Conversion Rate Optimisation (or CRO) is often shorthand for ‘why have our sales dropped off a cliff’ or ‘why am I spending all this money and not seeing any return’? In short a website that converts in an age where the web is ubiquitous and each and every brand has a digital presence is essential. There are a myriad of tools out there to let you know if a website converts or not but, let’s be honest if the phone isn’t ringing or your email inbox isn’t pinging you know you have a problem right? So here are our thoughts on CRO trends to take notice of this year.
The intersection of SEO, CRO and UX
We predict we’ll see SEO, CRO and UX becoming ever more intertwined, I guess the layman might simply call it ‘web design’. UX research will uncover insights about potential customers that will influence design. But, what you may not know is that UX has now become a ranking factor in how Google rank websites in organic SERPS. In short, consider search intent, let’s say a user is searching for van insurance, a website that provides a lightning-fast experience on any device, allows someone to answer all they may need to know and, allow them to buy will have a great chance of appearing higher in organic search. The lead generation aspect of this analogy (or CRO to the layman) will take care of itself. It just makes sense that these digital disciplines become more joined up. After all, 10 years ago, mobile was a separate discipline of digital. Now, mobile is just the internet, as is a television, a watch etc…
Page speed becomes more important
Did you know that 50% of users will bounce if a page doesn’t load in less than 3 seconds? Page load time has been an important ranking factor for Google for some time. But now we know that even milliseconds can make the difference. Many of us (especially if you are a parent) will be familiar with the rage encountered by a child if a digital device doesn’t do what they want straight away. And, here’s our theory, if a user is waiting for a page to load, will that give them a negative impression of your brand? Is it the digital equivalent of waiting to be served in a shop or being 30th in a call queue? We suspect it is (Caveat: This has not been backed up by any empirical research!). But back to CRO, it’s simple really. If someone can’t access your website content, they simply won’t convert. It’s belt and braces stuff really.
Segmentation, segmentation, segmentation
We have seen bigger brands, especially with their social media advertising (Instagram, notably) creating separate Instagram pages to follow for men and women and, by extension, creating different web experiences for different demographics. If you’re interested in reading more around personas we wrote this a couple of years ago but still think it’s as relevant today.
But if you haven’t got the budget of boohoo or H&M how can you optimise for different audience segments? Let’s say you are a niche furniture brand and you know empirically that your entrance pages from Google are your product pages but you have a site-wide banner to a ‘sale’ page and this is where all the conversions happen. So far so good. But, what if you want to capture people higher up the funnel and you have been recently endorsed by a celebrity? An Instagram campaign promoting your brand, product and the endorsement will lend itself perfectly to adjusting your homepage. Your product pages you know convert, this homepage adjustment will allow you to optimise your site for brand affinity. And, as and when the user comes back it will most likely be from a Google search to a product page.
Retarget (but be clever)
Unless you’re Amazon or Asda it is highly unlikely that you will convert a user straight away. In fact, studies show that only 2% of users will convert on a first visit. Retargetting used to be a bit of a blunt instrument (user visits site, show ad of products viewed to a user) and ads would follow you around the web mercilessly. Now brands have become savvier around frequency capping (if someone has seen your ad four times and still not clicked, are they really going to come back?) but in parallel vendors have become more granular in their product offerings. Sure, solutions around basket abandoned products will still be relevant but what about compelling a user to visit based on an offer that’s only available to them? Cross-device targeting now comes is also eminently achievable.
In our experience, there is no silver bullet to this stuff. In our B2B context there are all sorts of drivers to a ‘conversion’ in our case this is an enquiry. What we do is just try and make it as easy as possible for a potential customer to contact us as possible and present all the reasons why they should choose us over a competitor but this is probably true in any industry. So, in summary:
- Don’t silo your UX, SEO and CRO
- Provide a web experience fit for the 21st century (quick and optimised for all devices)
- Segment based on personas if you can
- Retarget but don’t spam