tag:econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/conversion-rate-optimization Latest Conversion Rate Optimization content from Econsultancy 2018-06-21T15:49:00+01:00 tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/70113 2018-06-21T15:49:00+01:00 2018-06-21T15:49:00+01:00 Four trends driving conversion rate optimisation (CRO) Jeff Rajeck <p>Because of its importance, Econsultancy has covered CRO extensively over the past few years (with articles from practitioners such as <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/authors/paul-rouke/">Paul Rouke</a>) and has <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/conversion-rate-optimization-report/">published an annual survey and report</a> in assocation with RedEye on the state of the art.</p> <p>Yet as technology develops and customer expectations grow, CRO techniques change as well. So what are the trends which are driving CRO in 2018?</p> <p>To find out, Econsultancy recently held an event in Sydney in association with <a href="https://magento.com/">Magento </a>and <a href="https://ewave.com/">eWave</a> and we asked dozens of client-side marketers to give us an update on how CRO is changing.</p> <p>Table moderators Jake Hird, Consulting Lead (ANZ, SapientRazorfish), Paul-Henri Boudet, Ecommerce Marketing Consultant, and Peter Lines, Digital Director (DBZ) led the discussions, highlights of which are summarized below.</p> <p>For those interested in CRO, Econsultancy will be hosting roundtable discussions on the topic in <a href="https://econsultancy.com/events/the-future-of-ecommerce-engaging-today-s-channel-less-customer-bangkok/">Bangkok on July 10th</a> and in <a href="https://econsultancy.com/events/the-future-of-ecommerce-engaging-today-s-channel-less-customer-mumbai/">Mumbai on July 12th</a>.  Senior client-side marketer interested in joining at these locations should click on the appropriate link and request a seat at the table!</p> <h3>1) CRO practitioners have an expanded role</h3> <p>Some attendees felt that CRO was going 'back to basics' and they were spending their time re-examining standard ecommerce site components such as product titles, content descriptions, and buttons. Others, however, said that because of a trend toward website personalisation, CRO specialists needed to work on optimising the overall customer experience, as well.</p> <p>Supporting this view, several participants indicated that, at their organisations, transactions are no longer the only event considered a conversion because immediate results are 'not necessarily an indicator of long-term value.'</p> <p>As a result, CRO techniques are now being used to optimize 'points of engagement' on websites as well as what is traditionally thought of as a conversion.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/5581/CRO-1.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="533"></p> <h3>2) Data requirements are increasing</h3> <p>One participant described CRO specialists as 'detectives' looking for issues and solutions. Because of this designation, CRO practitioners now need all available customer data to do their job. This includes 1st and 3rd party data as well as customer and industry benchmarks which help them learn from other industries and organisations.</p> <p>Yet CRO specialists still have a specific job to do, another noted, and that is to improve business results on their website. Doing so remains difficult as few companies have the data necessary for a single view of the customer.</p> <p>The main reason why obtaining a single-customer view is still a challenge is that customer data is siloed because of</p> <ul> <li> <strong>Conversion channels</strong> - Marketers lack solutions to sync offline with online data </li> <li> <strong>Technology</strong> - CRO specialists cannot find the right vendor to solve all the business use cases</li> <li> <strong>Business units</strong> - Marketing, customer service and ecommerce teams all have customer data but it isn't always shared with those tasked with CRO.</li> </ul> <p>Attendees were hopeful that artificial intelligence (AI) solutions may eventually help CRO practitioners join up and make sense of the complicated, cross-channel data necessary to do their job.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/5582/CRO-2.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="534"></p> <h3>3) Attribution is still a major problem</h3> <p>Attributing a conversion to marketing channels is a key requirement of CRO, yet most attendees indicated that they were still struggling in this area.</p> <p>Some, who work for pure-play ecommerce companies, indicated that they were making progress with attribution modeling. Others, such as those from omnichannel retailers, said that attribution has become political at their organisations and, as a result, there were different KPIs for online and offline channels.</p> <p>For those focusing on online conversion, last click attribution is still the most widely-used model but attendees agreed that it is not ideal. One participant pointed out that CRO specialists are aware of the limitations of the model (i.e. that it doesn't take into account any of the previous consumer touchpoints), but they are still not sure how to address the issue. </p> <p>B2B marketers indicated that they face additional challenges as they have less data to work with than B2C marketers and that they often suffered from inaccurate data for real-world customer interactions (e.g. sales reps have multiple meetings with one prospect and not properly recording the interactions).</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/5583/CRO-3.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="533"></p> <h3>4) Testing is gaining traction</h3> <p>Participants said that optimising using A/B testing was now very-well understood among CRO practitioners and that it is being used extensively. One outstanding issue, though, is that A/B tests are not always conclusive as the performance of the 'B' variation is often similar to the original 'A'.