Today sees the release of Econsultancy’s sixth Conversion Rate Optimization Report, in association with RedEye.

The report looks at the types of conversion strategies and tactics organizations are using, in addition to the tools and processes employed for improving conversion rates. 

It is based on an online survey of over 1,100 client-side and supply-side digital marketers and ecommerce professionals, the highest number of respondents in the survey’s history. 

Here are four findings from the report.... 

Dissatisfaction with conversion rates

The vast majority (89%) of companies see CRO as ‘crucial’ or ‘important’ to their overall digital marketing strategy, and conversion rates have increased for 72% of respondents. 

However, none of the companies surveyed indicating they’re ‘very satisfied’ with conversion rates, while less than a quarter (22%) say they are ‘quite satisfied’, a 15% decrease compared to 2013.

Q: How satisfied are you with your conversion rates?

This does not mean that companies are performing badly though, as Dr Karl Banks, Chairman and Co-Founder of Conversion Rate Experts explains:

36% of respondents were ‘quite dissatisfied’ or ‘very dissatisfied’ with their conversion rates. But don’t make the mistake of thinking that these companies are under-performing. In our experience, some of our most successful clients are highly sophisticated but ravenously hungry for more.

Using a range of CRO methods increases conversions

Using a range of methods was a common factor in those that have recorded improvements in conversion rates. 

  • Companies that are improving their conversions typically use 35% more methods than their counterparts who are not seeing conversion rates change positively. 
  • 95% of companies who used customer journey analysis, copy optimization and segmentation saw an improvement in their website conversion compared to an average of 72%.
  • Further analysis shows that companies with significant increases in sales are completing 6.45 A/B and multivariate tests a month, in comparison to the 2.42 test average among those whose sales are decreasing.
  • While most companies are using A/B testing as part of their optimization strategies, only 30% are using multivariate testing, despite it being among the most valuable methods.

Most effective techniques for improving conversion rates

Respondents were asked for the most effective methods fro improving conversion rates, offering a variety of examples.

A large proportion put forth A/B testing, while others mentioned the impact of website / landing page redesign and customer journey analysis as key catalysts to improved conversion rates.

Q: What has been the single most effective thing you / your clients have done to improve conversion rates?

Where do companies find ideas for testing? 

Analytics is the most common source of inspiration, with 67% deriving testing ideas from this data. 

This is followed by employee suggestions (58%), user research (57%) and articles / whitepapers / industry blogs (55%). 

Q: Where do you get your ideas for testing?

According to Tai Rattigan, Head of Partnerships EMEA at Optimizely: 

It’s brilliant to see such an increase in employee suggestions as a source of testing ideas. Successfully growing a culture of data-driven decision making within a company starts with involving stakeholders throughout the business in planning and the work being done on a daily basis. 

An excellent example I’ve seen of a company making feedback like this part of their cultural DNA is Schuh. They give their customer service team the ability to mock up test ideas and provide suggestions based upon customer conversations they’ve had, meaning that fresh client feedback is always helping to drive their online strategy.

Graham Charlton

Published 20 November, 2014 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

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Comments (3)

Paul Rouke

Paul Rouke, Founder & CEO at PRWD

One very interesting and positive trend I can see when comparing insights from 2013 to 2014 is the big increase in businesses developing test ideas from previous A/B or multivariate tests. This tells me 3 things:

1) more businesses are conducting tests with a solid hypothesis that will lead to genuine learnings

2) more businesses are realising the opportunities to build on completed tests rather than finishing a test and moving on to the next big thing

3) more businesses are seeing data driven testing and optimisation as the growth lever it can be, rather than testing being a vanity exercise about how many tests they can run in a month.

Very often we find when we start working with businesses that if they have been testing previously, or even if they have a testing strategy, identifying valuable and re-usable learnings from completed tests isn't really being done - but doing this is crucial to developing a genuine, integral optimisation strategy.

At the top of food chain are those few elite businesses who are developing actual business and value proposition tests where the results and learnings are helping them to truly grow through optimisation - whilst improving their full customer experience (online and offline) through a deep understanding of their customers and prospects.

over 3 years ago

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Depesh Mandalia, CEO & Founder at SM Commerce

The report for me highlighted an evolvement in the last 12 months with more people testing and focussing on conversion rate optimisation plus using more tools.

Thinking holistically I wonder how much the Google SEO changes have forced companies into CRO as a means of improving performance. The last 2 years have probably been the biggest changes Google have made and forced most companies to rethink parts of their web strategy, in turn pushing more into optimising their sites to also improve their SEO. CRO is not only completely compatible with every other marketing initiative, it enhances each and every one of them.

Think of CRO as the adrenalin shot your marketing channels need!

over 3 years ago

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Tai Rattigan, Head of Partnerships at Optimizely

A couple of other observations I made from this report:

Result - Personalisation will continue to be something people are interested in -

Personalisation has been a hot topic at conferences and meet-ups over the last few years, and this report shows that even more companies are planning to develop personalisation strategies to optimise their customer experience in the coming months. Companies often find the gathering and analysis of customer data, to define segments, a large roadblock in getting off the ground - one way that we’ve tried to make this easier is by building integrations with DMPs like BlueKai and Lotame so that customers can leverage the data they already have today. It’s important to remember that personalisation shouldn’t just be a switch that is turned on, you will need to adjust based upon seasons, business cycles, on-line and off-line marketing campaigns and a myriad of other factors, there is a lot of learning and testing that needs to be done before you can let the machine learning and bandits take over.

Result - Lack of resources main roadblock -

We have seen that a lack of resources is still the biggest barrier to some companies improving conversion rates, as implementing and sustaining a robust optimisation strategy requires a focussed team with clear goals and structured planning. CRO is still new to many businesses and not everyone has the experience and resources to reach their full potential today. I work with a network of industry leading experts that are focussed on helping to build this knowledge in companies, as opposed to the traditional managed service models of the past, these service providers work with the objective of enabling the client to be able to bring their optimisation efforts in-house in the future, whilst still making them successful today. If you're not sure if you have all the bases covered with your existing set up, there are plenty of great resources online for identifying which roles you need in an optimisation team.

Result - Lack of structured approach to testing -

We are still seeing that there is a lack of structure at companies when it comes to conversion optimisation, this can sometimes come down to things that appear simple like workflow, transparent processes and centralised places for storing ideas and results. Internally we use agile methodologies for both our product and testing strategies to help prioritise the work that we do and keep us on track, but it’s all about understanding what works best for you. Arguably one of the most important pieces in having a well structured optimisation plan is understanding all of the factors from a company’s over-arching business strategy that impact the plan's success. The best optimisation teams and Solutions Partners understand that you can’t just be an expert on a particular technology, you have to be an expert on the product, the customer, the ecosystem and anything else that that might influence results and customer behaviour.

over 3 years ago

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