Average Conversion Rate by Industry and Marketing Source

Katie Holmes
30th March 2021

Benchmarking your lead conversion rates against the industry average allows you to capitalise on growth opportunities and spot areas for improvement.

Do you know how your lead conversion rates measure up against the competition?

Without benchmarking your performance against your industry, you’ll never know.

By comparing your lead conversion rates against the competition, you can get answers to the most complex questions, such as:

What are my competitors doing to generate conversions? What channels are most, or least effective, at driving leads? Which online activity makes the telephone ring?

More importantly, benchmarking your performances gives you a competitive advantage and allows you to set more meaningful and achievable targets.

For this study, we sampled the Ruler Analytics global database, which has over 100 million data points to distinguish the average conversion, call and form rate across fourteen industries.

Here’s what you’ll learn:

💡 Pro Tip

Haven’t got time to read the full blog? Get a copy of the conversion benchmark report and discover statistics, trends and observations across 14 industries and gain valuable insights to maximise your lead quality.

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Our definition of a “conversion”

For this study, we’re going to highlight conversion trends, stats and averages across fourteen industries to help you make smarter decisions about where to invest your time and money.

With that in mind, we’ve defined a conversion as a qualified sales lead.

A “qualified sales lead” is someone who has shown interest in your products and services and has a higher likelihood of becoming a customer or client.

What is a good conversion rate?

Honestly? It depends.

When it comes to conversion rate, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach.

Conversion rates vary by industry, marketing source, average sales length and more.

Low-ticket items are easier to sell, as there’s typically less risk involved.

While higher-value leads are exceptionally difficult to convert and generally require more time and assistance to decide whether or not they should make a purchase.

Buying a pair of shoes online in the sale is a lot different than purchasing a car or house, right?

With that in mind, it’s always important to measure your marketing campaign success against your specific industry to ensure that you don’t overestimate and undervalue your lead generation performance.

Average conversion, call and form rate across fourteen industries

By comparing your conversion rate against the industry, you’ll be able to spot opportunities and prioritise the marketing channels that have the propensity to drive higher qualified conversions.

Let’s kick things off and start with an overview of the average conversion, call and form rate across fourteen different industries.

Then, we’ll take a deeper dive into the average conversion rate for each specific marketing source.

Average conversion rate by industry

The bar graph illustrates the average conversion rate by industry.

The average conversion rate across all fourteen industries is 3.9%.

Conversion rate varies across all industries.

However, one thing is evident.

The higher the price, the lower the conversion rate.

Buyers behave differently when making purchasing decisions that involve high ticket items.

As a result, the customer journey often becomes long and complicated.

Related: Guide to customer journey stages and how to track them

To use an example, a £49/month retainer in the professional services industry will have a higher conversion rate than a business trying to sell high-end properties worth considerably more.

People don’t buy high-cost items over the internet, as many factors need to be considered before making the final purchase.

That said, it doesn’t mean that online research doesn’t play a significant role in the customer journey.

The average form rate by industry

The bar graph illustrates the average form rate by industry.

The average form rate across all fourteen industries is 2.9%.

According to a recent study, 67% of customers prefer self-service over speaking to a company representative.

Consumers desire more control of their buying journey, and web forms provide users with convenience as they can access any information they need without the added pressure of making a purchase.

Web forms also make it easier for customers to connect with brands whenever and wherever they might need.

For example, many service-based businesses in the B2B and professional industry operate during specific hours, which means that there’s not always someone there to pick-up the phone.

With web forms, brands can continue to secure leads and collect contact information on prospective buyers outside of business working hours.

Plus, forms are a lot easier to track compared to phone calls and live chat enquires.

Related: Three easy ways to track your form submissions

With conversion tracking in Google Analytics, you can measure how many people visited your website, and of those individuals, how many filled out a form.

💡 Pro Tip

Follow Katie on LinkedIn for tips and tactics on attribution, analytics and all things digital marketing. Don’t forget to say hi. 👋

Average call rate by industry

The bar graph below illustrates the average call rate by industry.

The average call rate across all fourteen industries is 1.1%.

Big-ticket buyers often require further details, or negotiations which can lead to lengthy, complex discussions.

A phone call allows buyers to talk about their requirements more confidently and get answers to questions that they wouldn’t get from a web form.

Also, consumers prefer to speak with a business directly when communicating sensitive information.

For example, discussions between patients and healthcare services are often complicated as usually involve the exchange of personal medical information.

With that being the case, phone calls are a better fit as they allow patients to discuss their health issues with complete ease and confidentiality.

Average conversion, call and form rate for email

The bar graph below illustrates the average conversion, call and form rate for email.

