What Is Conversion Rate Optimization?
Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is the systematic process of increasing the percentage of website visitors who take a desired action — be that filling out a form, becoming customers, or otherwise. The CRO process involves understanding how users move through your site, flow through the Customer Journey, what actions they take, and what’s stopping them from completing your goals.
What Is A Conversion?
A conversion is the general term for a visitor completing a site goal. Goals come in many shapes and sizes, but they usually align with the goals of your business or organization.
If you’re an ecommerce site, your primary goal (known as a macro-conversion) is for visitors to make a purchases. If you are a service-based business, like a law firm, the primary goal of your business is to represent clients, and the primary goal of your site is to send you leads (or prospective clients.)
There are smaller conversions that can happen before a user completes a macro-conversion, such as signing up to receive emails. These are called micro-conversions.
What Is A Conversion Rate?
Your site’s conversion rate is the number of times a user completes a goal divided by your site traffic.
Conversion rate optimization happens after the visitor makes it to your site. This differs from conversion optimization for search engine optimization or digital advertising, which focuses on who clicks through to your site, how many clicks you get, and which keywords are driving traffic.
Why Is Conversion Rate Optimization Important?
Any digital marketing activity, whether it be content marketing, email marketing, or social media marketing is not a set it and forget it. To be successful and achieve results that will allow you to hit, or exceed your goals, requires ongoing optimization—making small tweaks that can turn 1% returns into 10%, or even higher.
All digital marketing activities require ongoing and repeatable optimization that continuously improves results.
Conversion Rate Optimization Methodology
The main goal of conversion rate optimization is to improve conversion rates of the traffic you already have, and generally, using the content assets you already have. It’s also important to understand that conversion rate optimization is a dedicated, repeatable process.
Step 1. Identify Your Goals
Conversion rate optimization starts with clearly articulated goals. You first must know what you’re trying to achieve before trying to optimize your results.
3 goal types to optimize for are:
- Immediate goals – clicks or on-page form completion.
- Campaign goals – leads generated or purchases.
- Long-term goals – impact on your long-term value, net revenue, average order value, or lead quality.
Step 2. Gather Relevant Data, Analyze It, Create A Hypothesis
2.1 Gather Relevant Data
Once goals are set, then baseline metrics need to be set. For each, we log your current number, your aspiring number (the number you’re aiming for), and actual user data. We gather that data prior to making any assumptions.
2.2 Analyze Data
All data is collected from existing data capture tools, like Google Analytics, user behavior tools, your email tool, your payment processor, and so. The collected data is then made available and made sensible via our performance reporting dashboards.
2.3 Create The Hypothesis
The key to CRO success is to use this relevant data to develop meaningful optimization campaigns. We review the numbers and ask:
- What’s your conversion rate? Is it acceptable?
- What’s hurting your conversion rate?
- How or why is it hurting you conversion rate?
Step 3. Design Variants, Implement Technology, Test Hypotheses
This is where all optimization actually begins. We have your data and we’ve identified the elements that are likely hurting your conversion rates. Now we need to make some guesses (formulating hypotheses) about how to fix the issue(s).
Each hypothesis will contain 3 elements:
- The change or approach that needs to be tested.
- Who is targeted with this change.
- The expected outcome.
The format will be something like this: “We believe that doing  for  will make  happen.”
Notice that the hypothesis is about intent. It’s important to be precise about the desired outcome, it can be measured, and it will improve results in a specific way.
3.1 Design Variants
We’ll use the new hypothesis, along with the data, to create the variations that are going to be tested. Keep in mind, testing takes time—not just to create the set up the tests, but to run them.
3.2 Implement Testing Technology
Once the variant is made, we implement Google Optimize and Google Analytics to make the changes we’re testing.
3.3 Running The Test
Every test should run until it achieves statistical relevance—otherwise the results cannot be trusted. The length of time to reach statistical relevance depends on the number of variants being tested and the number of conversions per day.
What is “statistical relevance”? It’s mathematical proof that a test’s outcome is reliable. If a test ends too early, there is not enough data from the test to verify that a hypothesis was true.
4. Analyze the Data
After running a test, we analyze the results. This gives us the “why” and is used for the next campaign. During this stage of the process, 5 essential tasks are performed:
- Identify lifts or losses – Did we see a lift, loss, or a null?
- Figure out “why” – Why did the results confirm or rebuke the hypothesis? Is it worth retesting?
- Write a report
- Archive data – How can the data be used in future experiments?
- Share results and begin the process again
Why Focus On Conversion Rate Optimization?
If you are unhappy with your conversion rates, or just want to keep improving results, then your digital marketing strategy must include conversion rate optimization. Just winging it and expecting to see results is a losers game. To raise conversion rates, testing and optimizing should be a normal part of your digital marketing strategy. Each test leads to another, and every small improvement adds up to significant growth. .
Conversion Rate Optimization Metrics
- Conversion Rate – This is calculated by dividing the number of conversions by the total number of visitors to the page being tested.
- Lift Percentage – The percentage change between two variants (not the difference between the two numbers).
- Confidence Rate – The percentage of instances that a set of similarly constructed tests will capture the true mean (accuracy) of the system being tested within a specified range of values around the measured accuracy value of each test.
- Conversion Range – “Conversion rate” is a misnomer. It makes it sound like a test will give a precise number called the “conversion rate.” In reality, expect to see conversions within a range—not as a precise number. So 30.86% to 36.38%, with 33.59 as the mean.
Conversion Rate Optimization Terminology
- Conversion – The visitor action that should be improved with a campaign (e.g., registering for a webinar, adding a product to the shopping cart, etc.). Be aware, conversion actions must be clearly identified to know what’s being tested, what the goal is, and the metric that matters most in measuring results.
- Control – The page in the experiment that does not receive the treatment. In conversion testing, the control is the version of the page that currently converts best. Any new variation is tested against the control. So in an A/B test, the control is A. The test version, or a variation, is B.
- Variation – The page in the experiment that has received the treatment being tested. For example, the variation page might have a shorter lead form than the control page.
- Quantitative Data – Any data that can be measured numerically, like: unique visits, sign-ups, purchases, and order value
- Qualitative Data – Descriptive data. The “people stuff” that’s more difficult to analyze but often gives context to quantitative data. This would include: heatmaps, session recordings, and form analytics.
- Metrics – What are the numbers that matter most when testing?
Conversion Rate Optimization Services
Our approach to conversion rate optimization follows the methodology outlined above. The conversion rate optimization services we include are as follows:
- We collaborate with you to deliver a rapid testing and conversion rate optimization program that follows our methodology.
- Our team drives the conversion strategy, design and development of every test.
- Our paid traffic, social media marketing, and search engine optimization tactics make sure you are getting the most value from your media spend.
- Using our performance reporting we analyze qualitative and quantitative site traffic and data to find what your visitors are paying attention to, what they are ignoring and where they are falling off to discover the key improvement areas to get you the biggest lift.
- We develop a game plan to start testing.
- We design experiments and strategies for maximum effectiveness and quality keeping your brand identity in tact.
- We ensure all tests performing as designed, working on multiple browsers and device types.
- We watch for trends in the test data, in your analytics and other CRO software to ensure the data is accurate.
- As results come in we report them to you and discover key findings, whether the experiment is a winner or loser. This feedback will inform future tests and ability to make improvements.