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Should you care about your competition's conversion rate?

Competing over conversion rateJust a quick follow up to my post last week about “industry average” conversion rates. Another question people ask me all the time is how their conversion rate compares with their competition. It’s sort of the same question as “what’s my industry’s average conversion rate”, but asked in a different way. And, I’d argue that the answer to this question just isn’t that important.

Here’s why.

Let’s say you found out that your competition converts half as well as you do (ignoring, for the moment, why it’s almost impossible to compare conversion rates). What would you do different if you knew your competition’s conversion rate? Are you going to change your strategy? Slow down? Take the rest of the summer off?

Probably not.

What if their conversion rate is twice as high as yours? Are you going to give up? Fold your tents and go home? Beg them to take the rest of the summer off? Again, probably not.

Data is valuable when it helps you make decisions or causes you to change your behavior. When it doesn’t, it might be interesting, but, not much else. Better to spend your time focused on whether your conversion rate is moving in the right direction (which, believe it or not, isn’t always up).

Does any of this mean that I’m not in favor of competitive data? Not at all. For instance, understanding market share is incredibly valuable. So is regularly conducting competitive analyses. But data like your competitor’s conversion rate in isolation, in most cases, simply isn’t useful to your business.

What do you think? Am I missing something? If so, I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

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Tim Peter is the founder and president of Tim Peter & Associates. You can learn more about our company's strategy and digital marketing consulting services here or about Tim here.

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