Conversion optimization

Key concepts & Key metrics

Key concepts

Market segment

Market segment is a subset of your visitors that match a certain criterion. For example, they might share the same original landing page or the referring domain they came from.


Traction is the total sum of conversions generated by a market segment. It'sm the single best metric for success.

Traction ranks your market segments from good to bad. It finds your absolute best traffic sources and landing pages. Most importantly, when you make changes to your website the new version should bring more traction. Otherwise the change was bad for your business and you must roll back.

Traction is a powerful “north star metric” for all businesses and organizations due to it's generic nature. It even works for non-profit organizations and early-stage startups that are not receiving signups or purchases yet. It also works for SAAS products with a long trial period.

Learn the details about traction


Engagement is your content's ability to hold visitor attention. That is: the more content they consume, and the longer they stay active, the more engaging your content is. In contrast to traction engagement focuses on individual pages and their ability to build awareness and interest.

First visit

The first visit spans all the pageviews that the visitor craws in the first interaction with the product. The visitor starts building interest.

Visitors with excellent first-time user experience (FTUX) are more likely to come back than the ones with a bad experience.

Improving the first-time user experience is the most effective way to improve the overall performance of your conversion funnel because most visitors drop at this stage. Quick bouncers are unlikely to return and take action.

Metrics under the first visit are actionable — i.e., you can influence them. These leading indicators can give early signals about the future.

Return intensity

Return intensity is the most reliable indicator of whether you are making something people want. The more intensively people interact with your product, and stronger is your product/market fit. And the stronger your fit, the more people take action.

The best way to increase return intensity is to focus on the first-time user experience. A typical way to damage retention is overselling, particularly on the landing page.

Key conversions

Key conversions are special events that occur when the visitors respond to a call-to-action. In this case, the visitor is converted to some higher state on the customer journey: an anonymous visitor becomes a lead, or a lead becomes a paying customer, and so on.

Key conversions are at the bottom of the funnel. They are called lagging indicators easy to measure but hard to influence. In order to increase conversions, you must focus on the metrics at the top of the funnel.

A/B testing

They key to conversion optimization is the ability to compare two things and see what works and what scares people away.

TIP Hold down your Command or Windows key while clicking an entry on the list and you can compare the performance of two pages or segments.

Metrics index

Pageview count

The total amount of page views on the sample set.

Return visitor rate

The ratio of page views that were viewed by returning visitors.

Visitor count

The total amount of visitors on the sample set.

First event

The timestamp of the first event on the sample set.

Last event

The timestamp of the last event on the sample set.

Average visitor age

The average time between the first visit and the current time for all visitors on the sample set. This age can vary a lot, depending on how mature the market segment is.

Sample count

The number of visitors who are older than the average visitor lifetime. We only sample visitors that are mature enough to give the correct retention and conversion numbers.

Anything less than 300 visitors are colored in red because the sample set is too small for statistically valid results. You must either wait for more visitors to appear, or if the visitor count is more than 300, you must wait a little more for the visitors to mature.

Return visitors

Amount of returning visitors, not on their first visit.

Landing ratio

The ratio of the page views, when the page acted as a landing page

First-time landings

The ratio of the page views, when the page acted as a landing page solely for the new visitors. On this viewing context, the page is responsible for building awareness and interest for the product.

Mobile device rate

Ratio of he mobile devices across all the page views

3s stay rate

The percentage of the visitors who stayed on the page for 3 seconds or more.

If the page acts as a landing page for new visitors and the majority of the people drop at this point, the problem is likely the following:

Slow load time 53% of visits are abandoned if a mobile site takes longer than 3 seconds to load. *

Layout problem Page layout is complex, and the content is hard to access or covered behind an overlay.

JavaScript error The page doesn't load because of a scripting error.

Auto-play problem A video or audio with sounds starts playing automatically.

Issues at this stage are easiest to fix because the first impression is 94% related to design. *

7s stay rate

The percentage of new visitors who paid attention to the content for 7 seconds or more.

For new visitors, this metric can be referred to as problem awareness, because seven seconds should be enough for the person to figure out the problem the product aims to solve. If the majority of the people drop at this point, the problem is likely the following:

  1. Wrong market the problem is not relevant for the visitor
  2. Wrong problem the problem is not worth solving at all

We can fix the first one with better targeting, but if no amount of targeting works, you are likely working on a problem that nobody cares.

15s stay rate

The percentage of visitors who paid attention to the content for 15 seconds or more.

