Conversion Rate Optimization is crucial to make sure your digital marketing efforts are running efficiently. Get rid of friction, optimize your site, and get your funnel working.
Without a doubt, one of the most widely cited (and astonishing) CRO experiments came out of Google in 2009. Despite being ridiculed at the time, Google deployed an experiment that tested 50 distinct shades of blue for the links it displayed in search results around the web. At the end of this experiment, a winning variant was found: people were fractionally more likely to click links that had a purplish tint compared to a greenish hue. The impact? Google earned 200 million more dollars of ad revenue that year – just by changing a font color.
Most websites, as you’re probably aware, are not Google. They don’t have millions and millions of users to test these variants on. However, the practice of making deliberate changes to your websites or products and measuring the results can lead to some whiplash-inducing positive results. This is widely known as CRO.
CRO stands for click-rate-optimization, and is the practice of testing and optimizing websites and products to meaningfully (and methodically) increase clicks and engagement. It brings together marketers, developers, designers, and data scientists to design experiments that test website variations with the intent of improving the number of valuable actions taken by potential customers.
As Google so spectacularly demonstrated, CRO can be an extremely powerful practice to support your other user acquisition efforts, and can impact spend efficiency tremendously. Consider you’ve been driving traffic to your site, and spent $500 to push 500 leads to a new product offering. Of them, 5% convert and you acquired 25 new users for $20 each (normally referred to as the CPA, or cost per acquisition). By performing a few CRO tests, you discover that including press coverage and positive user testimonials on your homepage increases your on-page conversion by 2%. Now, if you were to drive the same amount of traffic at the same cost, your CPA would be $14.29… a 29% reduction!
If only it were that simple. Often, there are a dizzying number of factors to consider when working to improve and optimize your website. In most cases, it takes a lot of fine-tuning and an aggregation of small wins to drive meaningful CRO. In addition, without pushing large volumes of traffic to a webpage, most experiments cannot achieve “statistical significance” – the point at which an experiment has reached enough of a sample size to declare a winning variant. On top of this, sometimes it’s just not clear what the next steps to take in your CRO process. At that point, it becomes more useful to step into qualitative rather than quantitative analysis… and ask your customers directly!
Thankfully, there are plenty of tools designed by experts to aid teams with CRO – whether you’re testing headline copy or a multivariate testing pro. These tools help in all sorts of ways, including serving multiple page variants, visual website design tools, heat-mapping and web analytics tools, landing page creation tools, plus survey and user feedback platforms.
When deciding on a particular CRO tool, it’s important to keep focused on the features you really need. A few things you should bear in mind are: pricing range, feature maps, usability and ease, platform customer service, and available tutorial resources to help you get your tests running. These tool features are often squirreled away on landing pages, and aren’t always easy to compare across all the platforms that are out there. At least… that used to be true!
What type of CRO tools are available?
There are all kinds of tools available to help marketers optimize their web properties to drive more conversions. Some of the most popular tools aid with landing page design, engagement analytics, user base survey design, and A/B testing platforms. Depending on what features you need, you should narrow down your search for tools.
Where should I start with CRO?
The best place to start is by identifying and testing only a few variants at a time. Unless you’re seeing truly earth-shaking volumes of traffic, changing fonts and button sizes are not likely to be the most meaningful variables to test at the beginning.
Once you’ve identified your variables and designed some variant pages, then you need to set the test live. Most A/B testing tools will be able to help guide your tests towards statistical significance, but don’t just test haphazardly! It’s very easy to encounter false positives without adding some scientific rigor to your experiment design – so be sure not to cut experiments short.
How do I pay for these tools?
Usually tools are paid for on a subscription basis. However, most tools do offer a discount if you buy an annual subscription compared to a monthly one. Payment options often include credit/debit cards and/or bank transfers. Don’t forget to add your VAT ID if you have one!
What are some tricks to improve conversions?
In all honesty, there aren’t any one-size-fits-all tricks when it comes to site optimization. However, one big pitfall for many sites is failing to optimize landing pages for mobile users (also known as responsive design). The vast majority of top-funnel traffic comes from customers using mobile devices – and if you site looks bad or loads slowly on smartphones… your conversion rates will likely suffer.
Can I add multiple users to the same account?
Most tools allow unlimited users. However, some can have limits on the number of users you can add. This is always worth double-checking before you create an account to make sure it’s a good fit for your business.
We include a range of CRO tools in our comparison tables across all major components website optimization. In these comparisons, you will be able to find platforms and providers that are suitable for small sites and blogs, medium-sized businesses and digital agencies, all the way up to multinational e-commerce sites.
We encourage you to read through the pros and cons of each tool to find the one right for your business needs – there is often no one-size-fits-all approach!
A/B Testing Tools: These tools are the backbone of any CRO efforts – they allow you to serve website variants to segments of your customers, and report which versions perform the best.
Landing Page Management Tools: Being able to customize landing pages to meet the specific needs of all your audience segments can be a very powerful conversion driver. These tools will help you deploy landing page variants quickly to get results.
CRO Tools: These tools allow you to explore user behavior data in very fine detail. Create heat maps, watch user recordings, and view analytics data to help understand what obstacles your customers encounter.
Website Analytics Tools: Website analytics tools allow you to aggregate all your user data into extremely useful data sets, and explore this data to uncover insights about your potential customers.
Forms and Survey Tools: Sometimes, you just need to talk to your customers directly. These forms and survey tools will allow you to create branded, premium surveys to help gather invaluable data from your users.