It is now almost a decade since Econsultancy published the first Conversion Rate Optimization Report, in partnership with RedEye Optimisation. Over that period this research has become an important industry resource and bellwether for companies hoping to improve their conversion rates and benchmark their strategies and tactics against other businesses.

This year’s report – rebranded more simply as the Optimization Report and based on a revamped survey – explores similar themes, but takes a more granular look at some specific topics, namely the types of metrics used by companies and the nature of testing and experimentation carried out.

To provide continuity with previous reports, we also look in detail at personalization, the cultural attributes that are necessary for success, and the extent to which companies are investing in conversion rate optimization.

The report is based on a survey of more than 450 companies carried out in July and August 2018, and on further expert input from both brands and consultants. As in previous years, statistical analysis has been carried out to understand what high-performing companies are doing differently from their peers, in order to help companies move along the path to optimization maturity.

Key findings

  • Many companies lack a structured approach to optimization underpinned by clear and defined metrics.

Almost two-thirds (63%) of companies are lacking a structured approach to optimization, despite its importance as a foundation stone for success. More than four in ten (41%) company respondents state that they ‘do not have clear and defined metrics for their optimization strategy’, while a further 29% have clear and defined metrics detached from the wider business.

  • Companies strive for right balance between quantity and quality of tests as part of robust experimentation framework.

More than nine in ten (91%) company respondents expect to increase the number of experiments they run over the coming 12 months. However, almost two-thirds of company respondents say that optimization tests only produce a ‘clear and statistically significant winner’ in 30% of cases or less. Less than a fifth (17%) of company respondents exclusively run experiments that have supporting evidence.

  • Greater uptake of personalization, but companies are using fewer sources of data.

Uptake of personalization by companies has increased gradually over the past few years, up by nine percentage points since 2014 to 71%. Four in five (80%) client-side respondents report an uplift since implementing personalization. Despite the growing uptake of personalization in general, most sources of data are now employed less for related activities than in previous years.

  • Companies must strive for the right organizational setup and culture… and the necessary resources.

Three-quarters (75%) of company respondents believe that consistently sharing results / performance / learnings is crucial to creating a culture of experimentation, but only around half (51%) say they already do this. Fifty-eight percent see a shared optimization roadmap as an important cultural tool, but far fewer companies have implemented one (28%).