</p> <p>Others pointed out that their companies lack a unified testing methodology across the business. This has reduced the amount of time, resources and budget allocated for A/B tests and impacted their ability to optimize across the site.</p> <p>Attendees agreed, though, that there have been positive changes at companies with regards to CRO. They indicated that a 'test and learn' approach is now a fundamental part of ecommerce and said that the next step is to extend the optimisation mindset across the rest of the business.</p> <h3>A word of thanks</h3> <p>Econsultancy would like to thank the event sponsors,  <a href="https://magento.com/">Magento </a>and <a href="https://ewave.com/">eWave</a>, our table moderators, Jake Hird, Consulting Lead (ANZ, SapientRazorfish), Paul-Henri Boudet, Ecommerce Marketing Consultant, and Peter Lines, Digital Director (DBZ) for helping with the discussions and the marketers who provided valuable insights into the current state of conversion rate optimisation.</p> <p>We hope to see you all at future Econsultancy events!</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/5584/CRO-4.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="533"></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69812 2018-05-22T09:00:00+01:00 2018-05-22T09:00:00+01:00 A day in the life of... a conversion optimisation lead Ben Davis <p><em>(As ever, remember to check out the <a href="https://jobs.econsultancy.com/?cmpid=EconBlog">Econsultancy jobs board</a>, too)</em></p> <h4> <em>Econsultancy:</em> Please describe your job: What do you do?</h4> <p><em><strong>Laura Robinson:</strong></em> Conversion optimisation is the process of improving a website’s customer experience in order to increase the number of completions of a desired goal. Typical website goals include product sales, newsletter signups and form completions.</p> <p>A fundamental part of this process is <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69760-how-to-stay-safe-when-a-b-testing">A/B testing</a> which involves creating different versions of your site in order to produce the best performer. For example, adding an explainer video on the homepage instead of a static image might be the optimal way to explain what your site offers and thus lead to sales. Tailoring your site towards your consumers’ needs and wants is at the heart of optimisation.</p> <h4> <em>E:</em> Whereabouts do you sit within the organisation? Who do you report to?</h4> <p><em><strong>LR:</strong></em> Leading the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/conversion-rate-optimization-report">CRO</a> efforts at TrueUp means working closely with our in-house designer, developer and account manager to create &amp; execute experiments. Whilst my main focus is converting existing visitors, I work closely with our acquisition team to exchange insights on the best ways to attract those visitors.</p> <p>Knowing which copy, creatives, type of content etc. is driving the best performance means we can understand growth levers from all angles of the company. As we're a small but mighty team of 10, I report directly into our founder Liam Reynolds.</p> <h4> <em>E: </em>What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?</h4> <p><em><strong>LR: </strong></em>Saying that efficacious CRO specialists are 'Jack of all trades' types would be an understatement! Far too often do I see CRO companies isolating data skills as the holy grail of what makes a good specialist. In actual fact, data is just one (albeit very important) piece of the entire puzzle. Data alone won't tell you what motivates your users and what concerns they have about purchasing your product.</p> <p>When data is combined with psychology, empathy and research, this is when you can truly begin to get inside the mind of your potential customers. This may already seem like quite a comprehensive skillset...and it is. However, to really flourish in a CRO role the skills don't end there. Those insights need translating into wireframes, mockups and coded up in order to bring them to life on a site.</p> <p>Not to mention the persuasive copywriting that will entice visitors to click and even purchase if you're doing it right. Throw in technical knowledge, statistics, presentation skills and strategy and you can see why the role attracts the life-long learners...!</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/4599/trueupw.png" alt="laura robinson" width="613" height="307"></p> <h4> <em>E: </em>Tell us about a typical working day…</h4> <p><em><strong>LR: </strong></em>The only constant is starting with a cup of coffee! As TrueUp is an agency agnostic about the industries we work with, my day can be a real assortment of activities. It could start with researching the motivations and concerns of a shed buyer, continue into auditing the analytics account of a tech recruitment fair, followed by analysing test results of a SIM-only mobile company, before meeting with our designer to run through a landing page brief.</p> <p>With multiple clients to serve, it's important to prioritise work (like you would hypotheses) and have a solid understanding of the client's expectations and deadlines. This is how I usually decide what needs doing that day while the rest ends up in the backlog. There's a real emphasis on work/life balance at TrueUp so being organised is key to make sure work doesn't follow you home in the evenings.</p> <h4> <em>E: </em>What do you love about your job? What sucks?</h4> <p><em><strong>LR: </strong></em>Working as part of a team that challenges and educates you everyday is what I love most about working at TrueUp. We all share an eagerness to solve problems for both clients and customers, which leads to positive results all round. The variety of work also ensures that there's never a dull moment.</p> <p>Not to be a clichéd agency pointing the finger at clients but that's exactly what I'm going to do! Like anything, the great clients are fantastic, and the not so great ones aren't! It's slightly soul destroying when in spite of all the evidence and research you provide on why they should make X changes to their site to really boost their sales, and they respond with an irrelevant blog saying that we should copy that instead. That and when they swear at you. Thankfully it's rare but it happens!