Many companies are failing to take basic steps which could help them improve their online conversion rates and boost business performance, according to research by Econsultancy and RedEye published today.

Despite the recession, 70% of client-side respondents said conversion rates had improved in the last 12 months.

But the Conversion Report also found that a significant proportion of digital marketers (39%) are dissatisfied with their conversion rates and only a quarter of responding companies say they are satisfied.

Many companies are neglecting to carry out regular tests on their website and are failing to segment their customers, both of which correlate strongly with improved performance.

The research also found that those who have a structured approach to conversion, and at least one person directly responsible for this, are more likely to have improved conversion rates in the last 12 months.

The research, based on an Econsultancy survey of more than 700 digital marketers carried out in July and August 2009, looks at types of conversion and measurement used, as well as tools, strategies and processes employed for improving conversion rates.

The report also examines different areas of best practice and identifies which techniques and methods are most valuable for improving conversion rates.

Key survey findings:

-) Organisations whose online conversion performance had improved over the previous 12 months looked at twice the number of segments as those organisations whose online conversion rates have not improved.

-) The main types of segmentation carried out are: demographic (39%) geographic (36%) and behavioural (33%). Thirteen per cent of companies do not segment at all.

-) Company respondents who said they were very satisfied with their conversion rates carried out more than four times as many tests per month on their web properties as those who were very dissatisfied with their conversion rates.

-) Only 32% of company respondents said that they were doing A/B testing even though 53% said it was “highly valuable” and a further 42% said they believed it was “quite valuable”. A/B testing is the method which is most likely to be on the agenda, with 46% of company respondents saying that they are planning to do this.

-) Similarly, other methods including multivariate testing, user testing and cart abandonment analysis are widely regarded as valuable, but under employed by responding organisations.

-) The four practices most closely correlated with high levels of satisfaction with conversion rates are:
– Removing bottlenecks and blockages to conversion
– Identifying key performance indicators
– Aligning keywords, calls to action and landing pages
– Using compelling and effective calls to action

Linus Gregoriadis, Research Director at Econsultancy, said: “Conversion rates are hindered by a lack of ownership. If an organisation has someone directly responsible for conversion they are more than twice as likely to have experienced improved conversion rates in the last 12 months. Yet 40% of client side companies said they didn’t have anyone directly responsible for conversion.”

Mark Patron, CEO of conversion specialists RedEye, said: “We find improving conversion by 10% can be a lot cheaper than spending 10% more with Google, but it is more complex, hence the need for this research. Based on UK online retail sales a 10% improvement would be worth over £4 billion.

"Companies’ lack of resources is cited in the report as the biggest barrier to improving conversion. This report shows how to prioritise that scarce resource to get the biggest bang for your buck.”

Other findings:

-) Customer journey analysis (48%) is the most widely used method for improving conversion rates, and 96% of company respondents said they felt this was valuable. Yet only 14% said they did it well.

-) Looking at the impact of different types of technology, web analytics play the biggest role in improving conversion rates, with 80% of respondents saying that this has a positive impact on conversion rates. Similarly, the majority of respondents say that their email platforms, paid search bid management tools, MVT systems and ratings & reviews technologies have a positive impact on conversion.

-) The technologies which are most likely to have a negative impact on conversion rates are content management systems (24%), on-site search (23%) and e-commerce platforms (22%). Supply-side respondents also flag up CMS and e-commerce as problem areas.

The full Econsultancy / RedEye Conversion Report is available for download here:

http://econsultancy.com/reports/conversion-report

Journalists and bloggers can email or call Linus Gregoriadis for a complementary copy of the report and / or further information.

Email: linus AT econsultancy.com
Tel: + 44 (0) 207 269 1465

About Econsultancy

Econsultancy is the leading source of independent advice and insight on digital marketing and e-commerce. Our reports, events, online resources and training programmes help a community of over 80,000 registered marketers make better decisions, build business cases, find the best suppliers, look smart in meetings and accelerate their careers.

Join Econsultancy today to learn what’s happening in digital marketing – and what works.

Call us to find out more on +44 (0)20 7269 1450 or contact us online.

http://econsultancy.com

About RedEye

RedEye was established in 1997 and clients include William Hill, Butlins and Monarch Airlines.

RedEye helps clients improve conversion by offering an integrated service of web analytics, email marketing and website usability.

Using a unique concept of online behavioural marketing and analysis RedEye helps clients gain competitive advantage from a deeper understanding of user needs and activities.

To find out more about RedEye please call 0845 094 1114 or visit www.redeye.com

Published on: 2:10PM on 8th October 2009