It’s time to highlight the top five posts of the year. It wasn’t easy to choose only five, and by limiting our choice to only five, we had to eliminate hundreds of wonderful posts. We feel, however, that these top five are the most hard-hitting, useful, or knowledge-packed posts that will retain value well beyond this year. And without further ado, the winners are: 1. Learn from the Best: an Interview with Digital Marketing Legend Larry Kim Our interview with Larry Kim, as well as the accompanying video webinar, “10 CRO Truth Bombs That Will Change the Way You Think”,…
VWO is the world’s first Connected Conversion Optimization Platform, and we are here to share 6 simple methods that are unique to VWO and would help you derive a winning conversion optimization formula.
So without further ado, let’s begin. Please note that to implement all these methods, you require a trial account with VWO.
1. Segment User Funnels: Find the Right Prospect on Your Website
User journey and conversion funnels are few of the best tools to analyze your visitor behavior and pinpoint the pages, and areas which are the main source of customer drop-offs.
VWO provides one of the most precise depictions of user funnels with advanced segmentation options.
There is a wide variety of options based on:
Direct Traffic: The segment which consists of an audience that arrives directly to your target page by entering the URL or accessing it through a bookmark.
Referral Traffic: The chunk of the audience that might click a referring URL from a website, a partner, or an affiliate.
Social Traffic: Traffic that originates from social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, and Quora.
New Visitors: Someone who has never been part of any test on a domain before.
Returning: Someone who has been part of at least one test on the domain before.
Paid Traffic Search: This type contains utm_medium query parameter such as cpc, ppc, and cpa to differentiate from other sources of traffic.
2. Personalize Your Landing Pages for Your Ad Campaigns
VWO’s custom targeting allows you to focus on your ad campaigns by dynamically changing the landing page according to the PPC campaign clicked.
For example, if you have a fashion ecommerce business promoting a bunch of black dresses with different ad copies. The ad group here would require a one-to-one, ad to the landing page, for a different pool of audience clicking the ads.
In the example, we take “black dresses” as the product you are trying to sell. Search queries will differ drastically and your potential customers will henceforth see different ad copies. To cater to individual choices, you might create ad copies like:
Little Black Dresses
Most Popular Little Black Dresses
This will lead to a PPC campaign like the image below:
Even with different ad copies, a marketer won’t be able to mitigate a many-to-one ad to landing page mechanism.
But with the help of VWO, you can create a dynamic landing page and use your PPC’s unique parameters to match the ad group with the correct landing page. This happens because based on the query parameter of an ad, VWO can change the content of your landing pages dynamically. For Google AdWords, it is the globally unique tracking parameter called Google Click Identifier or GCLID.
3. Personalize web pages using URL Query Parameters
A similar approach, like the above, can be replicated for personalizing content on a certain page for various segments of your visitors.
You can add unique query parameters to your website URL and personalize pages dynamically for a variety of audience.
You need to add a customized query parameter at the end of the URLs you are targeting.
For example, if one wants to change the content on a blog post for a given audience, they could assign the blog a query parameter like ‘yousite.com/blog/?=variation1’ where ‘variation 1’ is the parameter, VWO will recognize and change the content dynamically.
With this capability, you can change all kinds of content on your website. It can vary from text, images to CSS and HTML properties.
4. Record Live Observations on User Data
Visitor recordings are one of the most sought-after methods to understand customer drop-offs on your website. In live preview, you can figure out the major detractors for a customer or prospect at an individual level.
For example, while going through live recordings, you find an anomaly that’s leading a customer to exit the website without taking the desired action.
To mitigate this issue, a marketer or an analyst can ask the website IT team to make changes. This adds unnecessary steps to a problem that can be easily solved.
A visitor can directly record observations by annotating information directly in the recording itself in VWO. Now your team can collectively view the issue and take corrective measures to improve its customer drop-off rates.
For any type of web testing, when we are making a change to a universal element, the change should be consistent throughout your website.
Even if it’s an AB test on a single page, changes made to universal elements have to be consistent. VWO identifies this pain point for a large set of its audience and provides an easy method to do so.