</p> <h4> <em>E: </em>What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success?</h4> <p><em><strong>LR: </strong></em>My goals can be split into two. Those that are internal within True Up, such as passing the latest exam in a relevant topic, hiring and training new team members and growing existing CRO accounts. Plus those that are external across different client projects, such as increasing site sales and hitting a positive ROI on experiments.</p> <p>Understandably, clients always want to talk in revenue increases so this coupled with AOV and transactions is always a good measure of success.</p> <h4> <em>E: </em>What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done?</h4> <p><em><strong>LR: </strong></em>Are you even working in CRO if you don't love tools? There are a plethora of great tools out there that help with the job and the standouts seem to be changing on a monthly basis. Currently, I'd have to give a shout out to all things Google - they're making it really difficult to venture outside their ecosystem as they offer everything from Analytics, Tag Manager to free A/B testing in Optimize.</p> <p>What's more is that Google is constantly improving and adding to its locker. With the increased attention on slow page load speeds negatively impacting conversions, they even allow you to test your site through Google Pagespeed Insights and point out areas to improve. Hotjar also deserves a mention here for being the swiss army knife of tools covering heatmaps, surveys and onsite recordings.</p> <h4> <em>E: </em>How did you get into this role, and where might you go from here?</h4> <p><em><strong>LR: </strong></em>About three years ago, I knew it was time to switch career when I spent most of my job as a tech recruiter more interested in the work my candidates were doing! Figuring out how to combine my background in psychology with an interest in tech and high-growth startups seemed like an impossible task until I found out about performance marketing. It was a complete light bulb moment when I found out these interests could be nurtured and utilised in a CRO position.</p> <p>Thankfully, TrueUp happened to be looking for a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed marketer at Silicon Milkroundabout (a well known tech recruitment fair) and after meeting Liam there, we immediately clicked. Working my way up from a team of four meant responsibility was fast-tracked and I could specialise early on in CRO. The rest as they say, is history.</p> <h4> <em>E: </em>Which brands do you admire for their UX or approach to testing?</h4> <p><em><strong>LR: </strong></em>When some of the bigger brands like Pinterest and Booking.com bang the drum about the success stories they've had through ongoing and rigorous A/B testing, it always makes me a little bit happier inside. In a lot of instances, optimising their conversion journeys and a 'test everything' approach has led them to exponential growth and as such, to being the major players that they are today.</p> <p>The retailer Arket appear to have heavily invested in their UX skills, too, as their site offers a fairly frictionless and pleasant shopping experience.</p> <h4> <em>E: </em>Do you have any advice for people want to work in conversion for an agency?</h4> <p><em><strong>LR: </strong></em>There's no time like the present! With job demand outweighing the supply of decent candidates, there couldn't be a better time to jump right in. Don't be put off that you haven't mastered all the skills yet, most CRO specialists are <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/reports/how-marketers-learn">continuously learning</a> and have other team members to fill skills gaps.</p> <p>A strong desire to<a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/a-guide-to-customer-experience-management/"> improve a customer's digital experience</a>, curiosity and a willingness to learn will get you far. Find someone you admire in the industry and ask to take them for a coffee while you pick their brains on what a typical day looks like.</p> <p>Working in CRO as part of an agency also has the added challenge of juggling multiple clients and projects but then again nothing fun was ever easy. You'll work across different industries, technologies and teams which means there isn't a one-size fits all solution to solving client’s conversion woes. Most importantly, find a company or agency that suits you as culture is key to being able to perform your job well.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/70028 2018-05-18T08:44:54+01:00 2018-05-18T08:44:54+01:00 Why retailers should create product landing pages for their shoppable social posts Patricio Robles <p>The goal: make it possible for users to more easily obtain information about and purchase products they discover on Instagram.</p> <p>Formats like shoppable posts are obviously attractive for retailers trying to turn their activity on platforms like Instagram into sales, but wise retailers will give thought to the new kind of customer journey these formats create.</p> <p><em>(A quick note that Econsultancy has just refreshed its <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/reports/paid-social-media-advertising-2018">Paid Social Media Advertising Best Practice Guide</a> and subscribers can download it now)</em></p> <h3>Product landing pages versus product pages</h3> <p>For retailers hoping to convert referrals from shoppable formats into sales, it might be worth considering the creating of product landing pages.</p> <p>What is a product landing page? Put simply, it's a product page that, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69612-eight-steps-to-landing-page-success">like a good landing page</a>, is created with the goal of encouraging a user to take a very specific action. In this case, that action is a purchase. </p> <p>To that end, unlike a product page, which uses a standard format and functions within the context of a retailer's broader site, a product landing page can:</p> <ul> <li>Employ a unique design that is intended to wow the shopper and highlight the unique attributes of a single product.