What is Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) and why should you do it?

Even though CRO should really be an integral part of every website’s digital strategy it is often overlooked. Wrongfully so as CRO is a great way to gain additional value from your hard-earned website traffic as it takes the traffic you’re already achieving and helps extract the best value from it.

What is Conversion Rate Optimisation?

CRO is the process of optimising your website to increase the likelihood that a visitor is going to carry out a specific action on your site and ultimately convert into a customer. A conversion can be any desired action that you deem valuable to your business, for example a newsletter subscription, an online purchase, the filling in of a contact form, the completion of a survey or an app download to name a few.

In fact, the definition itself has become problematic as our relationship with our devices and the entire digital space has become more intimate and complex. In this context many suggest that CRO is best viewed as one constituent part of Digital Experience Optimisation (DXO). While CRO focusses more narrowly on increasing the volume of conversions from a given number of sessions, DXO emphasises a wider effort to improve the customer journey across a range of channels and devices, to the benefit of brand and consumer alike.

In his recent Smart Insights paper, marketing academic Mark Hall suggests “use CRO as a label, if this helps, but show colleagues that CRO is not just aimed at increasing conversion rate but aimed at developing incremental revenues from different online audience segments including new visitors from different online media sources, mobile and desktop visitors, existing customers who haven’t bought online and existing customers.”

Why your digital marketing strategy is incomplete without CRO

Even if you’re doing everything right in all other areas by having an effective digital marketing strategy in place and driving traffic to your website through SEO, PPC, social media and display advertising there might still be room for improvement when it comes to the effectiveness of your website.

With regard to cost efficiency, spending on CRO is money well invested as it is much more profitable to convert a higher percentage of the website visitors you already have than to drive additional users to your site: a higher conversion rate means a lower cost per acquisition, a higher ROI and ultimately more money available to reinvest in additional acquisition which will help to grow your business. In other words: increasing your spend on marketing channels like PPC, display or social media can be wasteful if your website isn’t doing what you set it out to do, namely convert users into customers.

The pillars of CRO: thorough analysis and testing

In order to improve the performance of your website CRO follows a structured and systematic approach. It is about finding out how your website works with your target audience and identifying any impediments that might discourage visitors from converting.

Establishing the Purpose of Visit is key to this detailed analysis of the customer journey. The nature of the user’s intent always has a significant impact on what a brand might expect to glean from that visit and the chances of generating a conversion. Likewise, looking at what influences abandonment is a vital part of covering the entire optimisation of digital experience. Taking a wider view of all these different factors and their separate contribution to the conversion rate is essential to a fruitful CRO process. Consequently, establishing the right balance for metrics is central to the planning and reporting of optimisation work, as every web analysis will reveal different priorities, for example:

  • More revenue (per visitor)
  • More conversions
  • Improved conversion rate
  • Lower abandonment
  • Better engagement

An effective CRO strategy is based on thorough analysis and insights drawn from analytics and usability testing, as well as split and multivariate testing and never on guesswork or hunches. Did you know that seemingly small changes to layout, copy, fonts and design can have a huge impact on your website’s conversion rate? The accretion of many such small changes over time can make substantial differences to overall costs per action.

A good website makes for a happy customer

The best thing about CRO is that while you are improving the performance of your website and growing your business, at the same time you’re also enhancing your website visitors’ user experience. An easy-to-navigate site with clearly structured, meaningful content and uncomplicated conversion funnels makes for a happy customer. And a happy customer is more likely to come back for more and recommend your products and services to friends and family.

“For me personally, the wonderful element of CRO is the application of a rigorous scientific method to consumers’ everyday interactions with a brand’s website. Things that you wouldn’t think matter other than aesthetically can be demonstrated to have a sizeable, tangible impact.”

Nikola Paradies – Senior PPC Specialist

If you aren’t already engaged in an ongoing CRO process, this is an area in which we can help make significant improvements to your bottom line. Get in touch.