What is Conversion Rate Optimization?
Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is the practice of improving the rate at which users perform a preferred action. While applicable to many different areas of marketing, the term rose to popularity in the digital marketing sector, specifically website optimization.
Utilizing concepts from both web design and statistical analysis, the most basic example of CRO is the “A/B Test”, or “split test”. In a split test, one portion (or “segment”) of users is shown one experience, while the rest are shown another. Data is collected as to the performance of those users, and how many of them performed the desired action (i.e. “converted”).
This data is then analyzed using establish statistical methodologies to confirm whether the difference in performance of the two segments was explainable by chance, or outside the realm of pure chance (i.e. statistically significant).
More complex implementations of split tests are “multi-variant tests”, which compare several different factors on a given page.
Best Practices are to begin with a clear message drive by the intent of the user coming to the page, followed by a clear call to action or CTA that should help that user get to what they want to discover after landing on the page and reading the message as shown in the example below.
How to Implement CRO
While previously relegated to the realm of expert developers and expert designers, conversion rate optimization has been made accessible to the novice website owner or designer thanks to products like Google Optimize and Optimizely.
These products enable easy design changes through the use of a WYSIWYG-style editor (“what you see is what you get”), as well as taking care of the statistical calculations of error and significance.
What To Test in CRO
Virtually any design aspect of a website can be tested via CRO, but some common elements are the focus of many CRO tests, including:
- Web form elements
- Button size/color
- Header Text
- Sales/Ad Copy
- Color Schemes
While some aspects are easy to implement with the above mentioned tools (i.e. button size and color), CRO can quickly become a complex undertaking requiring the assistance of experts in the field.
Who are the Experts?
Because of the value associated with user engagement in digital marketing, an entire field of study has been dedicated to CRO. It has become an interesting mixture of behavioral psycho-analysis (i.e. why do users do things), user-experience design (how can we enable and engage users through design), and mathematical analysis (is the data in support of hypotheses). Due to the commoditization of statistical analysis in tools such as Google Optimize, much of the human skill required comes in the form of creative design and behavior hypothesizing.
CRO has increased in popularity exponentially along with the rise of the Internet and the commercial value of website usage, and it shows no signs of slowing. The skills and principles associated with CRO can be applied to large and small sites, and likely hold some value for any business or web property.