A lower goal or Ecommerce conversion rate relative to the same period last year may not necessarily indicate that your site’s performance has slipped: it may just mean that visitors are visiting a greater number of times before converting.
As with the other Multi-Channel Funnel reports, the Path Length report provides an additional perspective on your conversions. In the case of Path Length, you can see how many visits are required for visitors to convert.
Because conversion rate is based on visits and not unique visitors, a greater number of visits before conversion would lower conversion rate, perhaps even if the overall number of conversions has increased. The opposite could also be true: if visitors are converting in fewer visits, but fewer conversions are occurring overall, conversion rate could actually increase, since there would be fewer total visits before conversion.
Thus, when we’re looking at conversion rates, it’s helpful to also consider path length and, of course, total conversions.