</li> <li>Contain content, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66625-shoppable-video-the-missing-piece-of-your-marketing-strategy">such as video</a>, above and beyond what is typically contained on a product page.</li> <li>Offer shoppers the ability to complete the purchase directly on the page through an embedded checkout form.</li> </ul> <p>The rationale for a product landing page versus a product page is that shoppers who are referred through a shoppable format have through their actions expressed a high enough level of interest in a single product to interrupt their social activity to learn more. Therefore it behooves a retailer to do whatever it can, within reason, to convert those shoppers' immediate interest into an impulse purchase.</p> <p>Obviously, for retailers that sell a large number of products, it will not be feasible to create a product landing page for every product. Retailers employing this strategy would need to be strategic about which products make sense to promote via product landing pages tied to shoppable posts.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/4549/shoppable_formats.png" alt="shoppable formats image" width="615"></p> <h3>Won't product landing pages decrease average order values?</h3> <p>In every retailer's ideal world, shoppers referred through shoppable formats would not only have an interest in the product that caught their eye, but after adding said product to cart would also window shop and purchase other products. </p> <p>The product landing page concept is based on the notion that retailers don't live in an ideal world and that, at least in some cases, it would be better to optimize conversions for a single product even if the experience provides less opportunity for shoppers to explore other products.</p> <p>This, however, doesn't mean that retailers adopting this approach wouldn't be able to promote other products. Product landing pages could feature a number of related products and even make it possible for them to be added to an order with a single click (eg. through a checkbox).</p> <p>For retailers to be successful with this, they would need to have identified ideal cross-sells for each product. While many retailers have product pages containing algorithmically-generated related products, some are more accurate and refined than others. For product landing pages, a hands-on curation model might be more appropriate.</p> <h3>The importance of post-purchase experience</h3> <p>In today's highly competitive retail environment, post-purchase experience is increasingly important in establishing some level of loyalty and driving repeat purchases. Post-purchase experience would arguably be even more important with the product landing page approach because the pre-purchase experience would again be optimized for the conversion of a single product.</p> <p>To encourage repeat business from new customers who complete a purchase through a product landing page, retailers would want to be strategic about post-purchase communications. These communications should highlight the retailer's brand and other offerings. Where appropriate, retailers could also use coupon codes and discounts to encourage customers to check out what else they have.</p> <h3>The evolution of shoppable experiences</h3> <p>The way shoppers discover new products and make purchasing decisions is changing. Given the prominence of visual social platforms like Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest, particularly in certain product categories, retailers will need to start thinking about how they take full advantage of shoppable experiences and experimenting with creating new types of customer journeys that are optimized for these experiences.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69948 2018-04-16T10:42:59+01:00 2018-04-16T10:42:59+01:00 'Marginal gains' is dead. Long live strategic marketing. Frederic Kalinke <p>However, Wiggins’s scepticism is more than an egotist’s attempt to claim his rightful share of the credit back from his support staff. “Marginal gains” <em>is</em> a buzz-word; one which chief sports writer for the Independent Jonathan Liew <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/cycling/team-sky-rise-and-fall-sad-parable-human-nature-bradley-wiggins-dave-brailsford-a8247016.html">calls</a> “not simply a natty little tale to spin the papers, but a cultish business credo that its advocates have ruthlessly commodified for personal enrichment.”</p> <p>It both was and is more important to get the fundamentals right.</p> <p>For British Cycling and Team Sky getting the fundamentals right has chiefly meant a funding advantage over their rivals. In marketing though, marginal gains have often been sought through conversion rate optimization (CRO).</p> <p>In its broadest sense, CRO means getting more of the people who visit your website to buy what you are selling. In practice it often means iterating through lots of small to medium-sized changes in order to optimize the entire site.</p> <h3>End of an era</h3> <p>Neatly enough, interest in CRO has grown in tandem with the success of marginal gains at British cycling, beginning in 2008 (the year of the Beijing Olympics). </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/3591/cro_interest_over_time.png" alt="interest in cro over time" width="350"></p> <p>In another coincidence of zeitgeist, 2008 was the year of <a href="https://blog.optimizely.com/2010/11/29/how-obama-raised-60-million-by-running-a-simple-experiment/">the founding myth</a> of one of the biggest and most influential CRO-focussed companies out there, Optimizely. The company was founded in 2010 by two former colleagues at Google. One, Dan Siroker, had been the Director of Analytics on Barack Obama’s victorious campaign for the Presidency of the United States.