Tag Archives: learning

Afraid Of AI? Conquer Your Fears By Learning How It Can Boost Your Sales

It’s 2017, and the robots are here. However, artificial intelligence (AI) is nothing to be feared. In fact, AI will help boost your sales, increase conversions while ensuring that your business thrives and stays relevant in an ever-changing world. If you have resisted AI up until now because it sounded too complex, we’re going to explain how it can turbocharge your sales in plain, understandable English. We’ll be covering everything from chatbots, personal assistants to how AI can ramp up your email marketing efforts – as well as tighten up your security. As a business owner, this could be the…

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Afraid Of AI? Conquer Your Fears By Learning How It Can Boost Your Sales

Data-Backed Advice for High-Converting Real Estate Landing Page Design [+ FREE TEMPLATE]

You’re designing a landing page for your Real Estate client, and you turn to “best practice” advice articles to help guide the way.

But there’s a nagging voice at the back of your mind:

Does this “best practice” advice apply indiscriminately to my industry? Does this author really know anything about my audience at all?

“Best practices” become “better practices” when they are industry-specific.

When our design team was recently wireframing new landing page templates for the Unbounce builder, they set out to create industry-specific templates that addressed this truth: different audiences belonging to different industries behave differently. They have different pains, different motivators and different disincentives.

Firm believers that data needs to inform design, our design team sourced their research in two key areas:

  1. Data from the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report: The report includes average conversion rates for 10 popular industries, as well as Machine Learning-powered recommendations around reading ease, page length, emotion and sentiment.
  2. High-converting customer landing pages: Our designers looked at the top 10 highest-converting Unbounce landing pages in those industries, and analyzed common design and copy elements across the pages.

Our design team then combined insight from these two key areas of research to build out content and design requirements for the best possible landing page template for each of the 10 industries.

One of these industries was Real Estate, and now we want to share their findings with you.

See a breakdown of their process for designing the Real Estate page template at the bottom of this post, or read on for their key findings about what converts in the Real Estate industry.

Which copy elements convert best in the Real Estate industry?

Word count

The data scientists and conversion rate optimizers who put together the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report found that for Real Estate lead capture landing pages, short n’ sweet is better: overall, they saw 33% lower conversion rates for longer landing pages.

This chart shows how the word count relates to conversion rates for the Real Estate vertical. On the x-axis we have word count — on the y-axis, conversion rate.

This was consistent with what the design team saw across high-converting Unbounce customer landing pages in Real Estate: pages were relatively short with concise, to-the-point copy.

Reading ease

The Unbounce Convert Benchmark Report also revealed that in the Real Estate vertical, prospects want simple and accessible language. The predicted conversion rate for a landing page written with 6th grade level language was nearly double that of a page written at the university level.

This chart shows how conversion rates trend with changes to reading ease for the Real Estate Industry. On the x-axis we have the Flesch Reading Ease score — on the y-axis, conversion rate.
According to the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report, 41.6% of marketers in the Real Estate industry have at least one page that converts at less than 1.3% (in the 25th percentile for this industry). Download the report here to see the full data story on Real Estate and get recommendations for copy, sentiment, page length and more for nine additional industries.

Fear-inducing language

The Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report used an Emotion Lexicon and Machine Learning to determine whether words associated with eight basic emotions (anger, anticipation, disgust, fear, joy, sadness, surprise and trust) affected overall conversion rates.

While these emotions did not seem to dramatically correlate with conversion rate in the Real Estate vertical, fear-based language was the exception. We saw a slight negative trend for pages using more fear-inducing terms:

This chart shows how the percentage of copy that evokes fear is related to conversion rates for the Real Estate vertical. On the x-axis we have the percentage of copy that uses words related to fear — on the y-axis, conversion rate.

If more than half a percent of your copy evokes feelings of fear, you could be hurting your conversion rates.

Here are some words commonly associated with fear on Real Estate lead capture landing pages: highest, fire, problem, watch, change, confidence, mortgage, eviction, cash, risk…

See the full list in the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report.

