Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) – The essential guide
Conversion Rate Optimization is a growing practice used by online marketers and website owners. CRO is also a common acronym used by Conversion Optimization Consultants to refer to it. Some other experts like Peep Laja from ConversionXL or André Morys from ConversionKraft like to describe CRO as Conversion Revenue Optimization.
What is Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)?
The term is related to online marketing and is defined by Wikipedia as:
In internet marketing, conversion optimization, or conversion rate optimization (CRO) is a system for increasing the percentage of visitors to a website that convert into customers, or more generally, take any desired action on a webpage. It is commonly referred to as CRO.
The famous SEO software – MOZ – defines it as
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, what actions they take, and what’s stopping them from completing your goals.
More specialized companies like WordStream provide a definition more specific to their offering:
Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is the process of optimizing your sponsored search ads, landing pages, and overall website design to raise your conversion rate. In other words, the goal is for the highest possible percentage of visitors to your site to convert, or complete your desired action. CRO is quickly gaining in popularity because it’s seen as a way to increase profits from sales without raising your advertising spend.
Whatever the context, Conversion rate optimization is about optimizing your Costs versus your Revenues. It is about being able to increase your online profits out of the same marketing budget.
Why is Conversion Rate Optimization important?
Most marketing teams are (still) mainly focused on driving traffic to their websites with the “hope” that it will convert into sales as the visitors move forward in the funnel.
In a market where traffic is an unlimited ressource, cheap and where competition is not strong, it’s easy (and somewhat logical) to focus only on acquisition.
But which market can be described like this in 2018? maybe China? certainly not the USA where competition is strong in any given industry, and not even Europe.
Think about a country like Sweden for example with a population shy of 10 million people: to succeed in this rather small market, online businesses need to be more persuasive, they need to offer better customer experience and better customer service ultimately. Unlike France where the population is 6 times bigger and where companies “tend to think” that traffic is an unlimited ressource.
As such, it’s not really surprising to see that world renowned experts in conversion optimization and neuromarketing are from countries like Latvia (Peep Laja), Netherlands (Bart Schutz, Ton Wesseling) or Sweden (John Ekman).
Of course, the population size is not the only parameter
When Amazon launched in 1995, online competition was non-existent. One could think that CRO was not needed at time. But strangely Amazon has been the first online business to develop and promote CRO internally. Over the years Amazon has grown as THE reference when it comes to Conversion Rate Optimization.
In a global context where cost-per-click on Adwords and Native Ads networks are always increasing, where the online competition is faster and more agressive, it is more and more important for online businesses to optimize their websites, so that they get more sales out of the same amount of traffic.
Methods and tools for Conversion Rate Optimization?
A report from eConsultancy found 8 valuable areas that companies need to concentrate on for conversion rate optimization:
- A/B testing
- Having a structured approach
- Customer journey analysis
- Copy optimisation
- Online surveys/customer feedback
- Cart abandonment analysis
- Using a complementary selection of the above
When CRO is mentioned, A/B Testing is the next term that comes to mind since it’s a very standard tool used to validate changes that will ultimately result in more conversions.
Conversion Rate Optimization methodology
Methodologies vary between conversion rate optimization agencies, some exclusively focus on Analytics data, some others on User Testing or Web Psychology. Here is the methodology we use at Convertize, that combines different approaches :
This CRO methodology is divided in 5 steps:
- Data Analysis
- Hypothesis creation
- Integration and Tests
- Learning and Improvements
We explain more in details these 5 steps in our article: 5 steps to a successful CRO Strategy
Conversion Rate Optimization Tips and and Articles
You will find here tips and articles related to Conversion Rate Optimization, to help you gaining a better understanding of the benefits for your website and how you can drive more results from your existing traffic so your content can work smarter, and not harder, for you.
To help you browsing our pages, here is a summary based on your expectations :
1. You start with conversion rate optimization
- Discover why simply asking these 4 Questions can Solve 80% of your Conversion Rate Issues
- Read the 5 Steps to a Successful Conversion Rate Optimization Strategy
- Use this list of 71 Cognitive Biases to Optimise Your Conversion Rates
2. You are looking for tactics to optimize your conversion rates
You have already defined your conversion rate optimization strategy and are looking for practical information and tactics to help you create your hypothesis. Here are a few articles you may want to read:
- Web psychology: 6 Website Optimization Tactics: Increase Conversions Using Neuroscience Principles
- Basket page optimization: How to deal with cart abandonment – Inside the mind of a customer
- Checkout page optimization : 3 Powerful Ways to Optimize Your Checkout Page
3. You are looking for examples of websites that are successfully using conversion rate optimization
- Airbnb: 8 conversion tactics used by Airbnb to optimize their Sign-up Form
- Amazon: Amazon Website Design: 5 Winning Conversion Tactics
- British Airways: 8 Conversion tactics used by British Airways to optimize their Conversions Rates
- Booking.com: Why Is Booking.com’s Conversion Rate So High?
- IKEA: 9 conversion tactics used by IKEA to optimize their conversion rates
What the heck are cognitive biases in decision making and how can (and do) they affect my website’s conversion rate? Here is a list of 71 cognitive biases that you can use to optimize your conversion rates Cognitive biases are a person’s tendency to think in a certain way that deviates from logical or rational […]
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