Here’s how you can do it:
Create a Funnel test.
Define a test page pattern. Make sure that the VWO code snippet is added to all these pages. Enter the test page pattern in the Run test on the URL field.
For example, a test on your website would be defined as http:*//yoursite.com* for the following reasons:
The first wildcard (*) ensures that the test element is changed over both the http and https versions of your website.
The second wildcard (*) ensures that the changed element is implemented on any page that contains the URL string – “://yoursite.com.”
Please refer to this guide for in-depth information about replicating changes across your website.
6. Manage and Refine Your User Data
VWO is equipped with tools that allow you to back your conversion optimization program with data.
With the VWO’s Plan capability, you can:
Record your observations by using Analyze. A VWO user can record observations directly from heatmaps, click maps, and click area.
Create hypotheses with the help of these observations. After collecting your well-researched observations, organize and use these to create hypotheses.
There are three parameters you must rate on a scale of 1 to 5 for Hypothesis:
Confidence: On a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being the lowest, and 5 being the highest), select how confident you are about achieving the expected improvement through the hypothesis?
Importance: On a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being the lowest, and 5 being the highest), select how crucial the visitor landing on the test pages (for which the hypothesis is created) is.
Ease: On a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being the most difficult, and 5 being the easiest), select the complexity of the hypothesis. Rate how difficult it’ll be to implement the changes identified in the hypothesis.
VWO leverages Kanban boards so that you can always keep track of your hypotheses in a pipeline format. Apart from that, you can assign each hypothesis a predictive impact score and prioritize it accordingly.
There are a lot of ways in which VWO can improve your conversions. And these methods take minutes to implement on your websites. If you are already using VWO for optimizing your website conversion, we’d love to know your favorite. You can leave a comment below, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
“The ball is round, the game lasts ninety minutes, and everything else is just theory.”
— Sepp Herberger
In Portuguese, football is known as o Jogo bonito, which translates to The Beautiful Game. At VWO, we believe that like football, conversion rate optimization, or CRO, can be done beautifully.
When a person is introduced to a complex topic such as CRO, there is a lot of information to be processed, which can get quite overwhelming. However, according to Harvard Business School professors Jan W. Rivkin and Giovanni Gavetti, if a concept is learned with the help of an analogy, the process can be eased.
This post aims to highlight the similarities between Football and Conversion Rate Optimization. For those who want to learn about CRO from a technical perspective, please refer to The Beginner’s Guide to CRO.
Why Are Goals Important?
Goals win you matches—it’s as simple as that. Score more number of goals than your opponent, and the match is yours. It’s not just about the goals that are scored during a football match, but also about the goals or objectives that are set up for the season.
N’golo Kante, a midfielder from the English football club Chelsea, had this to say during a press interview:
“For a club like Chelsea, we want to win everything, we’re going to try and win everything. It’s a new challenge for everyone.”
All football clubs set up their respective goals at the beginning of the season, whether these include winning the trophy, a particular league, or just some number of matches.
Key Takeaways for CRO
Before starting with Conversion Optimization, it is important to set up goals that can be tracked and measured anytime during the process.
The goals created in an A/B test should align with your business objectives. The primary goal selected will be used then to decide the outcome of the test.
The results of the minor goals that accompany the primary goal can influence the final decision made just after the test has just concluded.
Research and Analysis
Why Is It Important?
Every year, football leagues are getting more competitive. The stakes are getting higher, and the pressure is mounting. With the help of research and analysis by using modern technology, teams are able to plan and prepare better for a football season.
A manager can now watch heatmaps of players’ movements on-field. Players can now watch recordings of their own gameplay and more. The Guardian refers to this revolution as “datafication” of Football.
In their spare time, football players practice on PlayStation to improve their decision-making skills and to become better at their game. Former Italian footballer Andrea Pirlo was even quoted saying this: “After the wheel, the best invention is the PlayStation.”
Key Takeaways for CRO
After the baseline metrics are decided, it is important to research and analyze how you can achieve the desired goals.