Calls to action

When our designers looked at the top 10 highest-converting Unbounce customer landing pages in the Real Estate vertical, they took a close look at the calls to action and found that:

  • Every page provided a detailed description of the offer
  • Almost all had a “request a call back” or “call us” option (other CTAs included “get more info,” “apply now” and “get the pricelist”)
  • Most did an excellent job of including button copy that reinforces what prospects get by submitting the form
If you use a “call us” CTA on your landing pages, make sure you try out our CallRail integration. This will help you track which calls are a result of your paid spend and landing pages!

Here are some examples of the forms and calls to action on some of our highest-converting Real Estate lead capture landing pages:

The usual suspects (benefits, social proof, UVP…)

Without much exception, the pages featured a lot of the copywriting elements that one would expect to see on any high-converting landing page (regardless of vertical):

  • Detailed benefits listed as bullet points
  • A tagline that reinforces the unique value proposition or speaks to a pain point:
  • And not surprisingly, testimonials. One page went above and beyond with a video testimonial:

Which design elements convert best in the Real Estate industry?

The highest-converting Real Estate landing pages included lots of imagery:

  • Beautiful hero shots of the interior and exterior of properties
  • Maps
  • Full-width photography backgrounds
  • Floor plans

Some examples:

Our designers also studied other design features as basic guidelines for the template they were then going to create.

While these specifics are meant to be taken with a grain of salt (you may already have brand colors and fonts!) they could serve as a good starting point if you’re starting completely from scratch and want to know what others are up to.

Many of the high-converting pages had:

  • San-serif fonts
  • Palettes of deep navy and forest green
  • Orange (contrasting) call to action buttons
The highest-converting landing pages in the Real Estate industry sit at 11.2%. If your Real Estate page converts at over 8.7%, you’re beating 90% of your competitors’ pages. See the breakdown of median and top conversion rates (and where you stand!) via the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report.

Behold, the template our designers created

After synthesizing all that research, our Senior Art Director Cesar Martínez took to his studio (okay, his desk), and drafted up this beautiful Real Estate landing page template:

Not only is the template beautiful, it was created by analyzing actual data: what makes for a high-performing landing page in the Real Estate industry via the Unbounce Benchmark Report and high-converting customer pages.

Footnote: The design process

Curious about the process our designers used to develop this data-backed Real Estate landing page template? Here are the steps they followed:

  1. For the 10 highest-converting customer landing pages, they analyzed all common elements (such as form, what type of information is collected, what type of offer, if there are any testimonials, etc). This allowed them to build their content requirements.
  2. They referred to the word count recommendations in the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark Report and designed for that word count limit.
  3. They referred to reading ease level recommendations for that specific industry from the Benchmark Report and shared the information with their copywriter.
  4. They sketched out a rough idea of their potential landing page template.
  5. They selected typography and colors relevant to the industry based on what was popular in the 10 examples.
  6. They named their imaginary company in the industry and sketched out some potential logos. They picked photography built out a moodboard.
  7. That helped them gather all the information they needed to build out their template!

See the article here: 

Data-Backed Advice for High-Converting Real Estate Landing Page Design [+ FREE TEMPLATE]

The Road To Resilient Web Design

Editor’s Note: In the world of web design, we tend to become preoccupied with the here and now. In “Resilient Web Design“, Jeremy Keith emphasizes the importance of learning from the past in order to better prepare ourselves for the future. So, perhaps we should stop and think more beyond our present moment? The following is an excerpt from Jeremy’s web book.

Design adds clarity. Using colour, typography, hierarchy, contrast, and all the other tools at their disposal, designers can take an unordered jumble of information and turn it into something that’s easy to use and pleasurable to behold. Like life itself, design can win a small victory against the entropy of the universe, creating pockets of order from the raw materials of chaos.

The Road To Resilient Web Design

The Book of Kells is a beautifully illustrated manuscript created over 1200 years ago. It’s tempting to call it a work of art, but it is a work of design. The purpose of the book is to communicate a message; the gospels of the Christian religion. Through the use of illustration and calligraphy, that message is conveyed in an inviting context, making it pleasing to behold.

The post The Road To Resilient Web Design appeared first on Smashing Magazine.

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The Road To Resilient Web Design

15 Conversion Rate Experts Share Why to Step Up from A/B Testing to Conversion Optimization

A/B testing and conversion rate optimization (CRO) are not synonymous, but often confused.

