Battle for conversion

by • November 25, 2013 • Paid Search, SEM Tools, SEO Advanced PracticesComments (0)2059


When you have managed to attract traffic to your website, the next problem arises: how to lead visitors to the goals which we want them to complete, in other words – how to convert inbound traffic into sales.

In this article you will find a review of several tools which could be used to increase the conversion and make users happy J.

The process of conversion improvement consists of several stages. Each of them is equally important as the information obtained from the previous stage is used for the next one.

It’s not difficult to increase the conversion

You just need to:

  • understand website goals.
    Website goals may be of two types, at least – transitional and final. What final goal means is clear: for online store it could be purchase, for Groupon – sign up, and so forth. But on the path to this goal some transitional goals may exist.Important. Your goals and goals of your users are not always the same. Fancy dress and simple process of purchase are not synonyms. Think as a user, even as an inexperienced one.For example, users may want to fly to Thailand, others’ dream destination is Paris or Barcelona – they look for tickets many times, compare hotels, but make purchase only after several months. In this case the path from transitional goal to final is really long and this chain should be tracked.
  • define entry points and their distinction.
    Users which arrived from the organic search and frequent buyers may require different information from the service.
  • consider all possible paths from entry point to the goal.

But it is not possible you may say! That is why it is required to define the most important paths and make them as easy as possible.

  • be flexible, monitor and experiment
    The most interesting part – on this stage the first three stages are run on circles, while you collect the information and study the results.


Tools review: how to track and adjust the process

So let’s say you are analyzing the website with information about air tickets. The main goals are: the search on site, newsletter sing up, and the most important, but suspended in time goal – air ticket purchase.  This feature – suspended goals – became available not so long ago, and it is really great option.

After we have set up the goals, we need to gather the initial conversion statistics – it will be out starting point. Depending on goals number as well as visit and transaction frequency, the initial data could be collected in a few hours or several weeks.

Setup goals may not only help evaluate the efficiency, but detect the website problems as well. For example, thanks to conversion report, you may find out that JS doesn’t work properly and half of users are not able to reach the goal.

When initial data is finally at our disposal we can start out. Let’s look at the tools which may help us in this.

We will begin with Yandex.Metrica
Yandex. Metrica offers several marvelous tools for in-page analysis thanks to which you can understand what prevents the user from reaching the target page.

Form analysis – one of the major tools used by online stores and service-based companies with unusual registration process. The instrument shows how many users began filling in the form, how many of them did to the completion and where majority abandoned the process. Excellent feature that helps create forms for people indeed.

Link map – allow you to see where in fact users click, what interests them and how they use the navigation.

Scroll map you will find out in seconds till what length the page “works”. The more content in blind zone, the more you will have to change.

Click path analysis – gives you insight on how user arrives at your website, where he goes then and how close he is to the final point when he quits the process.
The tools mentioned above fit the best for static analysis, meaning that before making such analysis, you will have to gather enough data for long period of time – week or month.
Click map without additional settings is convenient to apply for such pages as the main page. But what to do if your website has lots of pages of similar type but with different URLs, and you would like to see the overall picture of users’ behavior?  This is where urlFilter comes handy. With the help of this filter you can group several pages into one. For example, if you wish to group all the pages in the search on site you will have to write the following piece of code:

urlFilter: function(urlOrig) {

var url = window.location.pathname.toLowerCase(),

prefix = ‘http://’ +;

if (url.substr(0, 8) === ‘/search/’) {

return prefix + url.substr(0, 11);


// other groups

// …

return urlOrig;


In the report you will see these pages with full URLs, but when you will view the map, the result will be common for all the pages.

Webvisor – a unique and free of charge function in Yandex.Metrica. Some time ago Webvisor was a separate product, but in 2010 Yandex purchased the code along with the team and starting from 2011 this functionality is a part of Metrica tools.

Webvisor allows to view users’ activity in motion, it records their actions – clicks, filling in the forms, moving mouse (it is a separate and fun bonus which indicates that user was bored and needed some useful information to entertain)  – and then plays it for you as a video.

Webvisor comes into play if there is a page which users steadily leave and you need to find out why they can’t continue the path and reach the goal.

Now let’s talk about Google Analytics
These days Google is transforming Analytics from just statistical instrument into A/B tests and usability experiments platform.  You will find an enormous functionality there.

Universal Analytics is a Google Analytics future. Not all the features in Universal Analytics work properly at the moment, as they are in beta version, but, no doubt, they offer great functionality. New Analytics version works faster, offers wider limits, allows sending queries from backend, and so on. Besides, new opportunities of Google Analytics will be implemented only in Universal version.
We are interested in Conversions section.

The last three ones (Reverse Goal Path, Funnel Visuzlization и Goal Flow) allow to see the overall picture of what is going on the website even for really large projects.

If additionally to this features you will set up events, you will be able to receive the picture of how user navigates through your website.

For example, Goal Flow report gives you a visual picture of how visitors arrived at your website and reached the goal, and whether they took the path you expected them to or there was another funnel.

Now let’s talk about the most advanced and cool Google Analytics functionality – ability to transmit events from server and tracking them offline!

For example, the same website offering information about air tickets, doesn’t sell anything itself – the purchase is completed on third-party website, so we can’t track the event as are not able to place tracking code there. With the time we receive sales data, but it is still unclear, what source contributed the most.

Google helps everyone who has transaction offline solve this problem.

Google unified the interface responsible for the interaction with analytics servers. All the queries come to URL and acquire the same set of parameters, regardless whether we use backend-e or frontend-e. The one distinction is that in js-e we have at our disposal already finished and useful function with the help of which we can send any events:

// connecting analytics.js

ga(‘create’, ‘UA-XXXX-Y’);

ga(‘send’, ‘event’, ‘category’, ‘action’, ‘label’, value);
On the server side thought the whole query is sent as POST payload, coded in form-urlencoded

POST /collect HTTP/1.1

You may notice the additional parameter cid — client ID. This is also a new opportunity in Universal Analytics. If before only Analytics could define what a visitor is, now we can manually specify our ID.
Here is the official documentation to help anyone, who would like to try offline tracking out.

This method could be applied for conferences, shops, concerts. You just give the users unique coupons and then check in Google Analytics events whether the user has made the purchase.
Working on conversion improvement could be an endless process. Once there is new chapter on the website, new functionality or special offer, it is time to start working towards better usability, higher conversion and website simplicity.

If you are already using offline analytics from Google, please tell us about this in the comments below!


Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily SEMPO.


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