Research and analysis includes viewing heatmaps, watching visitor recordings, or conducting on-page surveys that ask your visitors for relevant feedback.
With the help of research and analysis, you can get answers to the following 3 questions:
What do visitors do on your website?
How do visitors behave?
Why do visitors do what they do?
Why Is It Important?
After research and analysis, the next task for a manager is to plan for the season ahead. This includes deciding the squad, tactics, and formations.
Planning is not only limited to preseason. It is a continuous process that goes on during and after the season gets over.
On the training ground and during matches, managers have their diaries out, where they note down observations and try them out in the later part of the season.
“I don’t think many people fully understand the value of observing, but I came to see observation as a critical part of my management skills. The ability to see things is key or, more specifically, the ability to see things you don’t expect to see.”
Key Takeaways for CRO
As you come across and analyze problems during the research phase, it is important to note your observations. Organize these well at one place.
The next part of the process is to create a hypothesis from these observations and prioritize these based on their importance. Validating the hypothesis is the most important part of the testing phase.
Why Is It Important?
In the picture above, even the same formation (4-4-2) is tested with different positions. Football managers don’t get formations right in the first go.
They constantly experiment with their formations throughout the season and ultimately change it to the one in which all the players seem to fit in perfectly.
Within formations, managers also rotate their players. According to football analysts, the key to Real Madrid’s successful 2016–17 football campaign was Zidane’s clever squad rotation.
Key Takeaways for CRO
Don’t be afraid to experiment. Every element of your website can be tested, from colors to text to images.
Testing is not just limited to plain A/B testing. You can create combinations of elements on your website and run multivariate tests.
By changing the complete layout of certain pages, you can also try out Split URL tests.
Learning and Deployment Phase
Why Is It Important?
Consider the example of Real Madrid’s manager Zinedine Zidane who used a 4–3–3 combination in the form of a sharp arrowhead.
He tested different combinations by playing Marco and Morata in a couple of matches but mostly stuck with the trio of Benzema, Bale, and Cristiano (popularly known as BBC) in the front. This combination led Real Madrid to glory in the champions league.
It is important to test different combinations and learn from the mistakes to get the formation right in the end. With the combination of a winning mentality and experimentation, you are finally on the road to success.
Key Takeaways for CRO
It is important to learn from every test, the way a football manager does from every match. The best way to find out your winning combination is to have a well-structured conversion optimization process in place.
After you have successfully found the winning variation, deploy it on the website to achieve your goals.
We hope you enjoyed reading the analogies we made between football and CRO. Next time, when you are watching a game of football, you should be able to notice and appreciate all the efforts that go into the strategy and preparation before the start of the game.
One page, one purpose. If you’ve spent any time in the CRO world, or read even a single article on landing page optimization, you’ll have heard this catchy little slogan. And yet, unlike the majority of marketing advice containing little substance, this is a phrase which can drastically change the effectiveness of your site’s pages. How? By focusing your page’s intent. Having only one purpose removes extraneous CTAs, helps target your messaging, and makes it easier to track actual success. I mean, if your page has 10 CTAs (and we assume each has an equal chance of being taken) then…
Here’s the most common problem I see when it comes to conversion rate optimization (CRO): Not putting enough energy into conducting the proper initial research into what to test. One round of user tests, then change the website. One heatmap, then change the website. One cohort analysis, then change the website. This can lead to very bad testing habits. When you are trying to improve your conversion rate, you should do multiple types of research. You should be using: Qualitative methods (e.g., usability testing, 5-second testing, surveys, etc.) Quantitative methods (e.g., heatmapping, cohort analysis, funnel analysis, segmentation, etc.) And of…
Note: This is a guest article written by Sujan Patel, co-founder of Web Profits. Any and all opinions expressed in the post are Sujan’s.
“If you build it, they will come” only works in the movies. In the real world, if you’re serious about e-commerce success, it’s up to you to grab the CRO bull by the horns and make the changes needed to maximize your growth.
Implementing an e-commerce CRO program may seem complex, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the number of possible things to test. To simplify your path to proper CRO, we’ve compiled a list of ways to optimize your site by channel.
