How many sales can you expect per visitor to your Web site?  How many sales can you expect per download of your program?  Statistics show these are very small numbers.  But if you track these numbers, know what is reasonable to expect, and plan your marketing accordingly, you should be able to determine strategies to increase your overall sales.

Sales Per Visitor (Conversion Rate)

How many visitors usually purchase the product offered on a Web page? A number of Web sites state that this number is typically 2-3%, though it could reach 5-7% or more depending on the product, target consumer, price, competition, and more.

The number of sales per visitor is often called the conversion rate.  I’ve seen the same 2-3% effectiveness rate stated for many marketing strategies, not just for selling from a Web page.

Downloads Per Visitor

There is no cost or commitment to download a free trial version of a program, so downloads per visitor tend to be much higher than sales per visitor. I could not find any actual statistics, but my experience is that the ratio of program downloads per visitor is much higher than the sales per visitor stated above for products in general.

For example, looking at my last month’s statistics, 17% of my visitors downloaded my programs. However, my Web site serves many other purposes. In addition to selling my programs, my Web site has information about my book, “This Little Program Went to Market”, has information about my services, and has my blog. I do not expect visitors who come to my site for one of these other purposes to also download my programs. So I believe that the ratio of the number of visitors who are looking for my programs on my site, to the number that also download them, is indeed a very high ratio.

Sales Per Download

A number of Web sites indicate that the software game industry average rate is 0.5%-1.5% sales per download. I believe other types of software would average about the same.

Keep track of your sales per download.  If you have a sales rate below 0.5%, you probably need to improve your program or lower your price. If you have a sales rate higher than 1.5%, you may need to work on more marketing.

Why would a better-than-average sales rate mean you should work on more marketing? A higher-than-average sales rate means that people are interested in your product. More marketing will make more people aware of your product. Therefore, if you make more people aware of a high interest product, you should be able to increase sales.


Keep in mind that selling your own software is a learning process. Do not be disappointed if you have only a couple sales a month on your first program. Even that rate is a good start. After marketing a few programs you will know much more about what kinds of programs sell well and how best to market them. Programs typically sell for years. As you create more programs, even the small sales of your first program will continue to add to your monthly sales.

Related posts:

  1. Welcome to This Little Program Went to Market
  2. Free Web Space
  3. What are Cookies and Tracking Cookies?

About the Author

2 Responses to Sales Per Visitor (Conversion Rate)

  1. Matt Fielder says:

    I have a product for sale on the internet, and our marketing is quite poor. I ran across this article trying to find numbers about what others conversion rates might be. I’m a little confused by the information here. If there is a conversion rate of 2-3% of visitors as listed in the first paragraph, how then is there only a .5 to 1.5% conversion rate of downloads? With downloading users being a subset of visitors, how can 1% of downloads convert to a sale, how can that ever translate to 2% of visitors?

  2. Hi Matt,

    To answer your question, it can’t. You are drawing a connection where none was intended. 2-3% of visitors will buy what is sold. .5-1.5% of people will buy what they downloaded. Buying what is offered is a totally different mentality than buying what is downloaded. These percentages were offered to give you something to compare results with.

    You are right. It doesn’t seem right that buying after a free download should have a lower conversion rate. It seems that “try before you buy” should increase the conversion rate. I can’t explain that. I am not a marketing expert. I’m just quoting what seems to be the industry standard conversion rates and what I have found in my own experience.

    I think offering the free download brings many more visitors. So even though the free download has a smaller conversion rate, it results in more total sales due to more visitors. Plus my free download has been picked up by many shareware sites, which also increases downloads and increases total sales.

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This book assumes you either have an understanding of basic Java programming or you have read the first book, Do-It-Yourself Java Games: An Introduction to Java Computer Programming. Read more.

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Through extensive use of fill-in blanks, with easy one-click access to answers, you will be guided to write complete programs yourself, starting with the first lesson. You'll create puzzle and game programs like Choose An Adventure, Secret Code, Hangman, Crazy Eights, and many more, and discover how, when, and why Java programs are written the way they are. Read more

Step-by-Step Tutorial

Many of the tips, techniques, and tools discussed in this blog are demonstrated in a detailed step-by-step tutorial in the book, This Little Program Went to Market, by Annette Godtland.

The book takes a computer program through the entire process of creating, deploying and distributing a program, then selling and marketing it (or any other product) on the Internet. Read more.