A/B testing is exactly what it says—a test to verify different sets of variations on your website. Conversion rate optimization, however, is much more than just testing.

Conversion optimization is a scientific process that starts with analyzing your business’ leaks, making educated hypotheses to fix them, and then testing those hypotheses.

Conversion optimization is a process that needs to be repeated, but A/B testing is a technique. A formalized conversion optimization process can advance somewhat like this:

  1. Tracking metrics and identifying what parts of the conversion funnel need fixing
  2. Analyzing why visitors are doing what they are doing
  3. Creating and Planning your hypotheses for optimization
  4. Testing the hypotheses against the existing version of the website
  5. Learning from the tests and applying the learning to the subsequent tests

vwo-is-evolving-into-a-conversion-optimization-platform1

To further clear up the air around the two terms, we got in touch with the top in line conversion rate experts and picked their brains on the same. The experts tell us about their experiences with A/B testing and conversion optimization and why you should switch to the latter.

Quotes from Conversion Rate Experts

Chris Goward, Founder and CEO, WiderFunnel

Back in 2007, I could already see that a huge gap was developing among companies that are perfecting a process for conversion optimization and those that are following the easy advice of so many consultants.

Instead of selling top-of-mind advice, I focused WiderFunnel on refining the process of continuous optimization for leading brands. For each of our client engagements, we run a holistic CRO program that builds insights over time to continuously improve our understanding of their unique customer segments. The results speak for themselves.

Ad hoc A/B testing is a tragic use of your limited traffic when you realize how much growth and insights structured optimization program could be delivering. In an example that we published recently, a structured CRO program is exactly what this company needed to double its revenue two years in a row, over the ad hoc testing it was previously doing.

Brian Massey, Founder, Conversion Sciences

The most effective conversion optimization program seeps into the bones of your organization. Decisions that were once exclusively creative in nature gain a data component. Much of the guessing drains from your online marketing. We call this “rigorous creativity,” and it marries your best marketing work with insights about your visitors. It cannot be accomplished by running a few tests, but comes from asking daily, “Do we have some data to help guide us? If not, can we collect it?” The rigorously creative business is good at finding and creating this data and using it to maximize visitor satisfaction and business profit.

Rand Fishkin, Founder and CEO, Moz

Without a strong CRO strategy that encompasses the experience visitors have discovering, using, exploring, and hopefully eventually converting on your site, you’ll always be plugging holes in a leaky bucket rather than building a better container.

The best opportunities to improve conversion usually aren’t from changing individual pages one at a time with a multitude of tests, but rather by crafting a holistic, thoughtful experience that runs throughout the site, then iterating on elements consistently with an eye to learning, and applying knowledge from each test to the site as a whole.

Karl Gilis, Co-founder,  AGConsult

An AB test should come at the end of your homework. If you’re just AB testing, you’re probably gambling. Your tests are based on things you’ve read on the Internet, gut feeling, and opinions. Some of your tests will be winners, most of them losers. Because you’re shooting blanks.

The homework is data analysis and user research. This will reveal the problem areas and why your visitors are leaving or not doing what you want them to do. The better you know the dreams, the hopes, the fears, the barriers, and uncertainties of your users, the better you’ll be able to work out a test that will have a real impact.

In case you’re in doubt, impact seldom comes from design changes. Don’t change the color of your button, change the text on that button. Not randomly, but based on what users want and your knowledge of influencing people.

Don’t focus too much on the design. Focus on your offer, your value proposition, and how you sell your stuff.

Don’t sell the way you like to sell. Sell the way your customers want to buy.

André Scholten, SEO and Site Speed specialist, Google Analytics

Create a strategy that makes your clients happier and don’t focus on the money. Single non-related tests on the conversion funnel follow each other up, based on abandonment rates, judged on their influence on revenue. That’s not a strategy but more an operational process where test after test is conducted without vision. You should create a test culture within your company that tests everything that will make your website a nicer place for your customers. Give them feedback possibilities with feedback or chat tools to learn from these. Take their wishes into account and create tests to verify if their wishes are met. Create a test strategy that focuses on all goals: not only the money, but also information-type goals, contact-goals, etc. It will give you so much to do and to improve. That’s a holistic approach to testing.