This list is by no means exclusive; every marketing channel supports as many opportunities for experimentation as you can dream up. Some of these, however, are the easiest to put into practice, especially for new e-commerce merchants. Begin with the tactics described here; and when you’re ready to take your campaigns to the next level, check out the following resources:
Your website’s individual pages represent one of the easiest opportunities for implementing a conversion optimization campaign, thanks to the breadth of technology tools and the number of established testing protocols that exist currently.
These pages can also be one of the fastest, thanks to the direct impact your changes can have on whether or not website visitors choose to buy.
A number of opportunities exist for making result-driven changes to your site’s home page. For example, you can test:
Increasing prominence and appeal of CTAs: If visitors don’t like what you’re offering as part of your call-to-action (or worse, if they can’t find your CTA at all), test new options to improve their appeal.
Testing featured offers: Even template e-commerce shops generally offer a spot for featuring specific products on your store’s home page. Test which products you place there, the price at which you offer them, and how you draw attention to them.
Testing store policies – Free shipping is known to reduce cart abandonment. Implement consumer-friendly policies and test the way you feature them on your site.
Trying the “five-second test” – Can visitors recall what your store is about in 5 seconds or less? Attention spans are short, and you might not have longer than that to convince a person to stick around. Tools like UsabilityHub can get you solid data.
Making this change led to an estimated $100,000 in increased sales per year.
Proper CRO doesn’t just happen on your site. It should be carried through to every channel you use, including email marketing. Give the following strategies a try to boost your odds of driving conversions, even when past visitors are no longer on your site.
Use an established email marketing program to take the steps below:
Build lead nurturing content for all stages of the funnel: Following Digital Marketer’s Email Machine structure will ensure you cover indoctrination, engagement, ascendency, segmentation and re-engagement.
“4x higher open rates and 5x higher click rates compared to other promotional emails. Keeping in mind that in e-commerce, average revenue per promotional email is $0.02, welcome emails on average result in 9x higher revenue — $0.18. And if it’s optimized effectively, revenue can be as high as $3.36 per email.”
LiveChat Inc.’s report on chat greeting efficiency shares the example of The Simply Group, which uses customized greetings to assist customers having problems at checkout. Implementing live chat has enabled them to convert every seventh greeting to a chat, potentially saving sales that would otherwise be lost.
Content marketing may be one of the most challenging channels to optimize for conversions, given the long latency periods between reading content pieces and converting. The following strategies can help:
Tie content pieces to business goals.
Incorporate content upgrades.
Use clear CTAs within content.
Test content copy, messaging, use of social proof, and so on.
Test different distribution channels and content formats.
ThinkGeek uses YouTube videos as a fun way to feature their products and funnel interested prospects back to their site. Their videos have been so successful that they’ve accumulated 180K+ subscribers who tune in regularly for their content.
According to Invesp, “It costs five times as much to attract a new customer, than to keep an existing one.” Continuing to market to past customers, either in the hopes of selling new items or encouraging referrals, is a great way to boost your overall performance.
Don’t let your CRO efforts stop after a sale has been made. Some of your past clients can be your best sources of new customers, if you take the time to engage them properly.
Lastly, make CRO an ongoing practice by prioritizing it internally, rather than relegating it to “something the marketing department does.”
Ask CRO experts, and they’ll tell you that beyond the kinds of tactics and strategies described above, having a culture of experimentation and testing is the most important step you can take to see results from any CRO effort.
How can you learn Conversion Rate Optimization in a way that you can apply it easily to any project? How can you make a low performing website to a highly remunerative one without redesigning it from scratch?
Those are just two of the questions that Luca Catania, Director of Madri Internet Marketing & Head of Marketing of Catchi, answered during the First Certification CRO certification Course in Italy supported by VWO.
The course targeted a wide audience—from people with no experience in CRO to experts in the field. Attendees comprised c-suite executives—Entrepreneurs, Head of Marketing, Managing Directors, Consultants, from more than 20 different industries.
