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Guides & Advice

What is Conversion rate optimisation?

By Chris Worthington / March 14th 2017

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You may be aware of conversion rate optimisation (CRO) or you might be wondering what it is, how it works and how it can benefit your business. So, we sat down with our CRO team to answer some key questions about what conversion rate optimisation is all about.

Essentially, CRO is a process of understanding your website, its users and how they convert. Identifying what’s working, what isn’t, then testing it. This can help increase the chances of visitors to the site completing certain goals and turning more visitors into customers. CRO is an iterative process as there’s always the potential for improvement and adaptation.

What is involved in the CRO process?

CRO takes places over two distinct stages; a discovery phase based on gathering information and an experiment phase when tests are carried out.

The discovery phase involves researching a business, its customers, objectives and its competitors. This can involve a range of methods including surveys, user feedback, simulations, screen recordings and delving into analytics.

The second phase is experimenting, using the information gained during the discovery phase to create hypotheses and generate experiments which are designed, built and carried out to find the best iteration of a page element, a sole page or an entire website for conversion.

The process boils down to essentially always asking why. Why something worked, why something didn’t, then acting upon it.

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What effect can CRO have on my business?

CRO can help you to understand where a site could be losing potential revenue. We look at where revenue and sales are dropping off to calculate a projection of revenue a site is losing, and conversely what revenue a site could stand to gain through being better optimised.

Ideally CRO will generate more leads, more conversions and more revenue for a business. It can also give you a better insight and understanding of your customers, helping you to tailor your site to them and appeal to your customers more directly.

This doesn’t just apply to e-commerce sites. Understanding your customers and changing the way your site operates to better appeal to visitors is universally beneficial. It can also help to generate long term ROI by ensuring your site works at its most efficient.

Our website’s conversion rates are already high – do we need to bother with CRO?

CRO isn’t just necessarily about conversion – while this is important there’s also a large emphasis on understanding how a site works. If your conversion rate is always high, it’s worth understanding why this is to see if this can be improved further or to work out what needs to be done to maintain that level of success.

There’s always room to make a site better, and while there might be some trepidation about risking a successful site with testing, there’s limited risk due to being able to test based on a percentage amounts of users. For example, 90% of users will see the existing converting site while 10% will see the new area being tested, allowing you to experiment and still maintain a healthy level of traffic to the existing website.

How will CRO affect our SEO & PPC strategies?

CRO is often self-contained; it focuses on the variables it is currently testing and analysing.

In theory, this means it won’t necessarily impact on strategies for SEO and PPC. However, that isn’t to say that if your PPC and SEO are working well and helping to drive more traffic to your website, that CRO can’t help improve the number of conversions that increased traffic could bring. So whilst it doesn’t influence the strategies, it could help make them even more effective, by multiplying the effect both SEO and PPC have to improve the ROI delivered.

Our website is relatively new, surely it’s performing as well as it can right now?

Not necessarily. With a new site, you don’t necessarily know how users will respond to it, and you can never 100% guarantee that it will convert well right away. It’s worthwhile monitoring a new site to see how it converts. This way you can identify and address any issues early and create any tests on the site to improve conversions as soon as possible.

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Lots of agencies now offer CRO as a service – what should I be looking for when selecting an agency?

Conversion rate optimisation is a key factor in many online strategies. Look for an agency with expertise and CRO specialists who ask questions, rather than just resorting to technical best-practice. Having a clear process that allows for a CRO strategy to adapt to each individual site and situation should be key.

Agencies offering CRO should always look to improve. This means they should acknowledge and learn from their failures, just as much as their successes. Also look for agencies that focus on real data. Simulations and artificial scenarios have their place but real data is crucial.

Is it best to work with a dedicated CRO specialist or a digital agency that offers CRO as one of their services?

Both have their strengths and weaknesses. A dedicated agency may be more highly specialised, however they will only deal with CRO, whereas working with a multi-faceted agency gives you access to other services. And, as mentioned before, other areas such as SEO and PPC can see benefits from CRO. Analysis and deeper understanding of an audience can always prove beneficial to other areas of marketing, especially when it comes to strategising and long term planning.

We’d love to explore how our conversion optimisation strategies could deliver results for your business. To arrange a brief telephone conversation with one of our team call 0844 755 0350 or get in touch to find out more.