Calculating True Conversion Rate in Google Analytics

Whenever I get a new account the first thing that I do is dramatically improve the conversion rate of the website along with campaign performance, users’ engagement and content consumption.

You may say, “We all do that eventually”.

But there is a difference.

I do it a bit faster….say within few minutes and that too without spending any time or money on fixing website usability and other conversion issues.

I am able to do that by abandoning “Global Analytics”.

Global Analytics is the analysis of a campaign/website on the global/planet level.

Following is the classical definition of Goal Conversion Rate in Google Analytics:

In Google Analytics the Goal conversion rate is calculated as:

google analytics goal conversion rate

Goal Conversion Rate = (60,652 Goal Completions / 97,838 sessions)*100 = 61.99%

Similarly, in Google Analytics the e-commerce conversion rate is calculated as:

ecommerce conversion rate


E-Commerce Conversion Rate = (629 Transactions/339,904 sessions) * 100 = 0.19%

Now problem with such type of computation is that, Google Analytics take every person on the planet into account while the calculating conversion rate metric.

The website in question sells clothing only in the US and Canada but get visits from around the world because of solid SEO and huge social media presence.

only us and canada

Since people from other countries won’t/can’t buy, you can’t hold them responsible for your conversions. Can you?

But Google Analytics treat every person who has visited your website as your potential client and hence put everyone in the conversion funnel while calculating the conversion rate metric.

There are more than 20000 visits from UK alone.

These visits will never improve the bottom-line of my client’s business as they are not our target market.

So what the people, who generated these visits, do on our website is irrelevant for tracking conversions, users’ engagement and content consumption.

They are simply not our target market.

No matter what you do, you can never generate sales and leads through them.

So they should be filtered out from the conversion funnel along with all those people who came from other countries.

Look at this scenario the other way.

If you sell ‘car insurance’ in UK, you can’t say to your boss “we have low sales/conversions because people from Germany are not buying our insurance”.

They will never buy your insurance because they are not your target market but they can still visit your website through some insurance related search terms or through social media.

But when you pull the traditional conversion rate metrics from Google Analytics reports and present it to your client/boss, you are making people from non-UK countries responsible for your sales as the ‘visits’ you have used for conversion rate calculations also include visits from non-UK countries and conversion rate is the percentage of total website visits which resulted in goals completion.

As long as your conversion rate is the percentage of global visits which resulted in goals completion you will never be able to determine the true conversion rate of your website.

So how you should calculate the True conversion rate?

Now let us calculate the real conversion rate of the website in question (the one which sells clothes in US and Canada).

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Step: 1 – Create and apply a new advanced segment (named ‘Traffic from Target Market’) in your Google analytics view/profile which shows traffic only from your target market. For e.g.

traffic from target market

You can then see the true metrics for your website traffic:

traffic from target market2

You can now see, how each and every metrics in your Google analytics reports has changed dramatically.

You are now looking at the real traffic data, the data which until now only handful of super analytics ninjas were able to see.

All the metrics you see now is related only to your target market.

Check the new and true ecommerce conversion rate:

traffic from target market3

Your website ecommerce conversion rate now is 0.27% earlier it was 0.19%. Congratulations, you just improved your conversion rate by 0.08 percentage points without fixing any conversion issues.

This advanced segment not only help you in calculating your true conversion rate but also help you with all other important SEO metrics.

You can now measure real campaign performance, real users’ engagement and real content consumption.


What is the difference between Digital Analytics and Google Analytics?

99.99% of course creators themselves don’t know the difference between Digital analytics, Google Analytics (GA) and Google Tag Manager (GTM).

So they are teaching GA and GTM in the name of teaching Digital analytics.

They just copy each other. Monkey see, monkey do.

But Digital analytics is not about GA, GTM.

It is about analyzing and interpreting data, setting up goals, strategies and KPIs.

It’s about creating strategic roadmap for your business.

Digital Analytics is the core skill. Google Analytics is just a tool used to implement ‘Digital Analytics’.

You can also implement ‘Digital analytics’ via other tools like ‘adobe analytics’, ‘kissmetrics’ etc.

Using Google Analytics without the good understanding of ‘Digital analytics’ is like driving around in a car, in a big city without understanding the traffic rules and road signs.

You are either likely to end up somewhere other than your destination or you get involved in an accident.

You learn data analysis and interpretation from Digital analytics and not from Google Analytics.

The direction in which your analysis will move, will determine the direction in which your marketing campaigns and eventually your company will move to get the highest possible return on investment.

You get that direction from ‘Digital analytics’ and not from ‘Google Analytics’.

You learn to set up KPIs, strategies and measurement framework for your business from ‘Digital analytics’ and not from ‘Google Analytics’.

So if you are taking a course only on 'Digital Analytics’, you are learning to use one of the tools of ‘Digital analytics’. You are not learning the ‘Digital analytics’ itself.

Since any person can learn to use Google Analytics in couple of weeks, you do no get any competitive advantage in the marketplace just by knowing GA.

You need to know lot more than GA in order to work in digital analytics and marketing field.

So what I have done, if you are interested, is I have put together a completely free training that will teach you exactly how I have been able to leverage digital analytics to generate floods of news sales and customers and how you can literally copy what I have done to get similar results.

You can sign up for the free training here:

I truly hope you find it helpful.  

My best selling books on Digital Analytics and Conversion Optimization

Maths and Stats for Web Analytics and Conversion Optimization
This expert guide will teach you how to leverage the knowledge of maths and statistics in order to accurately interpret data and take actions, which can quickly improve the bottom-line of your online business.

Master the Essentials of Email Marketing Analytics
This book focuses solely on the ‘analytics’ that power your email marketing optimization program and will help you dramatically reduce your cost per acquisition and increase marketing ROI by tracking the performance of the various KPIs and metrics used for email marketing.

Attribution Modelling in Google Analytics and Beyond
Attribution modelling is the process of determining the most effective marketing channels for investment. This book has been written to help you implement attribution modelling. It will teach you how to leverage the knowledge of attribution modelling in order to allocate marketing budget and understand buying behaviour.

Attribution Modelling in Google Ads and Facebook
This book has been written to help you implement attribution modelling in Google Ads (Google AdWords) and Facebook. It will teach you, how to leverage the knowledge of attribution modelling in order to understand the customer purchasing journey and determine the most effective marketing channels for investment.

Himanshu Sharma

Digital Marketing Consultant and Founder of

Himanshu helps business owners and marketing professionals in generating more sales and ROI by fixing their website tracking issues, helping them understand their true customers purchase journey and helping them determine the most effective marketing channels for investment.

He has over 12 years experience in digital analytics and digital marketing.

He was nominated for the Digital Analytics Association's Awards for Excellence.

The Digital Analytics Association is a world renowned not-for-profit association which helps organisations overcome the challenges of data acquisition and application.

He is the author of four best-selling books on analytics and conversion optimization:

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