Kathryn Aragon, Content Strategist & Consultant, Ahrefs

“Winging it” may work for musicians and cooks; but in marketing, any decision made outside of a holistic CRO program is a bad one. Only through testing will you find the right message, the right audience, and the right offer. And only after you nail these critical elements will you see the profits you need. It doesn’t matter how small or new your business is, take time to test your ideas. You’ll be glad you did.

Joel Harvey, COO & Conversion Optimization Expert, Conversion Sciences

To say an online business is great due to AB Testing is like saying a Football team is great because of their stadium. It is the entire team framework that leads to winning. An optimization framework integrates A/B testing as one component that includes the team, the brand, advertising, and a solid testing strategy. This is how industry-leading websites win year after year.

Rich Page, Conversion Rate Optimization and Web Analytics Expert

Many online businesses make the mistake of thinking that A/B testing is the same as CRO and don’t pay enough attention to the other key aspects of CRO. This usually gives them disappointing results on their conversion rates and online revenue. Web analytics, website usability, visitor feedback, and persuasion techniques are the other key CRO elements that you need to frequently use to gain greatest results.

Gaining an in-depth visitor feedback is a particularly essential part of CRO. This helps you discover your visitor’s main needs and common challenges, and forms high-impact ideas for your A/B tests (rather than just guessing or listening to your HiPPOs). Gaining visitor insights from usability tests and watching recordings of them using your website is particularly revealing.

Peter Sandeen, Value Proposition and Marketing Message Development Expert

Just about every statistic on A/B test results says that most tests don’t create positive results (or any results at all). That’s partly because of the inherent uncertainties of testing. But a big part is the usual lack of a real plan.

Actually, you need two plans.

The first plan, the big picture one, is there to keep you focused on testing the right parts of your marketing. It tells if you should spend most of your energy on testing landing pages, prices, or perhaps webinar content.

The second plan is there to make sure you’re creating impactful differences in your tests. So instead of testing two headlines that mean essentially the same thing (e.g. “Get good at golf fast” and “Improve your golf skills quickly”), you test things that are likely to create a different conversion rate (e.g. “3-hour practice recommended by golf pros”). And when you see increased or decreased conversion rates, you create the next test based on those results.
With good plans, you can get positive results from 50–75% of your tests.

Roger Dooley, Author of Brainfluence

Simple A/B testing often leads to a focus on individual elements of a landing page or campaign – a graphic, a headline, or a call to action. This can produce positive results, but often distracts one from looking at the bigger picture. My emphasis is on using behavior science to improve marketing, and that approach works best when applied to multiple elements of the customer journey.

Jeffrey Eisenberg, CEO, Buyer Legends

Conversion rate (CR) is a measure of your ability to persuade visitors to take action the way you want them to. It’s a reflection of your effectiveness and customer satisfaction. For you to achieve your goals, visitors must first achieve theirs. Conversion rate, as a metric, is a single output. CR is a result of the many inputs that make up a customer experience. That experience has the chance to annoy, satisfy, or delight them. We need to optimize the inputs. Ad hoc A/B tests cannot do this. Companies that provide a superior experience are rewarded with higher conversion rates. Focus on improving customer experience, and you’ll find the results in your P&L, Balance Sheet, and Cash Flow statements.

Jakub Linowski, Founder & Lead Designer, Linowski Interaction Design

Thinking beyond the individual A/B test as optimization is a natural part of gaining experience. We all probably started off by running a handful of ad hoc tests and that’s okay—that’s how we learn. However, as we grow, three things may happen which bring us closer towards becoming more strategic:
1. We become conscious of ways in which we can prioritize our testing ideas.
2. We become conscious of the structure of experiments and how tests can be designed.
3. We think of a series of upcoming tests which may or may not work together to maximize returns.

Here is one example of one test strategy/structure: The Best Shot Test. It aims to maximize the effect size and minimize the testing duration, while doing so at the cost of a blurred cause-effect relationship.

Naomi Niles, Owner, ShiftFWD

Running basic A/B tests based on best practices is okay for a start. But to really get to the next level, it’s important to see how all the pieces of the puzzle fit together. This gives us a better understanding of what exactly we’re testing for and reach for results that fit the specific goals of the organization.

