According to the latest statistics released yesterday, there is indeed significant interest from users in the new government healthcare exchange portal, Healthcare.gov, with almost 27 million visitors, or 8% of the population. However, here’s where things go south. While there are around 900K users either starting or completing the application for healthcare plans (around 3%), which would be an important “goal” to track on any website, actual “conversions,” people who selected a plan from the exchange are only just over 100K, or less than .4%. Yikes! That represents only about 1/5 of the Congressional Budget Office was projecting by this point. Another fail.
That is a pretty ugly looking conversion funnel (I posted a graphic showing stats from the first week,) with massive drop-off at every stage of the process. Imagine you just made a huge investment of resources, financial and time (in the case of Healtcare.gov, the most recent reports quote the tab at $174 million), to get people to your ecommerce site and 97% of them never even added a single item to their cart. And of those that did, almost 90% of them never completed checkout. Obviously there is a big disconnect and you’ve got your work cut out for you to bring up those conversion rates. That’s where conversion rate optimization comes in.
Conversion Rate Optimization
Conversion rate optimization is the process of identifying and testing changes to the website by utilizing tactics such as surveys or split/testing changes that increase the amount of users on your site who are actually achieving what you have defined as your goals (I.E. submitting a request, signing up for a service, purchasing a product, etc.) Clearly there are big issues with users likely not finding what they are looking for, confused about how to go through the process, feeling overwhelmed and not getting the reinforcement or answers they need to proceed, and surely more hurdles that they are unable to overcome to convert.
Now that the site appears to at least be more technically stable, I sure hope they have a team of conversion rate optimization specialists analyzing the data and deploying simple, effective tools and testing to improve performance. We’ll talk about these conversion rate tools and tests in more detail in future posts, but you can see how important this is as you start investing time and money to drive traffic to your site.