The objective of the training was to teach participants an innovative step-by-step approach to CRO, in which participants are guided to learn a system that they can apply to any business to increase conversion rates, increase leads, increase sales online.
Participants got the chance to learn how to optimize their websites in a real-time setup. Using the VWO platform live in the course allowed the participants to understand and experience how the software can help optimize websites and achieve better conversions.
In this post, we will talk about 5 such conversion optimization challenges that enterprises face and ways to overcome them.
Challenge 1. Politics and People—A Cultural Challenge
An organization’s culture is made of 2 core components—people (skill and mindset) and their interpersonal relationships (power to influence and politics ). Creating a conversion optimization culture becomes challenging when either people lack the understanding and skill or when influential people in the organization want their opinions to be valued more than what data and facts indicate.
Why has Donald Trump’s top-down, opinion-driven leadership style been accepted by the white-collar working public in the US? Because enterprise businesses have trained us that this is how leadership works. We have a name for this leadership style: “HiPPO,” or Highest Paid Person’s Opinion. Joel Harvey calls it Helicopter Management. This is the management style of charismatic or autocratic leaders who drive action in their organizations by helicoptering in, expressing a lightly-informed opinion, and enforcing their opinion in one of the following two ways:
* They bestow budget upon the loyal.
* They threaten the jobs of the disloyal.
So marketing teams can grab the budget and buy the latest tools. But they then struggle to find the man-hours necessary to make the tools effective.
Like all big business problems, it’s a cultural issue.”
James Spittal, Chief Executive Officer, Web Marketing ROI also talks about the HiPPO effect and the political challenge that obstructs a culture of conversion rate optimization.
Only a small portion of changes are A/B tested, kind of like the “HiPPO” effect. The typically small and under-resourced internal CRO team madly tries to work with an agency to get as many A/B tests launched as possible and keeps up their A/B test velocity while talking to everyone about CRO. Meanwhile, a C-level executive asks for a change to be pushed straight into the source code base without it being tested, costing the organization potentially millions of dollars and because they don’t know any better.
Keith Hagen, VP & Director of Conversion Services at Inflow views politics as an obstacle in the implementation of quality insights for any CRO program.
Not all insights are equal. One insight can be worth millions; the other may not move the needle at all while the enterprise pays its employees to test and implement that insight as well.
Terming what an insight actually is, is important as well. Insights come from customers and identify a customer obstacle or opportunity. If you are not making something better for the customer or capitalizing better on what you have, it should not be worked on. Enterprise organizations have a lot of voices, and the higher paid voices tend to influence what optimizations are made to a site.
The solution he proposes—Score Insights Based on Their Potential.
Every insight should be scored on its potential and shared across the organization. Whether the insight is about an obstacle to a purchase or an opportunity to sell more, the potential should be assigned a dollar value so that it is clear what NOT working on the insight will cost.
James Spittal, Chief Executive Officer, Web Marketing ROI attributes the lack of skill—technical or development—with regard to why people in an organization pose a challenge to creating a culture of CRO.
This challenge simply occurs because of people in an enterprise not having the knowledge, talent, or skills. Often, we see people with a graphic design, pure web design, pure analytics, or pure UX background become the “de facto” CRO team. But they struggle because it’s unlikely that they have the technical skills or development skills to be able to implement advanced A/B test ideas (major layout changes, modals, segmentation, changing cart flows, doing tests on pricing, etc.). Often, they also struggle to get resources internally or externally and build a strong business case to increase the CRO budget.
The challenge is to find good optimization talent. While there is no shortage of people marketing themselves as CRO practitioners, only a small percentage of the candidates we screen make it into our organization. This is the same pool that enterprises are recruiting from.
A good optimizer is both analytical and creative, with a solid grasp of disciplines as diverse as psychology, copywriting, marketing, and statistics. They are brilliant communicators with an entrepreneurial drive and at least basic coding skills. Finding them is not easy.
The first step of creating a culture of data-driven conversion optimization in any organization is to educate the people about its benefits. Any enterprise planning to implement such a shift—moving from random A/B testing to scientific conversion optimization—must first understand the “why” behind it. That’s why we have 15 conversion rate experts share why they feel it is important to step up from A/B testing to conversion optimization.