Kristi Hines, Certified Digital Marketer

Depending on your business and the size of your marketing team, you may want to go beyond just testing your website or a landing page. You may want to expand your A/B testing to your entire online presence.

For example, try changing your main thing (keyword phrase, catch phrase, elevator pitch, headline, etc.) not just on your website, but also on all your homepage’s meta description, your social media bios and intros, your email signatures, etc.

Why? Because here’s what’s going to happen. If you have consistent messaging across a bunch of channels that someone follows you on, and all of a sudden, they come to your landing page with an inconsistent message (the variant, if you will), then they may not convert simply because of the inconsistency of your message. Not because it wasn’t a good message, but because it wasn’t the message they were used to receiving from you.

As my own personal case example, when I change my main phrase “Kristi Hines is a freelance writer, business blogger, and certified digital marketer.” I don’t do it just on my website. I do it everywhere. And I don’t do it for just a week. I do it for at least two to three months unless it’s a complete dud (i.e., no leads in the first week at all).

But what I usually find is when I find a good phrase, I’ll start getting leads from all over the place. And usually they will say they went from one channel to the next. Hence, don’t just test. Test consistency across your entire presence, if possible. The results may be astonishing.

Jason Acidre, Co-founder/CEO, Xight Interactive

I do think that Conversion Rate Optimization as a marketing discipline goes beyond just a series of A/B and/or Multivariate tests. As external factors such as your brand and what other people say about the business (reviews and referrals) can also heavily impact how a site can perform in terms of attracting more actions from its intended users/visitors.

For instance, positive social proof (number of people sharing/liking a particular product or a brand on different social networks) can also influence your customer’s buying process. And improving on this aspect of the brand involves a whole different campaign – which would involve a more holistic approach to be integrated to your CRO program. Another factor to consider is the quality of traffic your campaign is getting (through SEO, PPC, paid social campaigns, content marketing, etc.) The more targeted traffic you’re able to acquire, the better your conversions will be.

Your Turn

A full-fledged conversion optimization program goes a long way and is a lot more beneficial than ad hoc testing.

So what are you waiting for? Let stepping up to conversion optimization be your #1 goal in the new year.

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The post 15 Conversion Rate Experts Share Why to Step Up from A/B Testing to Conversion Optimization appeared first on VWO Blog.

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15 Conversion Rate Experts Share Why to Step Up from A/B Testing to Conversion Optimization

How RuneScape Leveled Up Revenue Through Process-Driven CRO

The following is a case study about how RuneScape followed a structured conversion optimization (CRO) program to increase revenue on its website.

About RuneScape

RuneScape is a fantasy massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG). It was developed by Jagex and launched in January 2001.

The popularity of the game is enormous. RuneScape has welcomed over 250 million players to its world since its release. More than 2 million users play every month, and millions more watch avidly through social channels.

RuneScape has consistently strived to deliver a great experience to its users—not just limited to the game but also on its website. After all, it’s the website where users find forums and game guides, and buy in-game items.

The CRO Team

Rob Marfleet, UX Specialist at Jagex, takes care of User Experience and CRO across the payment flow on the website (the payment gateway and its preceding pages). Dave Parrott, Payments Services Director at Jagex, and Nastassja Gilmartin, Payments Manager at Jagex, help Rob in identifying testing opportunities and analyzing test results.

Rob Marfleet, UX Specialist at Jagex, takes care of User Experience and CRO across the payment flow on the website.

Rob works with teams of designers and developers that help facilitate implementation of winning test variants on the RuneScape website.

Additionally, Rob takes help from Disha Ahuja, Client Success Manager at VWO, to utilize the VWO platform to its full potential.

About the Case

About 50% of users on the RuneScape website arrive as direct traffic. The other half of the traffic consists of users from referrals, social media, and email marketing campaigns.

Rob adds, “This is mainly down to RuneScape enjoying a very loyal user base, with many players having played for several years.”

The CRO team aims to optimize high-potential pages, that is, pages that are closest to the payment gateway and require minimum effort in optimization. The Treasure Hunter page on the website is one such high-potential page that the team chose to optimize.

The Treasure Hunter page lets users buy keys to unlock treasure chests in the game. The treasure chests contain items that can be used within RuneScape.

Rob explains, “Treasure Hunter activity is an optional mini-game within RuneScapekeys are earned through play, but can also be gathered in bundles that are purchasable on the site.