The average conversion rate across all fourteen industries is 3.9%.

Data reveals that Industrial (7.4%), B2B Services (5.9%), Finance (5.8%) and Professional Services (5.1%) come out on top for having the highest average conversion rates, whereas Real Estate (1.3%) and Automotive (0.8%) have the lowest rates.

The mass adoption of email makes it the perfect channel for marketers.

Despite the accelerated growth of modern communication channels, businesses continue to rely on email to converse and engage with leads and potential buyers.

A report produced by B2B Magazine found that 59% of B2B marketers believe email is their most effective channel for generating revenue.

B2B buyers have become more cautious, and the time it takes to convert a lead into a sale is getting longer.

For low-cost deals, a B2B sales cycle can take up to three months to close.

However, B2B sales cycles for higher value deals can fall between six to nine months.

Email is one of the most effective marketing channels for B2B lead generation, allowing companies to build relationships and credibility over a sustained period of time, using personalised messaging.

Average lead conversion rates for email by industry

Average conversion, call and form rate for organic search

The bar graph below illustrates the average conversion, call and form rate for organic search.

The average conversion rate across all fourteen industries is 5.0%.

Professional Services (12.3%), Industrial (8.5%) and B2B Services (7.0%) sweep the board for having the highest conversion rates, whereas B2B Tech (1.0%), B2B eCommerce (3.5%) and Travel (3.5%) fall to the bottom of the pack.

Overall, organic search is a significant driver of brand awareness, conversions and revenue for all businesses.

In fact, 49% of marketers believe organic search is the most profitable channel they use.

Interestingly, we found that businesses that provide products and services to other businesses performed slightly better than those who operate in the B2C industry.

For B2B specifically, buyers want to ensure that the vendors they work with are genuine and will often turn to Google to perform research on specific products and services on behalf of their organisation.

Secondly, search results for many B2B services aren’t yet considered competitive, unlike other industries we’ve used for this study.

For example, according to estimated data from Ahrefs, to rank on the first page of Google for the keyword “lawyer”, you’d need backlinks from 374 websites.

For the keyword “hr services”, it’s estimated that you’d only need backlinks from only 66 websites for a better chance to rank in the top ten.

These are ballpark figures, but there’s a significant difference between both keywords, despite the fact it’s calculated on estimated data.

With that said, it’s worth keeping in mind that ranking factors play a huge role when it comes to measuring the performance of your conversion rate on organic search.

Average lead conversion rates organic search by industry

Average conversion, call and form rate for paid search

The bar graph below illustrates the average conversion, call and form rate for paid search.

The conversion rate across all fourteen industries is 3.6%.

Again, Professional Services (7.0%) came out on top for having the highest average conversion rate, closely followed by Agency (6.6%) and Finance (6.0%). Automotive (1.3%), Real Estate (1.5%) and B2C Ecommerce (1.8%) delivered the lowest average conversion rates.

Paid search allows businesses to capture the interest of potential buyers who are ready to convert with keywords and ads that reflect their search intent.

Our data suggests that industries that deliver higher average sales generate lower conversion rates.

There are many risks involved when it concerns high-cost sales.

Buyers are a lot more cautious with investments and prefer to speak directly to a representative to ensure that they’re making the appropriate purchasing decisions.

Higher value buyers will often begin their journey online and will go on to close into a deal over the phone or in-store.

As a result, marketers with long sales cycles for high-value products are losing track of their end-to-end journey and find it extremely difficult to measure exact conversion rates.

Related: What is end-to-end marketing and how can you use it

Data from eMarketer indicates that buyers are starting to use mobile in the workplace more frequently than they use laptops or desktop computers, and another study suggests that phone calls are turning consumers into buyers at a rate 10 to 12 times higher than lead forms.

With that in mind, industries with the most expensive keywords are focusing on click to call ads to ensure that they get the most value for their budget and would explain why legal and travel have higher call conversion rates.

Average lead conversion rates for paid search by industry

Average conversion, call and form rate for referral 

The bar graph below illustrates the average conversion, call and form rate for referral.

The average conversion rate across all fourteen industries is 4.1%.

Interestingly, Travel (9.5%) had the highest average conversion rate, closely followed by Finance (7.1%) and Healthcare (7.1%). Automotive (1.3%) and Real Estate (1.5%) delivered the lowest average conversion rates.

Review sites are the most trusted source of information on the web and often lead to positive buying outcomes.

In fact, 92% of B2B buyers are more likely to purchase after reading a trusted review.

Word of mouth and referral helps drive customer acquisition and growth in the healthcare sector.

