Research: How Website Sessions & Page Views Influence Your Conversion Rate

Posted by Annette Storckman , October 19

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A nonprofit’s website is not only a central hub for all an organization's info, but one big call to action. From creative design to optimization, a website needs to engage visitors effectively to convert them into donors.


But what determines effective engagement and is there observable donor behavior that can give us a clue? 


We know it can be hard to quantify the impact of creative elements on a website. However, from observing visitor behavior like the number of page views, and the length and number of sessions, we can begin to understand what influences donor conversion rates.

For those unfamiliar, a “session” refers to a single visit to a website on the whole; “Session length” is equal to the total time spent on a website, whereas “session number” refers to any time a visitor leaves a website and returns later (therefore, logging multiple sessions). “Page Views” refers to each individual visit to a specific page on your website.

Picture a person casually browsing the internet — you’ve surely done that before, perhaps you just were. This person stumbles onto a nonprofit’s information — whether by social media, advertising, or a search — and they click on the website link.


How long are they there? What are they looking at? Is there any correlation to whether or not they convert?

To address this, we took a look at overall session length to determine the optimal amount of time it takes for a visitor to convert into a donor.




Sessions between 20 and 45 seconds in length have the highest rate of conversion, after which there is a decline for each additional second. But why does the rate drop so dramatically after 45 seconds?


Simply put, the longer a visitor looks for a reason to donate, the less likely they are to do so. 


Understanding this overall view, we know that there is a sweet spot in the amount of time a visitor should spend on the site. But what we need to understand next is whether visitors are looking at different pages on a website, or staying on the homepage in those first 45 seconds.


In order to observe that, we took a look at the number of page views in a single session:




From these findings, 2 page views has the highest conversion rate, with a steady decline beginning at 3 page views. 


However, for pages opened in a single browser tab, the findings were a bit different:




Here, we see that four pages has the highest rate of conversion with a non-linear decline beginning at five and definitively dropping at eight or more. Between these two graphs, we can conclude that a range of 2-5 page views has the highest rate of conversion


Knowing this significant range, we can safely conclude that easy access to the donation form should be present on every page of a website.


But before we dive into solutions, we wanted to explore whether it is imperative to convert visitors into donors on the very first session, or if there was hope of converting them later. In order to do this, we analyzed the number of sessions as it relates to conversion.




Overall, the greater the number of sessions, the less likely it is a visitor will donate. The first session has the highest likelihood of conversion, followed closely by the second. After that, there is a continued decline. In fact, after 5 sessions, the probability of donating is reduced to 17%


This very seamlessly ties into our conclusion that the longer a visitor spends looking for a reason to donate (or maybe, even, the donation form) the less likely they are to convert. After all, the internet is full of amusing cat videos and interesting articles; if you can’t engage their attention, something else will.


So what is the solution? We hypothesize:

  • Easy access to the donation form.
  • Clear messaging.
  • Engaging branding.


That is exactly why we designed our system to include a library of engagement-driving Elements that dynamically embed onto any webpage.


In order to prove our hypothesis, we took a look at the conversion rates of these various Elements.




According to the bar chart above, the Donate Button has the highest conversion rate. However, this does not necessarily mean that it is the most effective element in terms of conversion. One obvious reason is that the Donate Button is usually in plain sight and targets donors who already made up their minds to donate.


So what, then, is the value of the other elements? They convert donors who are less likely to donate, like those who view more pages or spend longer on their sessions.


While it’s imperative to design a website that decreases the length of visitor sessions and number of page views, it’s even more important to entice and engage visitors who are not immediately interested in donating. After all, you know you have a worthy cause, don’t be shy about broadcasting it.


Want to explore further how Fundraise Up generates more donations? Request a demo below.

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