. Being excited is great, just don’t lose sleep over your experiments, I know I used to. ;)

  7. Amen to this post.

    One of the frustrating things I find with Google Analytics (maybe the paid packages do this better) is it’s difficult to hone in on meaningful data. I often want to check out high bounce rates or exit rates, and I’m looking for pages or keywords or referral sources that got more than a handful of visits. So far I just scroll and scroll and try to pick them out. Is there a filter or cross-sort that’s available that I don’t know about?

  8. Good idea. I would start a little smaller though, depending on the size of the site. The pages may be radically different and target complete different markets.

  9. Nice call. I really prefer using analytics data this way – combining multiple sets of related data to arrive at conclusions rather than simply looking at figures in exclusion of other factors. I find so many clients looking at just one aspect of their website in isolation.

  10. Good point

  11. Thanks for the great example of the big picture. Often people get too caught up in a single metric that they can’t see the forest for the trees.

  12. [...] שפרסמה לאחרונה ליסה בורדון, היא מספרת על ניתוח שעשתה עם לקוחה כחלק מתהליך שיווק [...]

  13. It was nice to read about it even thought my website currently is single page. I will need to apply this when I got more pages added.

  14. Wonderful blog, some fascinating points. I remember 2 of days ago, I have visited a similar post.

  15. when I got in But rather than simply rate will drop just. arrive at conclusions looking at figures will need from the redesign alone to apply this I am also putting in things

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Melissa is a Senior Persuasion Analyst at FutureNow.

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