Any cultural change requires the complete support of the top management. That’s why it is all the more important to convince it about conversion optimization. Here’s how you can use data to convince your top management about why they need conversion optimization:
Highlight improved user experience as a double win.
Present a competitive analysis.
Stress the gaps in your current approach.
Show the money.
Show the data.
Challenge 2. No Defined Structure that Supports CRO
It’s a huge challenge for enterprises to put together a structure that supports conversion optimization effectively. There are a number of questions that arise when addressing this challenge. Would it be beneficial to hire a dedicated conversion optimization team, or would it mean only additional expenditure? Who is responsible for conversion optimization?
With regard to this challenge, some interesting observations were listed by ConversionXL’s report on State of Conversion Optimization 2016. One of the findings quoted in the report mentions, “…only 29% of people said that there’s a single dedicated person who does optimization. 30% more said there’s a team in charge of optimization, but 41% of respondents had no one in particular that was accountable for optimization efforts.”
Some companies have internal conversion optimization teams that comprise an analyst, designer, marketer, and project manager. However, should these people invest all of their time on conversion optimization? One way of dealing with this is to have all team members allocate time between core job functions and conversion optimization.
Another challenge related to the lack of structured process to conversion optimization, as explained by Tim Ash, CEO of SiteTuners, and a digital marketing keynote speaker, is the isolation of the CRO team from the rest of the teams.
The biggest problem that an enterprise CRO faces is the siloing emblematic of big companies. All job functions and even departments are compartmentalized and do not communicate well with each other. So even though a CRO group or team exists within the company, it is only able to focus on limited tactical objectives and simple split testing. Typically, CRO initiatives pass through compliance and approval reviews, get watered down by the branding gatekeepers, and then languish in the IT development queue to get implemented.
At SiteTuners, we have developed our Conversion Maturity Model to grade organizations on key aspects of their optimization effectiveness. Dimensions include culture and processes, organizational structure and skill set, measurement and accountability, the marketing technology stack, and of course the user experience across all channels.
One of the biggest determiners of success is whether there is active and consistent support for CRO from high-ranking executives. If there is political air-cover and the CRO team reports high up in the company, this team can work across the silos to tackle fundamental business issues involving products and services, the business model, back-end operational efficiencies, and fundamental user experience redesigns.
Lay down a clear process for conversion optimization that needs to be followed by everyone in the organization. Create a dashboard or platform where all the conversion optimization activities are planned, updated, and reported. Share this platform with everyone in the organization. Encourage a culture where everyone contributes to conversion optimization. However, make decisions based only on data. For example, while deciding what to test and optimize, follow a scientific hypotheses prioritization framework. The benefit—though everyone gets to share their observations and hypotheses—is that only the most relevant of those are tested.
Challenge 3. Inefficient Methodology to Implementing Conversion Optimization
Paul Rouke, Founder and CEO, PRWD points out that lack of user research is one problem in the current conversion optimization methodology followed by most enterprises.
Among enterprises, a lack of an intelligent and robust optimization methodology is a major barrier to them making experimentation a trusted and valued part of their growth strategy. Lack of user research in developing test hypotheses, alongside lack of innovative and strategic testing, instead a focus on simple A/B testing, are some of the biggest barriers which prevent enterprises from harnessing the potential strategic impact conversion optimization could have for their business.
As shown below, the interest in A/B testing is far more widespread than in conversion optimization.
It is important to understand that testing random ideas based on opinions is not a smart way of testing. You may get a winning variation even by testing “ideas,” but this will not help solve the real pain points that users face. The challenge, therefore, is to eliminate guesswork; and the solution is to focus on data instead.
Here’s what Brian Massey has to say regarding eliminating guess work and relying on a behavioral data-based methodology.