Related: 5 easy ways to reduce your customer acquisition costs

When searching for a healthcare provider, people want to feel assured that they’re putting their well-being in the right hands, and reviews are the perfect way to ensure this.

Despite driving the lowest conversion rates, referral sites often play a significant role in the buyer’s journey for businesses in the automotive and real estate sector.

Many buyers will begin their customer journey online and seek out reviews on the web to help with purchasing decisions.

In most cases, a recommendation, either online or offline, can result in a brand search or direct enquiry.

Average lead conversion rates for referral by industry

Average conversion, call and form rate for social media

The bar graph below illustrates the average conversion, call and form rate for social organic.

The average conversion rate across all fourteen industries is 1.9%.

Performance is lower across the board, although we found that Professional Services (4.0%), Healthcare (3.1%) and Automotive (2.9%) had the highest conversion rates compared with other industries featured in this study.

These low conversion rates shouldn’t set the alarm bells ringing, though.

Over the years, social media has proven to be a key channel for brand awareness and often plays a meaningful role much earlier on in the customer journey.

Nevertheless, when used correctly, social media can have a significant impact on your sales activity.

Firstly, social media allows businesses to build trust and credibility with their audience.

When searching for high-value products and services, such as a medical procedure or a new car, many people enter the customer journey with a lot of caution.

Facebook specifically allows customers to leave feedback on their experiences.

Quite often, buyers will use this insight to establish their positive and negative feelings towards a product or service before making an enquiry.

In fact, about 95% of customers read reviews before making a purchase.

Every marketer understands the power of word of mouth.

Recommendations and reviews on social media work the same but with the added exposure and reach.

According to a study, 88% of customers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.

Customer reviews and case studies on social media help marketers publicly engage with potential clients, which in turn, can have a direct impact on revenue.

Social media is also a good tool for businesses to reach people nearby.

Many businesses that provide services and products to the local area, such as law firms, medical providers and car dealerships, benefit greatly from social media as it allows them to develop a tight-knit community around their brand.

So, just because the conversion rate is lower doesn’t mean it’s not influencing your revenue impact.

Average lead conversion rates for social media by industry

Key takeaways from our analysis

Here is a summary of the trends and observations that we’ve uncovered throughout this process which will hopefully support you when it comes to optimising your marketing.

Call conversions offer a significant opportunity

Many businesses are using web-based platforms to generate awareness and purposely drive offline interactions such as phone calls and in-store purchases.

Whilst analysing our call data, we discovered that prospective buyers who pick up the phone have a higher likelihood to convert into a sale as they’re often more invested in finding a solution.

Using call tracking and offline attribution, businesses can accurately measure the ROI of the marketing channels that drive actions away from the web, such as a telephone call or in-store purchase, and lead to a sale offline.

💡 Pro Tip

We have a complete guide on how to connect the leads you generate online with the sales you convert offline. Get your copy of the offline conversion tracking eBook and measure the true impact of your digital marketing.

Download the offline conversion tracking guide

Customer journeys are getting more complex

Consumers are more educated, independent and socially connected than ever before, with a wealth of information available at their fingertips.

Prospective buyers are weaving in and out of online and offline channels to engage with reviews and compare prices, functionality and competitive solutions.

As a result, the initial contact a buyer has with a company to purchase is getting longer.

Related: How to view full customer journeys in Ruler Analytics

In many cases, the customer journey can last weeks, months and sometimes even years. In fact, when surveyed, 52% marketers reported that they endure sales cycles lasting up to three months, whereas 19% have sales cycles greater than four months.

Revenue is the most important metric for businesses

It’s easy to assume that more leads are the answer to more sales, but this process is outdated and often more costly.

Marketers are being held increasingly accountable for the need to connect their efforts with revenue growth.

According to a survey, we found that 55% of marketers are tasked with the responsibility of increasing sales.

With that in mind, more and more marketers are moving towards revenue attribution to measure profitable outcomes and allocate marketing budgets to the campaigns which are proven to drive higher value leads.

Related: What is revenue attribution and why is it important

Final thoughts

Knowing which marketing channels are driving your conversions is key, but in most cases, conversions aren’t actual sales–at least not yet.

To maximise marketing performance, you need to take a collaborative approach to understand what constitutes a high-quality lead so that you can use that insight to reduce churn, improve retention and increase revenue incomes.

Using a marketing attribution tool like Ruler, you can unlock powerful data across the entire sales cycle, and more importantly, evidence the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns based on actual revenue.

Related: How Ruler attributes revenue to your marketing

Would you like more info on Ruler? Book a demo with one of our experts and take your attribution reporting to the next level.

This article was originally posted on 30th March 2021 and was updated for freshness on 19th January 2022.