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Conversion Rates I
(April 23, 2003) -
- The conversion rate is the percentage of one group who become members of the next. Whether it is website visitors who become registered users, registered users who become applicants, applicants who become candidates, candidates who get interviewed, or interviewees who become employees, the conversion rate is one key measure of process effectiveness.

In that very long sentence, we defined five different conversion rates:

  • Visitor Conversion Rate (VCR)
  • Registered User Conversion Rate (RCR)
  • Applicant Conversion Rate (ACR)
  • Candidate Conversion Rate (CCR)
  • Interview Conversion Rate (ICR)

An employment website is a funnel and a filter. It is normal to lose some percentage at each step of the filtration process. Each statistic is a general health measure of a portion of the website process. Tracking the statistics on a weekly basis is essential to effective website management. Together, they help you come to terms with the question "Are you getting enough of the right visitors?"

Let's look at the one at a time:

Visitor Conversion Rate (VCR)

The percentage of visitors who become registered users is the clearest initial indicator of the relationship between first impressions and the current audience. VCR tells you something about the fit between your company and the traffic to the website. The measured rate does not tell you whether you have a problem with the website or the audience. That requires additional experimentation with both traffic and audience.

The first question is "Is the VCR too high or too low?" Like a lock on a canal, VCR is the first step in controlling the flow of the audience into the company. The goal is to extract the highest level of quality with the lowest volume of flow.

Job hunters visit an employment website with a variety of motives. Some want to search jobs right away. Some are window shoppers. Some want to learn more about the company before making any commitment. Some don't belong at all. VCR measures the aggregate behavior of all of these groups. Changing the percentage (up or down) requires that you evaluate the website from those perspectives.

The easiest experiments to control involve changing the website. Unless it is completely obvious that you do not have enough traffic, experimenting with the click path (how visitors find things) and the text surrounding the registration process is the place to begin. Traffic development is a separate subject.

Getting people to register is a question of clearly explaining the benefits. The more value that a visitor can expect, the higher the VCR. Experiment with the explanation. Ask yourself if there is more value that you should be offering.

The question of whether or not registration should be required before accepting an application is a critical issue with a range of potential answers. Registration is important for the development of long-term relationships. It also is likely to lower the VCR. The question of which is more important depends on the company and the circumstances. A thorough assessment of VCR and its causes/consequences may lead you to create an application path that doesn't require registration.

John Sumser

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Materials written by John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.
Mill Valley, CA 94941

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         Materials written
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         © TwoColorHat.
         All Rights Reserved.