Enterprises are missing out on an area, that is, following Moore’s Law in terms of increasing capability and decreasing costs. Behavioral data collection is dropping precipitously in price, and new capabilities are coming online weekly. Just as Microsoft didn’t realize that mobile phone market would follow Moore’s Law, enterprises run the risk of missing the growth in Behavioral Science, a discipline designed to eliminate guessing from business strategy and tactics.
Mathilde Boyer, Head of CXO, House of Kaizen and Peter Figueredo, Founding Partner, House of Kaizen also talk about what is inefficient about the current conversion optimization methodology, as followed by some enterprises.
Opinion-based A/B testing is the gangrene of CRO programs. It hinders the process of objective creation and prioritization of test hypothesis. This tendency can lead to situations where a high level of resources are invested in low-impact optimization activities. Generation and prioritization of test hypothesis needs to be data-driven, systematic, repeatable, and teachable to allow for expansion of optimization activities across a business.
Companies who invest in CRO typically rush to get testing started and overlook the importance of conducting research. Without proper research for informed testing, the design process CXO has lower chances of success. If your doctors do not know the root cause of your ailment, then they are likely only treating the symptoms but not curing the disease. Research should never be ignored and should be a critical component of House of Kaizen’s CXO success.
Data-driven optimization is focused on identifying friction, understanding the why behind user behavior, and testing hypotheses based on that data/information. Here’s what a formalized conversion optimization methodology would comprise:
Researching into the existing data
Finding gaps in the conversion funnel
Planning and developing testable hypotheses
Creating test variations and executing those tests
Analyzing the tests and using the analysis in subsequent tests
Andre Morys, CEO of Web Arts, in one of his interviews, talks about what’s wrong with the methodology. According to him, 80–90% of big companies do not aim for bigger goals, which could be change in the growth rate. This is another methodology-related drawback, as the goals being set do not take the profitability into account. Andre’s interview answers many other questions related to business growth.
Challenge 4. Choosing the Right Tool to Meet the Business Goals
The decision-makers in an organization have a variety of tools to choose from for meeting their business goals. For example, when deciding on an A/B testing tool, they have to make a choice between a:
Frequentist-based statistical engine
Bayesian statistical engine
Moreover, there are multiple tools that help accomplish specific objectives. Enterprises might use hotjar for heatmap reports, a/b testing from VWO, and some other tool for on-page surveys. Reporting becomes a pain when instead of using one connected platform, enterprises use multiple tools to execute their conversion optimization program. If enterprises instead switch to a single connected platform, they can save a lot of time and resources.
Another problem with not using a single tool for testing and optimization is that it becomes difficult to explain instances of success and failure to the top management. This could be confusing for managers who are not in touch with day-to-day implementation of the conversion optimization program.
Moving on to 2014, a report from Adobe says that top-converting companies spend more than 5% of their budgets on optimization. Per the conversion optimization report 2016by ConversionXL, businesses have increased their spend on optimization. The problem, however, lies in correct allocation.
Paul Rouke talks about inefficient budget allocation as follows:
Budgets for conversion optimization within enterprises are continuing to increase, but typically in the wrong direction. Enterprises focus far too much of their marketing investment in enterprise technology. As a result, there’s little investment in people and their skills to actually harness the technology—whether building their in-house team or harnessing specialist agencies.
Enterprises which invest in Human Intelligence (HI), above and beyond technology, and AI are the ones who are positioning themselves for significant and sustainable growth. Growth is about people.
Before deciding the amount that enterprises should spend on conversion optimization, they should think about the return on investment from CRO. Organizations need to budget for the conversion optimization tool while analyzing their goals and actual gains. To read more on how to budget for conversion optimization, read this post by Formstack.
Although the interest in conversion optimization is growing, due to certain challenges, it is not being adopted fully by enterprises. Some of the drawbacks that this post talks about are related to organizational culture, structure, methods and processes, tools for conversion optimization, and budget. These challenges are either related to adoption of conversion optimization or its smooth implementation. Solving these can help enterprises deploy conversion optimization efficiently and effectively to achieve growth and success.
Hope you found this post insightful. We’d love to hear your thoughts on challenges that enterprises face when implementing conversion optimization. Send in your feedback and views in the comments section below.