This is how the original page looked like:

RuneScape Treasure Hunter control page for A/B TestOn clicking Continue on the Treasure Hunter page, users are directed to a Payment page where they can choose from multiple treasure chest packages.

RuneScape payment page
Payment page

The RuneScape CRO team thoroughly analyzed the Treasure Hunter page and identified optimization opportunities. Next, the team used VWO to capitalize on these opportunities.

Optimization Process

The CRO team followed the following process to improve conversions on the RuneScape website:

  • Setting a Goal
  • Finding Opportunities for Optimization
  • Creating Hypothesis
  • Developing Variation
  • Analyzing Test Results

Setting a Goal

The goal of the optimization campaign was to grow revenue by increasing the number of purchases.

Finding Opportunities for Optimization

The team at RuneScape studied a heatmap of the Treasure Hunter page. The heatmap showed that a significant number of users were clicking the Get Keys section on the page—a section which was not clickable. Users perhaps either wanted a direct access to the keys or wanted to search for further information.

Heatmap of RUneScape original page before A/B test
Heatmap of the original page

Next, the team watched visitor recording sessions on the page and observed that a lot of visitors on the Payment page returned to the Treasure Hunter page. The team realized that the Treasure Hunter page probably did not offer sufficient information about the treasure chest packages to users.

Creating Hypothesis

The team hypothesized that providing details about treasure chest packages on the Treasure Hunter page will lead to greater conversions on the Payment page.

Developing Variation

Based on the hypothesis, the team created a variation of the Treasure Hunter page. The variation included a new section highlighting four treasure chest packages. Here’s how it looked:

RuneScape Treasure Hunter variation page

An A/B test was run to find the better performing version between the original page and the variation.

Analyzing Test Results

The test ran for a month from August 15–September 13, 2016. The variation outperformed the control and increased the number of purchases by almost 10 percent.

RuneScape A/B Test analysis - Report
Test result report on VWO

Rob shares his learning from the A/B test:

I think one of the more important aspects to take note of here is that the page variation actually resulted in less traffic to the payment page, but increased the amount of purchases made. Effectively, we can say pretty confidently that by giving the users package information upfront, we created higher quality traffic to the next stage, simply through transparency, and informed the user before going forwardusers who went to the purchase page already knew what they were after.

This is incredibly useful when considering other areas of the payment flowif the effect can be replicated, it can potentially translate to more wins.

Next Steps

The CRO team did not stop after it found success with the A/B test. The team felt that the variation can be optimized even further.

The team realized that the offer of four treasure chest packages can possibly leave the users spoiled for choice. The team hypothesized that recommending one of the packages to users will help them choose better and, consequently, increase conversions.

Based on this hypothesis, the following variation was created:

RuneScape follow-up A/B Test variation

The variation featured a Recommended package. This variation was pitted against the winning page from the first A/B test.

The variation won and further increased the number of purchases by almost 6%.

Experience Using VWO

Rob shares, “As a hands-on user of VWO, I’ve personally experienced how quickly it allows prototyping and testing of new ideas, features and content. The ability to push changes, without having to involve multiple teams to relaunch areas of the site can’t be praised highly enough, and the ability to reverse those same changes instantaneously is equally as useful. It’s allowed me to run a number of campaigns straight away that would normally have to be scheduled further down the line, at a more opportune moment, and that’s pretty invaluable.

Using the actual software is very straightforward and easy to understand—campaigns can be built in a short period of time, and having Disha available any time to help determine the best testing practices has definitely helped me find wins—she’s super friendly and eager to help, and I’ve already implemented several testing campaigns that have been borne out of collaboration between her and myself, one of which, is in the process of being fully implemented on the site.”

What Do You Think?

Do you have any recommendations on how RuneScape can further improve user experience and conversions on its website? Did you get any conversion optimization ideas for your own online enterprise? Tell us using the comments section below.

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How RuneScape Leveled Up Revenue Through Process-Driven CRO

Why CRO and UX Are a Match Made in Heaven

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As a practice, Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) and User Experience (UX) have a lot in common. Both CRO and UX aim to help users get things done with their minimum efforts. They both involve the use of certain tasks such as user feedback and usability testing.

