4 Ways to Fail at Conversion Rate Optimization
Up until a few years ago, conversion rate optimization (CRO) was a niche skill set. By and large, designers were worried about a website's aesthetics; search experts were concerned about information architecture and keyword targeting; IT was preoccupied with site speed and availability; and chief marketing officers were concerned about the overall brand experience.
For most companies, nobody owned A/B testing, much less multivariate tests. No one owned the iterative usability improvements that lead to increased conversions. No one's head would roll if a form's 18 fields were keeping form completes abysmal.
And then this happened: In 2013, CRO is tied with content marketing as the leading digital marketing priority. This marks a shift in mentality towards marketing accountability. Digital marketers are no longer just ambassadors of the brand, no longer just concerned with visibility; they're co-owners of the bottom line. And while interest in CRO, testing and personalization is rising, most companies are just now learning about the ins and outs of the craft. Unfortunately, some companies may even be blundering their way about, unwittingly jeopardizing their optimization initiatives. Below are four ways to doom your CRO efforts (and your bottom line):
1. Not segmenting enough: Segmentation has always been important — geographic targeting comes to mind as one of the early but useful things to consider — but there's not been as much of it required in the early days. Before 2007, there was no expectation of a reasonably good user experience for mobile phones, so there was hardly any traffic to websites from them. This year, over 18 percent of visitors use some type of mobile device to access e-commerce sites.
Analyzing what visitors do on a website without first segmenting for mobile and desktop traffic is a futile game; the use cases are different enough to keep most observations moot. This, of course, is on top of search keyword segmentation to identify the phase in the buying cycle on your clickstream tool. On top of user tasks when you're collecting voice of customer insights. On top of past behavior when you're using remarketing.
Tim Ash is the author of the bestselling book Landing Page Optimization, and CEO of SiteTuners. A computer scientist and cognitive scientist by education (his PhD studies were in Neural Networks and Artificial Intelligence), Tim has developed an expertise in user-centered design, persuasion and understanding online behavior, and landing page testing. In the mid-1990s he became one of the early pioneers in the discipline of website conversion rate optimization. Over the past 15 years, Tim has helped a number of major US and international brands to develop successful web-based initiatives. Companies like Google, Expedia, Kodak, eHarmony, Facebook, American Express, Canon, Nestle, Symantec, Intuit, AutoDesk and many others have benefitted from Tim's deep understanding and innovative perspective.
Connect with Tim on Google+