It’s not every day that marketers use the words “email” and “CRO” in the same sentence. After all, most email marketing strategies for eCommerce are mainly focused on sending newsletters, promotional emails, transactional emails, and maybe even cart abandonment messages. If you’re really savvy, you might even be sending post-purchase emails to leverage the traffic you already converted in the hopes that those shoppers will come back to buy more. But here’s the thing: When you focus your email marketing efforts solely on the end of your sales funnel, you’re actually neglecting the majority of your site traffic. That’s traffic…
The following is a case study about how Tough Mudder achieved a 9% session uplift by optimizing for mobile. With the help of altima° and VWO, they identified and rectified pain points for their mobile users, to provide seamless event identification and sign-ups.
About the Company
Tough Mudder offers a series of mud and obstacle courses designed to test physical strength, stamina, and mental grit. Events aren’t timed races, but team activities that promote camaraderie and accomplishment as a community.
Tough Mudder wanted to ensure that enrolment on their mobile website was smooth and easy for their users. They partnered with altima°, a digital agency specializing in eCommerce, and VWO to ensure seamless event identification and sign-ups.
Research on Mobile Users
The agency first analyzed Tough Mudder’s Google Analytics data to identify any pain points across participants’ paths to enrollment. They analyzed existing rates from the Event List, which demonstrated that interested shoppers were not able to identify the events appropriate for them. The agency began to suspect that customers on mobile might not be discovering events easily enough.
On the mobile version of the original page, most relevant pieces of information like the event location and date, were being pushed too far down below the fold. In addition, lesser relevant page elements were possibly distracting users from the mission at hand. This is how it looked like:
The agency altima° decided to make the following changes in the variation:
Simplified header: Limiting the header copy to focus on the listed events. The following image shows how this looked.
List redesign: Redesigning the filter and event list to prominently feature the events themselves. The following image shows the same:
Additionally, an Urgency Message was added to encourage interested users to enroll in events nearing their deadline. See the following image to know how it was done:
For these three variations, seven different combinations were created and a multivariate test was run using VWO. The test experienced over 2k event sign-ups across 4 weeks. The combinations of variations are shown below:
After 4 weeks, Variation 2, which included the redesigned event list, proved to be the winning variation. This is not to say that other test variations were not successful. Variation 2 was just the MOST successful:
The winning variation produceda session value uplift of 9%! Combined with the next 2 rounds of optimization testing, altima° helped Tough Mudder earn a session value uplift of over 33%!
Why Did Variation 2 Win?
altima° prefers to let the numbers speak for themselves and not dwell on subjective observations. After all, who needs opinions when you’ve got data-backed results? altima°, however, draws the following conclusions on why Variation 2 won:
Social proof has demonstrated itself to be a worthy component of conversion optimization initiatives. These often include customer reviews and/or indications of popularity across social networks.
In fact, Tough Mudder experienced a significant lift in the session value due to the following test involving the addition of Facebook icons. It’s likely that the phrase Our Events Have Had Over 2 Million Participants Across 3 Continents warranted its own kind of social proof.
The most ambitious testing element to design and develop was also the most successful.
It appeared that an unnecessary amount of real estate was being afforded to the location filter. This was resolved by decreasing margins above and below the filter, along with removing the stylized blue graphic.
The events themselves now carried a more prominent position relative to the fold on mobile devices. Additionally, the list itself was made to be more easily read, with a light background and nondistracting text.
The underperformance of the urgency message came as a surprise. It was believed that this element would prove to be valuable, further demonstrating the importance of testing with VWO.
Something to consider is that not every event included an urgency message. After all, not every enrolment period was soon to close. Therefore, it could be the case that some customers were less encouraged to click through and enroll in an individually relevant event if they felt that they had more time to do so later.
They might have understood that their event of interest wasn’t promoting urgency and was, therefore, not a priority. It also might have been the case that an urgency message was introduced too early in the steps to event enrolment.
How did you find this case study? There are more testing theories to discuss! Please reach out to altima° and VWO to discuss. You could also drop in a line in the Comments section below.