</p> <p>It would be fatuous to suggest that the end of the era of marginal gains is a death knell for Optimizely. However, in a tacit acceptance of the inefficacy of incrementalism and the “marginal gains” breed of optimization, Optimizely has <a href="https://venturebeat.com/2016/09/15/optimizely-x-launches-so-marketers-can-experiment-everywhere-including-tv/">moved away from the pure-CRO service</a> it once provided (now called Classic) and funnelled resources into a new, broader marketing technology, Optimizely X.</p> <h3>Dare to think</h3> <p>Regardless of whether you think there is something to this zeitgeist or not, marketers would be wise to embrace its spirit. Improving a website’s conversion rate is one of the most important tasks in marketing, but it cannot be achieved by fiddling around the edges. We need to be bolder, daring, and <a href="https://www.marketingweek.com/2018/01/09/mark-ritson-strategic-thinking/">most importantly, thoughtful</a>.</p> <p>Occasionally a case study may trumpet great successes from the manipulation of button colours, but these are invariably <a href="http://kadavy.net/blog/posts/aa-testing/">based on poor quality statistics</a>. In practice, the optimizations that deliver meaningful results are the big ones, such as entirely new customer journeys. (Indeed, advice like this was echoed recently in <a href="https://www.marketingweek.com/2017/08/08/sign-webinar-building-world-class-optimisation-programme/">a Marketing Week webinar</a> conducted by Optimizely, supported by data across experiments on their platform.)</p> <p>Hertz increased enrolment in their gold member loyalty programme by 60% when they experimented with all the pages of the online booking journey rather than making marginal tweaks to landing pages.</p> <p>Trying out a bold new idea might have been described as risky were it not for rigorous A/B testing of the new journey against the old. This also allowed Hertz’s marketers to roll back any changes immediately if they far underperformed the control.</p> <p>60% improvements might be unheard of in top-level sport but in marketing they are there for the taking for those with the confidence to think strategically. </p> <h3>Be strategic</h3> <p>To think in the necessary strategic ways, marketers will need to, as the Met Office’s Head of Digital Marketing, Simon Swan <a href="https://amigotechnology.com/leaders-in-marketing-simon-swan/?ast=BPPPlb">put it</a>, “stop jumping straight into the shiny tactics and start with understanding your audience and what your objective is.” </p> <p>This is about bringing simplicity to something that can be very complex. It is difficult, which might be why marketers (perhaps working too many hours or with too many responsibilities pulling them in different directions) have tended to recoil from it in recent years. </p> <p>Making great leaps forward requires hard thinking, and disciplined testing of your best ideas. It may be tempting to throw 100 variations into a <a href="https://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/30556/the-critical-difference-between-a-b-and-multivariate-tests.aspx">multivariate test</a> and believe that the data can make your mind up for you. It cannot. You will still only be throwing in 100 ideas out of the infinite number of changes you could make to your site, and (<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/feb/05/why-google-engineers-designers">unless you’re Google</a>) you won’t have enough traffic to test them all.</p> <p>One good big idea will always be preferable to 100s of bad or negligible ones.</p> <p>In 2018, marketers ought to do what comes naturally to them, follow the zeitgeist. Stop looking for small wins and incremental improvements. Start thinking, all the way from first principles, about how you can effect a revolution in your customer journey.</p> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/a-guide-to-customer-experience-management/"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/3592/Customer_Experience_Management_Best_Practice_Widget__1_.png" alt="customer experience management best practice guide (subscriber only)" width="615" height="242"></a></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69913 2018-04-01T10:22:46+01:00 2018-04-01T10:22:46+01:00 The best digital marketing stats we’ve seen this week Nikki Gilliland <p>Enjoy, and happy Easter!</p> <h3>Grocery retailers failing on ecommerce UX</h3> <p>From a survey of 2,000 consumers in the UK, France, and Germany, Rich Relevance <a href="https://www.richrelevance.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Grocery-Infographic-Final-UK.pdf" target="_blank">has discovered</a> that there are still barriers preventing people from switching from in-store to online grocery shopping. </p> <p>Despite the fact that 53% of the UK population now buy groceries online – falling to 40% and 32% in France and Germany respectively – consumers expect more from their experience.</p> <p>53% say that they would be happy for their retailer to automatically re-order frequently bought items. Meanwhile, 55% of consumers would like grocery retailers to offer recipe ideas based on what they are adding to their cart.</p> <p>When it comes to consumers that don’t shop for groceries online, 51% say the reason is a lack of trust in retailers picking the freshest produce on their behalf, while 68% say they prefer to physically handle items themselves in-store.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/3253/RichRelevance.JPG" alt="" width="600" height="562"></p> <p><strong>More on grocery retailers:</strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68723-store-locator-tools-which-supermarket-has-the-best-mobile-ux" target="_blank">Store locator tools: Which supermarket has the best mobile UX?</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69071-m-s-to-trial-grocery-delivery-service-will-it-take-off" target="_blank">M&amp;S to trial grocery delivery service: Will it take off?