For ten years now, Econsultancy has released the Conversation Rate Optimization Report in association with Red Eye. It has consistently delved into the types of conversion strategies and tactics used by organisations, as well as the tools and processes employed for improving conversion rates.

This year’s report (now simply called the Optimization Report, and sponsored by Red Eye Optimisation) is designed to paint a more current picture of the industry. More specifically: where modern-day optimization should consider the digital customer experience as a whole, and not just the web interaction.

So, how are organisations approaching CRO in this context? Subscribers can download the report in full, but in the meantime, here are a few key takeaways.

Nearly two-thirds of client-side companies lack a structured approach

Before we begin – a bit of housekeeping. This year’s report uses the Optimization Maturity Model, highlighting the different stages of CRO maturity, including ‘foundation’, ‘intermediate’ and ‘expert’.

It has also identified ‘high performers’ – companies that have enjoyed an improvement of 6% or more in their primary optimization-related success metric over the last 12 months.

This year’s survey – which involved more than 450 companies – found that 37% of client-side companies have a structured approach to optimization. A prominent theme of many CRO reports in the past has been structure and how it is a key component of success. This is because companies that do not have a structured approach or integrated ‘optimization culture’ tend to lack support and investment from the top.

The 2018 Optimization Report, in association with RedEye

While the 37% figure is an improvement on findings from previous Econsultancy Conversion Rate Optimization Reports, it still leaves a clear majority of companies who lack a structured approach.

Furthermore, this year’s survey found that high performers are almost twice as likely as their mainstream counterparts to have a structured approach to optimization – 52% versus 28% among client-side respondents.

This should be food for thought for the 63% of companies that are still lagging behind.

Nearly half also failing to define metrics

Part of a structured approach means having a set of timely and relevant metrics that are consistent with the company’s strategy as a whole.

Unsurprisingly, given the aforementioned 63% of companies who lack a structured approach, a large percentage are still failing to create a coordinated set of metrics too.

41% of company respondents state that they ‘do not have clear and defined metrics for their optimization strategy’. Interestingly, a further 29% have ‘clear and defined’ metrics in use by the optimization team, but these are not necessarily the same means of measurement that are employed by the ‘wider business’.

According to Jessica Hayes, Head of Customer Optimization at The Guardian, these siloes are particularly dangerous, potentially leading to a ‘misalignment’ whereby priorities clash or differ among teams and departments. Again, this goes back to the importance of having a structured approach, as the joining up of optimization metrics will naturally occur as a result.

According to this year’s data, those with a structured approach are three and-a-half times more likely than those with a non-structured approach to have set metrics in line with company-wide and recognised business objectives.

CRO metrics

Personalization bounces back

Another common challenge for optimization teams is being able to access behavioural data in real-time, in order to deliver relevant personalization. However, this kind of data is often siloed within multiple systems and departments, as well as hampered by a lack of skill and resource.

The good news is that the majority of companies see the opportunities afforded by personalization, with 71% of company-side executives now reporting that they are engaged in the practice.

While this does mean 29% are still not undertaking any form of personalization, the percentage has recovered from a significant dip, rising from 62% in 2017.

12 stats that prove why personalisation is so important

personalization CRO

When it comes to the channels most commonly used for personalization, 78% of company respondents say they have engaged in email personalization – a fact that highlights email’s relative ease and accessibility.

In contrast, channels including mobile messaging, apps, and digital advertising continue to see much lower levels of personalization, at 20% or less.

You’ll find more on this in the full report, plus other survey data including which categories are being used for personalization, and how optimization teams are set up within wider organisations.

Plus, take Econsultancy’s Quick Course in Conversion Rate Optimization to test your knowledge.