Conversion Rate Optimization - CRO
CRO is a set of techniques & practices whose purpose is to improve and increase the number of users who perform a purchase on a website.
CRO is relevant to every type of website - not just ecommerce, because every site and app has some purpose, and CRO helps you reach your goal of improving conversion rate.
If a certain amount of users perform the same goal or do the same action that you want, with CRO you can increase that to 2 or 3 times more.
So CRO is the most important thing you can do to improve the performance of your site or app.
The 3 Stages of CRO
There is the acquisition phase - the so-called "customer acquisition", which is mainly the media, where we submit ads to our user - on Facebook, Google, Taboola and Outbrain. Through them, we bring the user to our website. Unfortunately, most companies today invest almost the entire budget in the acquisition phase by bringing the user in, but don't optimize any further.
The second stage is the conversion stage, where the user is on our website, and we need to get him to do the same action we want - purchasing a product, signing up for a service, filling out a form, or clicking on a link.
The third stage is the "retarget" stage - this is the stage where the user has performed the action once, and we want to get him back to do it again and again.
As we mentioned, most companies today put the bulk of the budget on the acquisition phase (bringing traffic to the website), do not invest enough in the conversion phase (CRO) and only some invest seriously in the retarget phase through marketing systems automation, content strategy, email marketing, SMS marketing, push notification and other retention means.
Keep in mind that the cost of investing in improving your conversion rate will probably be cheaper and more lucrative than investing in media acquisition, because that means working with users who have already interested, as opposed to media, where you compete with other players and Facebook and Google algorithms and capabilities. Your ability to bring about a dramatic improvement in media is relatively low.
You can of course improve the cost of acquiring the customer as well, but certainly not at the same level of improvement as you can improve the conversion rates in CRO (what's more there you have to pay Google and Facebook and in CRO the costs are relatively negligible).
What does CRO consist of and how to approach it
The process of improving the conversion percentage on the site is not a single action. It requires us to perform a consistent and orderly process of tasks in order to identify key problems on the site, perform analysis, prepare hypotheses, perform experiments and finally measure if there is improvement following the process.
As a result, we can repeatedly improve our site or app - even after we have improved the site's performance, we will test more hypotheses, upload more experiments and make more decisions that may lead to improved sales and conversion.
As you can see the process is logical and cyclical, but there are countless components that require consideration when we approach improving digital property. We can not go into all the components here, but let's talk about the main and simple ones:
UX - the user experience on the site
Remember! Beautiful design does not necessarily improve conversion rates - but experience does.
In the world we live in today, time has enormous significance - any delay can cause frustration in the user and cause him to leave and move to a competitor.
It is therefore important to perform comprehensive optimization of our property in order to identify interface points that detract from the user experience with them.
Examples of elements that affect the user experience on the site:
- Fast loading times
- Ease of use of the site on mobile
- How to arrange the text on the page (spaces, font size, font type, line breaks, paragraph breaks, highlights and more)
- The size of the buttons in the menu
- Site orientation
- Convenient and efficient filling of forms
- Unclear images and text
- Popups' appearance rate
- Non-intuitive check-out processes
- More UX and UI tips and mistakes that are important to avoid
It's widely known, that Google gives much importance to the user experience on the site to which it directs traffic through organic and sponsored results.
After all, the performance of the website, app or landing page affects, among other things, the ranking of search terms and ads, since Google strives to put in prominent places the properties that will probably serve the users in a way that is good and fast.
Therefore, performance such as site load time, quality of valuable content, security, accessibility, fewer errors and bugs - all of these are examples of technical issues that affect the experience of users on the site.
Examples of topics that are important to check in terms of site performance:
- Loading time of the site pages (it is recommended to focus on the main pages)
- Security and use of a valid SSL certificate
- Website compatibility for mobile (Responsive Design)
- Level of technical optimization of SEO on the site
- Validation tests for forms
A / B Testing
The purpose of the A / B Testing experiments is to see how at important junctions in the user's journey, changes may affect the way the user's cognitive decision - making and thus lead him to the destination we want him to reach.
In the experiments we can test several options of page or element display for users and measure which version succeeds in achieving the best performance (relative to the control group - the original version).
We will strive to implement the winning version on the site where it exists.
A free and convenient tool for performing A / B testing is Google Optimize.
Examples of experiments that can be performed using A / B Testing:
- Color change of action button
- Micro-copy change (text on top of a button) in the action button
Long page versus short page
- Versions of images (e.g. image of a man or woman, an image of a product or an image of something using it etc)
- Page structure
- Form length for filling in details
- Product prices
Beyond the ongoing reports and analytics, it is very important to dig into the data we have on hand and ask ourselves poignant questions about the data and about our website.
Examining and cross-referencing parameters in the analytics account can lead to very interesting insights. Problems can be identified and can be solved quickly, immediately seeing improvement.
Examples of issues that may be floating in the analytics reports:
- Abandonment and conversion rate at different screen resolutions
- Abandonment and conversion rates in the various operating systems
- Cross devices report with a tendency to switch from mobile to desktop
- Scope of internal search engine searches on the site
- The effect of page load times on their abandonment rate
- Cross-referencing sessions with a high conversion rate to organic Google search terms
Unlike technical testing or UI-UX testing on the site or app, usability tests have one clear purpose - to understand what our user is experiencing in our digital asset.
It is recommended to perform useful tests in 2 parallel processes - the first by implementing heat mapping systems and recording user behavior, and the second by performing useful tests independently (or by a user on our behalf) based on pre-written scenarios (Inlook is the perfect tool for this).
Examples of findings that may come up in useful tests:
- Clicks on objects on the page that do not respond (we like to call them dead clicks)
- Pause of filling out a form due to a specific field (bug, psychological block, re-validation alert, etc.)
- Difficulty navigating the site
- Page scrolling depth
- Important elements below the Fold line (outside the initial frame of the screen)
- Important content on a page that does not attract enough attention (no mouse movements around it)
Small Changes lead to Big Improvements
Just to understand how small changes can lead to big improvements, here are some interesting facts:
- The average conversion rate on ecommerce sites worldwide is 1% -2%
- 37% of abandonments on ecommerce sites occur due to a requirement to create an account
- 28% of abandonment sites on ecommerce sites are due to a lengthy check-out process
- Combining a video may increase the conversion rate per page by about 80%
- A 1-second delay in loading a page reduces its conversion rate by 7%
- 4 seconds is the average time for a first impression of a surfer who comes to the site, if you missed this window of opportunity - you lost the surfer
- Good form optimization may increase its conversion rate by about 25%
Improving website conversion rates is a significant step towards the business success of your property.
Invest in it and nurture not only the look of the site, app or landing page, but most of all the user experience and its drive to the destination you want it to reach.
For this, it is important to study, research, analyze, try and apply something different in your site each time, and you will be surprised to find out what great improvements can be made with small changes.