Research Suggests Sticking to 1 or 2 Conversion Rate Optimization Methods Might Be Too Complacent

October 23, 2017

This article is included in these additional categories:

Analytics, Automated & MarTech | Customer-Centric | Digital | Personalization

Most company marketers around the world continue to be believe that conversion rate optimization is either crucial (50%) or important (38%) to their overall digital marketing strategy, according to the 9th annual Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) report [download page] from Econsultancy and RedEye. But while most are seeing improvements, a greater number are dissatisfied (37%) than satisfied (28%) with their conversion rates.

Most Popular CRO Methods

This year A/B testing (60%) is the method most broadly used by in-house marketers once again, with copy optimization (59%) and online surveys and customer feedback (58%) closely following.

Marketers are also trying out a range of other methods, from customer journey analysis (55%) to usability testing (47%), multivariate testing (32%), expert usability reviews (26%) and website personalization (23%).

There seems to be a strong inclination for marketers to experiment with website personalization: while just 23% are currently using this method, another 59% are planning to use it. Even so, this was the method planned for use by the most marketers last year also, and there appears to have been no change in adoption since then.

That may be due to the difficulty of implementing website personalization: fully 35% reported it to be “very difficult” – which was double the share of company marketers identifying the next-most challenging (segmentation) as “very difficult.”

By comparison, just 8% find A/B testing – the most popular method – to be “very difficult” to implement.

Marketers Implementing More Than 3 Methods Are Finding More Success

There appears to be a correlation between the number of methods used and CRO success. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the relationship is causal, though – organizations using more methods may simply be more sophisticated or focused on CRO than those using fewer, and thus more likely to report greater satisfaction.

Nevertheless, the differences are worth noting: among those using 1-2 methods, just 38% are seeing improvements in their conversion rates, and only 18% are satisfied with those rates.

Marketers using at least 9 methods, however, are more than twice as likely to be reporting improvements (80%) and satisfaction (44%) with their conversion rates.

Looking specifically at A/B testing and website personalization (the most- and least-used methods, respectively), the report finds that 84% of those using both are reporting improvements in conversion rates, versus 56% who are using neither.

A/B Testing Considered the Most Valuable

If organizations are to stick to 1-2 methods only, A/B testing looks as though it should be a core part of the strategy. Some 72% of client-side respondents said that A/B testing is highly valuable for improving conversion rates. That was well ahead of the next-placed methods, customer journey analysis (58%), usability testing (57%) and segmentation (56%).

Perceptions of A/B testing’s value seem to have rebounded from last year, when slightly more pointed to customer journey analysis as being highly valuable.

Marketers this year are also more likely to be seeing usability testing as highly valuable, while perceptions surrounding the value of website personalization and event-triggered / behavioral email seem to have dipped.

The More Tests the Better?

As with the number of CRO methods used, volume may lead to more success with testing, per the report. Those companies running tests frequently are more likely than those rarely running tests to report improvements in conversion rates (83% and 70%, respectively) and satisfaction with their rates (41% and 24%, respectively).

On average, half of client-side respondents run 1 (26%) or 2 (24%) tests a month, though the largest share (29%) run 3-5 per month.

Short on ideas for testing? Analytics is proving to be an ever-greater source: 77% this year are turning to their analytics for inspiration, up from 67% in 2014.

More marketers this year are also getting ideas for testing from user research (62%, up from 57% in 2014) and competitor website analysis (59%, up from 54%).

Marketers have their homework cut out for them, it seems…

About the Data: The results are based on a survey of more than 800 respondents, two-thirds of whom work for client-side organizations and the remaining third on the supply side (vendors, agencies or consultants). Some 76% of client-side respondents are based in the UK (60%) or Europe (non-UK; 16%), and 64% come from companies with at least £10 million in annual revenues.

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