</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69645-10-of-the-best-ad-campaigns-from-the-uk-s-top-supermarkets" target="_blank">10 of the best ad campaigns from the UK’s top supermarkets</a></li> </ul> <h3>US TV ad spend predicted to decline further in 2018</h3> <p>In 2017, TV ad spending dropped 1.5% to $70.22 billion. According to eMarketer’s <a href="https://www.emarketer.com/content/us-tv-ad-spending-to-fall-in-2018" target="_blank">latest forecast</a>, further decline is expected in 2018, with TV ad spend set to drop another 0.5% to reach $69.87.</p> <p>Overall, this will bring TV’s share of ad spend down to less than a third of US ad revenue in 2018.</p> <p>Elsewhere, spend on digital advertising is predicted to surge, growing 18.7% to reach $107.3 billion. eMarketer suggests that OTT (over-the-top) video platforms will play a large part, offering live services that directly compete with television.</p> <h3>Product discovery can increase mobile conversion</h3> <p><a href="https://www.qubit.com/research/mobile-product-discovery-ecommerce-revenue/?utm_campaign=2018-Q1-Mobile-Product-Discovery&amp;utm_source=hs_automation&amp;utm_medium=email&amp;utm_content=61655456&amp;_hsenc=p2ANqtz-_2p48GUzh1xj1WAlyuN_NO_O-k5meaKPxqPYRSaxwFtaVLtY4QjlZ19OiSvio8MldeaixYC4FrZgvoZYXvkuPOy6uLiAX6suF2bSTWzWPmBKWQ6Z8&amp;_hsmi=61655456" target="_blank">A new report</a> by Qubit, which is based on the analysis of 1.2 billion customer interactions, has delved into the causes of low mobile conversion.</p> <p>While the assumption might be that payment methods are the biggest barrier for mobile shoppers, Qubit’s research found that problems tend to occur much earlier in the funnel. </p> <p>47% of respondents said that they would complete more purchases via mobile if ‘the browsing experience was easier or faster’. Similarly, 44% said they would if ‘it was easier to find exactly what I want.’ </p> <p>A better mobile UX doesn’t just lead to more mobile conversions either. Mobile discovery is said to have a direct impact on cross-channel sales, increasing revenue by around 19%. </p> <p>One way brands can improve product discovery is with artificial intelligence or machine learning - Qubit suggests that AI-powered discovery helps customers find 2.25x more products, making them 80% more likely to buy.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/3252/Qubit.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="517"></p> <p><strong>More on mobile conversion:</strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69193-using-data-to-improve-your-mobile-conversion-a-simple-but-effective-approach" target="_blank">Using data to improve your mobile conversion: A simple but effective approach</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69160-mobile-conversion-rates-how-does-your-site-compare" target="_blank">Mobile conversion rates: How does your site compare?</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69447-ask-the-experts-conversion-rate-optimisation-trends-challenges-strategy" target="_blank">Ask the experts: Conversion rate optimisation trends, challenges &amp; strategy</a></li> </ul> <h3>Programmatic budgets held back by poor measurement</h3> <p>A new study by Infectious Media has revealed that the inability to effectively measure campaigns is preventing advertisers from further investing in programmatic. </p> <p>From a <a href="http://info.infectiousmedia.com/measurement-report" target="_blank">survey of more than 200 decision-makers</a> in EMEA, APAC and North America, it found that almost 90% of marketers would be able to justify ‘slightly’ or ‘significantly’ more investment in programmatic with better measurement.</p> <p>66% of respondents said they find accurately measuring campaigns ‘extremely’ or ‘very’ challenging, while 65% said the same for maintaining high viewability. 64% said that increasing brand safety protection is highly challenging.</p> <p>Lastly, it appears that advertisers largely view clicks as the most important indicator of success – despite click data often being distorted by fraud. 56% of advertisers describe number of clicks as the most important metric, followed by 45% who say cost per click and 43% who say click-through rate.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/3251/Measurement_report.JPG" alt="" width="592" height="372"></p> <p><strong>More on programmatic:</strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69624-three-ways-to-boost-brand-safety-in-the-programmatic-age" target="_blank">Three ways to boost brand safety in the programmatic age</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69558-ask-the-experts-what-s-the-best-way-to-target-programmatic-ads" target="_blank">Ask the experts: What's the best way to target programmatic ads?</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69588-10-signs-that-programmatic-advertising-is-reaching-maturity" target="_blank">10 signs that programmatic advertising is reaching maturity</a></li> </ul> <h3>56% think that most mobile ads are boring or dull</h3> <p style="font-weight: 400;">Verve <a href="https://www.warc.com/newsandopinion/news/relevance_doubles_engagement_with_mobile_ads/40238" target="_blank">has found</a> that generic mobile ads generate little engagement. From a survey of 2,000 UK adults, it found that just 17% of people are ‘likely’ or ‘very likely’ to interact with a generic ad on their phones, while 56% think that most mobile ads are boring or dull.</p> <p style="font-weight: 400;">As a result, brands need to do more to pique user interest, which means making mobile ads much more relevant to individuals.</p> <p style="font-weight: 400;">Verve found that mobile ads which reference the user’s interests or location drives twice as much engagement as generic mobile ads. Dynamic ads (that use phone mechanics to tilt, tap, zoom or zoom) were also found to increase engagement by 20%, while interactive ads that ask questions can do so by 21%.</p> <h3>‘Digital trailblazers and emergers’ create sweet spot for brand engagement</h3> <p>Do all influencers have an impact on consumer behaviour?</p> <p>A <a href="https://fullscreenmedia.co/2018/03/27/influence-numbers-lowdown-whos-really-influential-online/" target="_blank">new study</a> by Fullscreen Media has attempted to find the answer, analysing 31,802 influencers with a range of followings, and surveying 1,200 individuals aged 18-34 who have in some way interacted with their branded content.