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5 min read

I Have a Low Conversion Rate! What Am I Doing Wrong?

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If you ask a marketer what they consider to be the most important metrics to track, many of them will say “conversion rate.”

Yet, despite the importance of keeping conversion rates as high as possible, it’s fairly common to hear even the best marketers wonder: “Why do I have a low conversion rate?”

In this blog, we’ll talk about why conversion rates matter for any advertising channel, the causes of low conversions, and how to leverage ad fraud solutions to improve conversions.

Get started with a free trial today to see exactly how much you could be losing  to ad fraud.

Why Your Conversion Rate Matters

So what is conversion rate and why does it matter?

In a nutshell, conversion rate is important because it’s a strong way to measure the success of your business (more specifically, your marketing and sales efforts). High conversion rates mean you’re spending your ad budget efficiently and earning new leads (or customers). 

In general, “conversion rate” can be broadly defined as the number of people who completed a desired action for an ad campaign divided by the total number of people who engaged with an ad.

For example, if 100 people clicked an online ad and 30 of them completed the goal of the campaign, you’d have a 30% conversion rate for that ad. 

Meanwhile, if 100 people saw a form on your website, and 15 of them filled it out, that’d be a 15% conversion rate for that form.

What’s an Average Conversion Rate for Online Advertising?

It’s hard to answer this question because average conversion rates vary depending on a number of factors, including industry, active competitors, the budgets of those competitors, individual marketing channels, and more.

For example, Invesp, a conversion rate optimization (CRO) company, noted that the average conversion rate for websites in the U.S. varied between a high of 3.60% and a low of 2.44% from Q4 2014 to Q2 2019. 

Meanwhile, WordStream states that the “average conversion rate across Google Ads is 4.40% on the search network and 0.57% on the display network.”

Furthermore, the WordStream data showed that conversion rates varied wildly by industry—with vehicle industry companies having the highest average conversion rate in search (7.98%, while apparel had the lowest (2.77%). 

For display ads, hobbies & leisure had the highest rate of conversions (1.12%) while business & industrial had the lowest conversion rate (0.29%).

So, if you’re looking to benchmark your online ad conversion rate against some stated average, it’s important to consider what marketing channel you’re looking at, what industry you’re in, and even the type of ad. 

A rate that is impressive on one channel for a given industry might not be so impressive for a different marketing channel and industry. This is why it’s so important to track individual campaign conversion rates and measure them against your overall goals, such as revenue or new customers, as a company. 

If you’re finding that a conversion rate is low, there may be a few reasons why.

3 Reasons for Low Conversion Rates

So, what causes low conversion rates? There are a few different reasons why your conversion rates might be less than ideal. These include things like:

1. Poor User Experience in the Ad Channel

One of the biggest reasons for a low conversion rate is a poor user experience (UX) on a webpage or website.

A poor UX can make visitors frustrated for a variety of reasons, such as not being able to find what they want, and motivate them to leave your website instead of converting. 

How important is UX to conversion rate optimization? One study showed that 74% of business owners saw an increase in sales after improving UX (Source: Medium).

So, if you have poor conversion rates, you may want to review the experience of someone clicking your ad, landing on your website, and completing a conversion. 

Is the experience clunky, slow to load, or asking someone to do too much? If that’s the case, you may want to consider a redesign to streamline the UX on the page.

Some things that contribute to poor UX include:

  • A site not being optimized for mobile devices (small text, content modules not responsive to match the width of the screen, hypertext links that take up too much space, etc.)
  • Forms asking for too much information at once
  • Copy that talks over the audience’s head or doesn’t provide a clear value statement

2. Ads Aren't Reaching a Suitable Audience

Not every person who sees an ad is a good fit for the content of that ad. For example, say a company purchases programmatic display ads through a demand-side platform for a line of apparel. However, the ads appear on a website geared towards technology hobbyists.

Regardless of the cause of this error — and whether it’s intentional or accidental — the results are the same: Ads are being presented to the wrong audience, which cripples the conversion rates for those ads.

3. Security Certificate Issues

Customers are becoming increasingly security conscious in the face of nearly omnipresent online scams that result in frequent headlines. To protect themselves, customers want to know that their information is secure. So, a lot of them will check to see if the website they’re on is running a secure connection.

If they see that little warning sign that says “/!\ Not Secure” in their web browser’s address bar, legitimate prospects may simply click away from the site without converting because of the risk.

How Ad Fraud Impacts Conversion Rates

So, how does ad fraud impact conversion rates? 

On ads and form fills, certain types of fraud might make your conversion rates look better. However, you may notice your lead-to-customer conversion rates drop significantly if you have a lot of ad fraud.


With bots and human fraud farms, fraudsters can generate a ton of clicks and form fills for your ad campaigns — which lets them collect illicit revenue. 

However, since none of those leads are legitimate, they won’t be able to complete the transition into becoming customers (at least, not without abandoning their cart or committing credit card fraud).

In other words, this type of lead gen fraud can increase apparent conversions earlier in the sales & marketing funnel, but will typically cause end-of-funnel conversion rates to suffer.

Domain Spoofing and Conversion Rates

Another type of ad fraud that can hurt conversion rates is domain spoofing. Where lead gen fraud techniques can greatly increase upfront conversions, domain spoofing techniques often lead to a major drop in conversions early in the sales funnel.

This is because domain spoofing causes ads to be put on websites that aren’t a good fit for your intended audience, have lower-than-advertised traffic, or are filled with malware that drives potential customers away.

How to Improve Your Online Ad Conversion Rate with an Ad Fraud Solution

Want to improve your conversion rate and stop wasting money on fraudulent leads? Consider leveraging an ad fraud solution to put a stop to fraud in your online marketing campaigns.

An ad fraud solution can help improve your conversion rates by eliminating fake conversions from your marketing data. This also helps you save money since you won’t have to pay out for fake lead generation from fraudsters.

For example, say that you have a 25% rate of ad fraud in your campaigns (which is close to the average for many of Anura’s past clients). If you had 100,000 leads, this would mean that 25,000 of them were fake! In other words, you would have paid for 100k leads, but only received 75k leads.

With an ad fraud solution to weed out the fake leads as they come in, you could immediately improve your marketing ROI because you would only be paying for the real leads. This, in turn, would help you stretch your marketing budget further to produce better results for the same cost.

Are you ready to kick the fraudsters out of your marketing campaigns to save time, money, and headaches while improving your marketing ROI? Reach out to Anura and request a demo of our ad fraud solution now!