For new visitors, this metric can be referred to as solution awareness, because 15 seconds should be enough for the person to figure out how the product solves the presented problem. If the majority of the people drop at this point, the problem is likely the following:

  1. Bad intro — people don't understand the solution
  2. Bad execution — people doubt the implementation

If 55% of your visitors pass this phase, you are already better than most sites on the Internet. *

1min engaged rate

This is the percentage of visitors who paid attention to the content for one minute or more. These visitors are clearly interested in the product.

3min engaged rate

The percentage of visitors who paid attention to the content three minutes or more. These visitors are more likely to return in the near future.

Time engaged

The amount of time the person actively spends on a single web page. Other popular terms for this metric are “total time reading” (for, “attention time,“ or “dwell time.“

Viewports consumed

The number of viewports consumed on a page. A viewport is marked consumed after receiving enough attention so that we can assume that the person had fully read its content. This time depends on the viewport size. Bigger viewports require more time than the smaller viewports.

For example a 1440 × 900 sized viewports requires 15 seconds of engagement.

Continue rate

Percentage of visitors who continued to the next page. This is the inverse of bounce rate, but with a positive meaning. Generally speaking, all metrics should be positive and something you want to increase.

Pages visited

The number of pages visited on a single session. Volument does not count hidden, unvisited browser tabs.

Engagement score

Engagement score tells how effectively a web page can hold visitor attention. The weighted value is summed as follows:

5 points — from staying 7 seconds on the page

10 point — from staying 15 seconds on the page

50 points — for one minute of activity

100 points — for three minutes of activity

100 points — for proceeding to the next page

For example, when everyone continues to the next page, the score is 100, and if everyone actively engages three minutes on the page and then proceeds to the next page, the score is 200. A low score, however, means that the people left the site as soon as they arrived — the experience was somehow bad.

Visitor lifetime

Visitor lifetime defines how long (in days) visitors actively interacts with your site before they stop visiting. The longer they are retained, the better. This is the most impactful metric because as you increase visitor lifetime, you will also increase virality and the conversion rates.

When people stay longer, they have more chances to convert and share the product with others, and you have more opportunities to monetize them.

Return rate

The percentage of visitors who came back once or more.

Re-return rate

The percentage of visitors who came back twice or more.

Total visits

The total amount of visits during the visitor lifetime.

Total time engaged

The total amount of seconds the person had been focusing on the content within the visitor lifetime.

Total viewports consumed

The total amount of viewports consumed within the visitor lifetime.

Signup rate

The percentage of visitors who gave their contact information. Also known as lead conversion rate.

Invite rate

The percentage of visitors who invited other people to the site and contributed to viral growth. These people are converted to promoters. Also known as “evangelists.“

Invitations per visitor

The total amount of invitations made by a visitor.

Accept rate

The percentage of the invited peers who accepted the invitation and signed up on the website. Also known as the peer conversion rate.

Viral co-efficient

The number of new sign-ups a visitor generates. If this is 0.5, then each visitor brings in 0.5 new leads. A value greater than one implies exponential growth.

Purchase rate

The percentage of visitors turned into paying customers. Also known as customer conversion rate.

Re-purchase rate

The percentage of visitors who purchased more than once.

Revenue per visitor

The amount of revenue visitors bring during their lifetime.

You can use this metric to sort segments so that the most revenue-generating is on the top. Revenue can be a useful “north star metric” for e-commerce sites and mobile applications where the sales cycles are short and where you make a lot of conversions for statistically significant results. Otherwise it's better to use traction.

Traction calculus

Traction is a weighted score calculated as follows:

1 point — from one minute of engagement and becoming a suspect

3 points — from three minutes of engagement and becoming a highly qualified suspect

10 points — for coming back and becoming a return visitor or prospect

5 points — for each additional return visit to increase the prospect quality.

15 points — for signing up and becoming a lead

15 points — for inviting a peer and becoming a promoter

10 points — for each additional invite and the increased virality

50 points — for making a purchase and becoming a customer

20 points — for making another purchase increasing the customer value

The resulting sum varies between 0-100 but can rise above 100 with virally growing businesses, which is extremely rare and most likely temporary.

We also give a human friendly grading for the numeric score as follows:


  • none — nobody is interested
  • low — low product/market fit
  • some — could be better
  • ok — solid business
  • good — above the average
  • great — exceptionally good business
  • mega — unicorn level growth
  • viral — exponential growth

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