The question that “Is CRO a part of UX, or UX a part of CRO?” can still lead to a debate among designers and marketers.

However, this post is not about that debate.

This post talks about how CRO and UX complement each other. It highlights how CRO and UX teams can achieve business goals effectively while working together.

UX Provides Long-Term Benefits to CRO

The approach to UX is simple: You ensure that every task on your website is intuitive and the complete flow across the website is per the expectations of users. Moreover, you actively identify areas of friction on your website and try to fix those.

Here is the definition of UX design from Wikipedia: “It is the process of enhancing user satisfaction by improving the usability, accessibility, and pleasure provided in the interaction between the user and the product.”

This approach assists CRO in the following ways:

CRO Team Doesn’t Test Random Ideas

Following the approach to UX, CRO team studies user behavior on a website extensively and creates A/B testing hypotheses based on the learning. The team steers clear of building hypotheses per “best practices” or “HiPPO.”

The UX way of studying user behavior on a website includes a range of methods. The popular methods include user surveys, eye-tracking studies, usability lab studies, and customer feedback. For instance, the iconic eye-tracking study “F-Shaped Pattern For Reading Web Content” by NN Group delivered highly actionable insights on web user behavior. The study concluded that the gaze of web users travels in an F-shaped pattern.

F-shaped reading pattern to uncover User experience insights
Eye-tracking study that reveals the F-shaped reading pattern of web users

Based on this study, a CRO team could build a hypothesis that “placing critical elements of a website on the left side would lead to higher engagement and conversions.”

Similarly, CRO teams can take help of website surveys to gather user feedback and create hypotheses based on what users want.

A/B tests run on ideas that are generated from UX research methods have a higher chance of delivering results than tests based on a spray and pray approach.

CRO Team Prioritizes Major Issues

The approach to UX allows a CRO team to focus on areas that have a profound impact on the conversions on a website. The team can also treat this as one of the factors while prioritizing multiple testing hypotheses.

Sure, optimizing an element such as an add-to-cart button on an eCommerce product page can increase conversions. But you should make sure that if there is a bigger issue, it needs to be addressed first. What if the product page requires larger product images? Or what if the home page doesn’t lead a sufficient number of visitors to the product page and it’s the home page that needs optimization.

Kuba Koziej, CEO and Co-founder at Uptowork, explains how the UX approach helped him in conversion optimization:

CRO is all about user experience. Personally, I have never been able to make a huge impact by making changes that were only visual by nature.

You can increase sign-ups by tweaking your copy or “making a bigger promise.” But you will never be able to make a significant impact if user experience is not your primary focus.

We recently restructured the sign-up process for our “resume builder” web app. Originally, the user was asked to sign up at the beginning of the process. We spent some time tweaking the sign-up form; we tried a modal window, welcome screen, and other similar features. The results were modest. But that was until we focused on user experience.

Before getting personal information from the users, we provided them with something —the fun part. Users could customize their resume by choosing the template and color from a range of choices. Moving these two steps to the beginning of the funnel increased our sign-ups by over 90% and the sales went up by 17%.”

CRO Team Understands the User Journey

UX is not just about improving the usability of web pages but of the entire path that users take to reach the goal on a website—the user journey.

The UX approach involves recognizing various user journey paths, or conversion funnels, available on a website. The next step is analyzing how users navigate through these paths. This helps a CRO team identify friction-areas and exit points across user journey paths on a website.

The friction often exists on certain pages because users do not find what they expect. Consider a travel website for example: When users search for hotel rooms and encounter high prices and low vacancy across all hotels, there exists friction. A CRO team could recognize this and build hypotheses aimed at removing (or at least reducing) the friction. Travelocity, for instance, gets around this issue by offering a helpful suggestion to users right on the search results page.

Improving user experience on Travel website (CRO)

Similar to the above example, CRO teams can study user journey paths and build hypotheses to eliminate friction points. The hypotheses should be built considering users’ anticipations and what motivates them.

Of course, the hypotheses then need to be put to test through A/B testing.

CRO Makes UX Team More Effective

CRO can help UX teams do better user behavior research and validate their ideas.

