Today sees the release of Econsultancy’s fourth annual Conversion Rate Optimization Report, which looks at the tools, strategies and processes employed for improving conversion rates.

The report, produced in association with RedEye, is based on a survey of 900 client-side and agency digital marketers, carried out in July and August 2012.

From the results, we have identified the five main areas organisations need to concentrate on if they want to improve website conversion and sales…

Clear responsibility for conversion rate optimization (CRO)

Making one person responsible for website conversion, and giving them the authority and accountability to identify areas for improvement and make the necessary changes is the best approach.

In addition, a financial incentive for increased sales helps. Out of those organisations that did incentivise staff, 72% had seen an increase in conversion and sales.

A structured approach

Conversion rate optimization should be an ongoing and structured process, rather than a one-off project. Survey respondents whose companies or clients took a more measured approach to CRO reaped the rewards. 

  • 70% of the company respondents with a structured approach to conversion had improved sales.
  • 24% of the organisations who had a structured approach to improving conversion had a large increase in sales.
  • Just 14% of companies that did not have a structured approach to improving conversion had a large increase in sales.

However, just 27% of companies in our survey said they currently have a structured approach to CRO. 

Does your organisation have a structured approach to improving conversion rates?

Conversion rate optimization


The report found that companies whose conversion had improved used 90% more ways to segment their visitors and customers than companies whose conversion had not improved or had stayed the same.

The survey found that many companies are using more varied methods of segmentation. For example, the proportion of companies using geographic and demographic segmentation has significantly increased over the last 12 months, by 12% and 7% respectively.

In addition, channel segmentation (e.g. social/mobile) is used by over a third of companies surveyed (37%), up from 33% in 2011.

Behavioural segmentation is no longer the most used method of segmenting visitors and customers, with just over half (53%) of organisations using it (down from 60% in 2011). 

In which ways do you segment your visitors and customers?

A/B and multivariate testing

Despite the fact that only 17% of companies use multivariate testing, it has become the most valuable method for improving conversion rates, knocking off A/B testing from the top spot.

63% of organisations surveyed using MVT say that this method is “very valuable”, compared to 51% last year. A/B testing is now the second most valuable method, with just over half (54%) of companies deeming it “very valuable”.

Though multivariate testing produces results, respondents rated this, alongside segmentation, as the most difficult CRO methods to implement. 

Around two-thirds of client-side respondents said it’s difficult to implement multivariate testing (66%) and segmentation (67%).

Usability testing

This is the best way to find out why customers behave the way they do on websites and, according to our company respondents, usability testing is by far the most effective technique for improving conversion rates.

This is also evident from the quantitative analysis, with the vast majority of respondents deeming this technique as highly (47%) or quite valuable (51%). 

The report finds that more companies are responding to the growing use of mobiles and tablets, and have begun to conduct usability testing of their sites using mobiles and tablet devices. However, 55% have yet to do this. 

Have you conducted usability testing of your website using either of the following?