</p> <p>Overall, it found that digital creators (i.e. those with one to 19 million followers) have the highest cross-social engagement rate among influencer segments – ranging from 50% to 88% higher than celebrities and micro-influencers. This is said to be the ‘sweet spot’ for engagement, resulting in the greatest impact on purchasing decisions.</p> <p>While micro-influencers (those with 250,000 to 999,000 followers) generated the lowest engagement rate among the four measured Influencer segments, this group is still fairly effective at driving purchases. 26.9% of people that viewed or interacted with micro-influencer content went on to make a purchase, compared with just 20.4% who interacted with celebrity content.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/3254/Influencers.JPG" alt="" width="520" height="801"></p> <p><strong>More on influencers:</strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69620-only-29-of-influencer-campaigns-use-trackable-urls-for-attribution" target="_blank">Only 29% of influencer campaigns use trackable URLs for attribution</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69801-are-virtual-stars-the-next-step-for-influencer-marketing" target="_blank">Are virtual stars the next step for influencer marketing?</a></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69878 2018-03-19T11:00:00+00:00 2018-03-19T11:00:00+00:00 How machine learning can improve conversion rate & optimise performance Matt Lacey <p>Businesses already on the AI bandwagon are certainly stealing a march of their competitors – and successful machine learning cases are definitely not just the remit of large dot coms.   </p> <p>The addition of AI-powered machine learning can not only take the time and hassle out of poring through masses of data, but also finds new ways to monetise this data and deliver personalisation at scale. By providing faster and more intelligent feedback, it’s allowing more time for performance teams to experiment and apply creativity to greater effect; and this is the stuff that will deliver a fast return and greater impact on the bottom line.</p> <p>So the question is – what’s stopping more uptake of machine learning in revolutionising digital product performance?</p> <p>Firstly, many organisations are still in the traditional mindset of focusing on delivering new features and ‘build’ rather than measuring impacts and outcomes as the product is developed, iterating from a MVP. Machine learning goes hand-in-hand with a product thinking approach and agile working to continually evolve a digital product based on real time, real user experiences.  </p> <p>Secondly, effective use of data for improving conversion can only happen with the right data strategy and good data foundation. Of course, joining up data sources is easier said than done, but if you can enrich your data to allow patterns to be drawn, then you will be in a much better place than the majority of your competitors to create a relevant and engaging customer experience and improve your site conversion. </p> <p>The other barrier to implementing new machine learning tools and practices is, like with many digital transformation practices, simply not knowing where to start.  </p> <p>So what are the three most easy-to-implement machine learning techniques you can use to improve conversion right now and to powerfully personalise your customer experience? </p> <h3>Data mining</h3> <p>Data mining or ‘opportunity mining’ is the practice of using an algorithm to search for opportunities in the data. The algorithms are designed to ‘mine’ large data sets to find patterns of behaviour – this can either identify issues with current campaigns or indicate opportunities for future growth. </p> <p>For instance, the data may identify that PPC traffic converts well at weekend and not much during the week, so you might adapt your campaign spend based on that information. Or you may find a campaign isn't working well in a particular region and may adapt the messaging based on this insight. </p> <p>Data mining is useful in identifying patterns, but does not provide solutions. Machines can’t make up empathetic experiences. They need to be used in conjunction with experimentation and other conversion optimisation methods to really make the most of the practice.</p> <p>By applying AI to identify these patterns to greater effect, the insight may not only find opportunities that might be hard to spot but enables greater time to be spent on acting on the insight, achieving better conversion rates based on real-time trends and problem solving.    </p> <p>Qubit and Needl Analytics (with their virtual web analyst tool) are two technology companies that are driving this approach.  </p> <h3>Predictive algorithms</h3> <p>Predictive algorithms power <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69112-what-s-the-difference-between-ai-powered-personalisation-and-more-basic-segmentation">recommendation engines</a> such as ‘what others also bought’. They are what most people think of when it comes to personalisation. AI applied to this process can help businesses go much further and become much more sophisticated in their personalisation. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/3031/recs.jpg" alt="amazon recommendations" width="615" height="294"></p> <p>For example, Amazon uses its predictive algorithms to forecast user interest, how motivated a user is to buy, and the sales volume of the individual products. It then provides product recommendations based on this behavioural and operational data (so, for example, it’s likely that you and I will get a different set of search results for ‘green hat’). It is also why you sometimes get search results for a product with little or no reviews above items with hundreds of reviews in the search results.</p> <p>This personalisation tool accounts for 35% of Amazon’s sales and is obviously very complex, requiring a huge amount of data maturity, but it highlights the opportunities with a strong data strategy.