UX Team Gets Useful Tools

UX teams have traditionally carried out research on user behavior through a certain set of tools. (A few of them have been mentioned earlier in this post.) An elaborate list of such tools has been compiled by the NN Group.

User experience research methods

Interestingly, with the advent of CRO, numerous other user behavior research tools have surfaced. These tools have found their place in the suite of CRO tools and can be effectively used by UX teams as well.

Some of the tools worth mentioning are visitor recordings, form analysis, and website funnels.

Visitor recordings, for instance, let you playback sessions of users on a website. When compared with usability lab studies, visitor recordings help you monitor behaviors of users on a website who have a higher probability of converting as customers. Here is a sample user session captured using VWO:

Form Analysis, on the other hand, lets you analyze how users interact with your web forms. You can monitor and compare how each form-field performs. You can identify the form fields that create maximum friction for users. With the “refill-rate” of a form field, you can realize if it is confusing the users. The “drop-rate” would let you highlight the exit point on the form.

Example of form analysis by VWO (CRO)
Example of form analysis using VWO

UX Teams Can Validate Their Ideas

When a UX team has ideas to improve the usability of a website, how does the team know if the ideas would work? One way is to conduct usability testing on the newer version of the website. The other is A/B Testing.

A/B testing lies at the heart of CRO, but it also proves to be an effective tool for validating UX  ideas. A/B testing helps UX teams understand how users respond to website changes. Whether it is a winning A/B test or a failed one, it always leads to insights on user behavior.

Furthermore, a UX team can take help from the CRO team to know about past A/B tests. Results from past A/B tests can prove to be a gold mine of insights on the user behavior on a website. Additionally, UX teams can also avoid creating ideas that have already been tested by CRO teams.

CRO and UX Teams Need to Work in a Collaborative Manner

It is an ideal situation when both CRO and UX teams assist each other and share their learning.

Kieron Woodhouse, head of UX at MVF, adds to this:
“UX and CRO are intrinsically linked. As both disciplines grow in breadth, it is impossible to champion one over the other. Instead of making one a part of the other, the best approach is to have an open dialogue among teams and ensure that each department is learning from the other all the time and passing on learning and new developments. At MVF, our teams have open Slack channels to discuss findings as they go and UX and CRO are very much seen as complementary disciplines which work together to get the most out of each other’s expertise.”

Kieron shared five tips on how a UX team can maintain synergy with a CRO team in his post “The Importance of CRO as a Research and Validation Tool to UX”:

  1. Become a part of each other’s processes and share knowledge regularly.
  2. Learn how to read CRO data and results.
  3. Use this data to enhance your designs and proposals.
  4. Stay away from universal “best practices.”
  5. Base your UX spec on a hypothesis-driven process.

What Do You Think?

How closely do the CRO and UX teams work in your organization? Would you like to add anything to this post? Please use the comments section below.

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Why CRO and UX Are a Match Made in Heaven

Useful Tips To Get Started With WordPress Hooks


Even though hooks in WordPress are amazing and everyone uses them knowingly or unknowingly, I get the impression that some advanced users and especially front-end developers still seem to avoid them. If you feel like you’ve been holding back on hooks, too, then this article will get you started. I am also going to reveal some interesting details to anyone who thinks they are familiar enough with hooks.

Hooks in WordPress

You’ll want to read this article especially if you’d like to: understand code snippets with hooks such as those found in forums, extend WordPress, plugins and themes without breaking updates, learn how to avoid common problems, allow others to extend your code.

The post Useful Tips To Get Started With WordPress Hooks appeared first on Smashing Magazine.

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Useful Tips To Get Started With WordPress Hooks

Website Layout Tools Compared: Flexbox Vs. Susy


Flexbox has become one of the most popular tools for creating website layouts. Susy is another layout tool that has gained popularity with the Sass community over the last few years.

Website Layout Tools Compared: Flexbox Vs. Susy

Many developers I’ve spoken with are unsure which tool is best for creating layouts for their websites. Some feel that flexbox is powerful enough to handle all of their layout problems. However, they are unsure whether to learn it because of its confusing syntax. Others feel that Susy is much simpler and prefer its simplicity to flexbox.

The post Website Layout Tools Compared: Flexbox Vs. Susy appeared first on Smashing Magazine.

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Website Layout Tools Compared: Flexbox Vs. Susy