New technologies and processes in digital marketing are driving current conversion rate optimization (CRO) trends and best practices. To understand how both traditional and more innovative methods of CRO can be combined to significantly boost conversions, I interviewed three leading experts in the conversion rate optimization field. They offered some really insightful perspectives as you’ll see!
Tim Ash: Don’t Be Lured By the Promise of Quick Gains
Tim is the founder and CEO of SiteTuners and author of the bestselling book Landing Page Optimization: The Definitive Guide to Testing and Tuning for Conversions. Tim hosted a webinar with us on the topic of personalization and CRO and kindly agreed to elaborate on some of my questions.
Q: What’s the most important thing that marketers should know about developing conversion rate optimization strategies?
Marketers are often blindsided by their anticipation of quick gains when implementing CRO practices. It’s important to look at CRO not just as optimizing your website but the entire business. From this perspective you’re compelled to go beyond vanity metrics and to focus your energy and resources on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that would lead to long-term, sustainable, and tangible revenue and profit improvements.
Of course, quick wins matter when you’re just starting out with CRO implementation. But these wins must also build the financial case for CRO if you want to sustain interest and support in your organization. And knowing which aspects to measure and optimize for both short and long-term gains largely depends on your ability to see how CRO fits into the big picture.
Justin Rondeau: Testing Personalized Content
Justin Rondeau is the director of optimization at Digital Marketer and a digital marketing and optimization trainer. He’s also the author of one of the most popular articles on CRO and A/B testing on the Evergage blog. I caught up with him recently to get a fresh opinion on A/B testing.
Q: How can personalization and A/B testing, used together, impact conversion rates?
Personalization is a strong mechanism that allows you to get the right message or offer in front of the right person at the right time. In other words, personalization improves the user experience, and in turn improves conversion rates. A/B testing doesn't inherently improve conversion rates, it's a tool that tells you if a change you made had a positive or negative impact. How personalization and A/B testing work together is by testing where to use personalized content and the level of personalization depth used in that experience.
Remember - testing is just a tool that reports on changes between variants. Personalization is a mechanism that directly impacts user experience. When you identify where and how to add personalization you should always test to make sure that it's actually improving conversions.
Peep Laja: Avoid These Common A/B Testing Mistakes
Peep is the founder of ConversionXL — a popular conversion optimization blog, agency, and training company.
Q: What are some A/B testing challenges or misconceptions you’ve come across?
As an optimizer, your job is to figure out the truth. You have to put your ego aside. It’s very human to get attached to your hypothesis or design treatment, and it can hurt when your best hypotheses end up not being right. Been there, done that. Truth above all, or it all loses meaning.
Here’s a very common scenario, even for companies that test a lot: they run one test after another for 12 months and they declare winners and roll them out. A year later, though, the conversion rate of their site is the same as it was when they started.
Why? Because tests are called too early and/or sample sizes are too small. You should not call tests before you’ve reached 95% confidence or higher. 95% means that there’s only a 5% chance that the results are a complete fluke.
Conversion rate optimization is a growing and evolving field. New technologies like personalization are redefining the CRO landscape. We’re fortunate to have experts like Tim, Justin and Peep to help us overcome CRO challenges while continuing to innovate and stay steps ahead of competitors.