</p> <p>Nudgr, Sentient Ascend and Fred Hopper are all currently offering machine learning technology worth considering as part of this process.  They are all driving different types of predictive tools – to deliver more relevant user experiences. </p> <h3>Best match algorithms </h3> <p>Adding automated intelligence to A/B testing with the use of ‘best match algorithms’ (or ‘multi-armed bandits’) is proving an effective way to capture value sooner during an experiment or campaign.</p> <p>With best match algorithms, as soon as a winner between two variants being tested becomes obvious, more traffic will automatically redirect to that winning test.  This means that the test is more likely to reach statistical significance and the benefits will be immediate. The New York Times website currently employs this technique with its headlines as a fast and highly efficient way to improve its article readership. </p> <p>This type of algorithm is great for short-term promotions and campaigns but can also be used in long-term tests. </p> <p>Say you have two versions of a homepage, and over time, one proves much more popular, getting 95% of all traffic. Then a seasonal change occurs - for example, Black Friday - the page that initially delivered much lower performance might suddenly start performing better. The best match algorithm would detect this and start directing more traffic towards the second page, and then automatically switch things back once the seasonal change alters traffic figures again.  </p> <p>As an indication of the speed at which the addition of machine learning can achieve change, Optimizely claims that its Stats Accelerator product enables companies to accelerate experimentation and reach statistical significance up to 300% faster with intelligent traffic optimization. Using machine learning, Stats Accelerator automates the flow of traffic to your experiments, so you can drive learnings and impact more rapidly. </p> <h3>So is machine learning a silver bullet for conversion best practice? </h3> <p>Technology alone will not achieve the most impactful customer experience and digital excellence. Machine learning offers a new level of speed and accuracy to performance optimisation but it can’t be used in isolation or be thought of as a replacement for the skills of a <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69151-a-day-in-the-life-of-senior-data-scientist-at-asos">data scientist</a>. Any use of AI needs to be balanced with human intelligence and closely managed, there is still a need for investigation and interpretation. </p> <p>For many organisations it will be a matter of finding a solution that is right for them, that fits in with their capabilities and goals. While many large in-house software teams are undoubtedly developing their own solutions, the application of machine learning into performance is certainly something that is gaining traction within agency / client partnerships.</p> <p>Within our own client base at Code Computerlove, for some businesses like Hillarys and Missguided, getting on the front foot with machine learning has been a high priority. These businesses already have a strong data driven strategy that we’re now able to take to a higher level with new tools and benefits that ‘greater, faster’ insight enables. </p> <p>Machine learning applied to performance is a hugely exciting space – offering lots of potential, and new technology and solutions are entering the market every month. We expect more businesses to be benefitting from the efficiency and optimisation that it can drive as a fast paced area of growth this year.</p> <p><em><strong>If you want to learn from those who have already implemented their AI and machine learning strategies, why not <a href="http://conferences.marketingweek.com/">attend Supercharged</a>, Econsultancy's AI and marketing conference, 1st May, London.</strong></em></p> <p><em><strong>Further reading</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69237-a-beginner-s-guide-to-building-a-data-science-team">A beginner's guide to building a data science team</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69714-the-five-ps-of-ai-strategy-for-marketers">The five Ps of AI strategy for marketers</a></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:TrainingDate/3412 2018-01-19T18:23:41+00:00 2018-01-19T18:23:41+00:00 Improving performance through Conversion Optimisation <p>Have you turned the marketing dial to its limit with diminishing results? Are you working towards delivering the next big website redesign? Are you working on strategies to gain an advantage over your competition?</p> <p>This one day course shows you how to implement a robust conversion optimisation strategy and process which can deliver major uplifts in sales revenue and profitability, as well as changing the way you develop your brand, innovate your offering, and make website redesigns a thing of the past. The course will show you how to implement a data driven approach of onsite testing and optimisation as well as arming you with the strategic knowledge to accelerate growth for forward-thinking businesses.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69561 2017-11-03T14:00:00+00:00 2017-11-03T14:00:00+00:00 Why online shoppers abandon their baskets and how to stop them Nikki Gilliland <p>Subscribers can download the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/ecommerce/" target="_blank">full report here</a>, but in the meantime, let’s concentrate on a few reasons why consumers typically abandon their online shopping – and how ecommerce marketers might counteract this behaviour.</p> <h3>Feeling pressured into making a purchase</h3> <p>Checkout isolation has previously been cited as an effective way to reduce basket abandonment. By removing all navigational elements, it theoretically means that consumers are less distracted, and therefore more focused on completing their purchase.</p> <p>However, this tactic also has its downsides, potentially reducing overall performance if the consumer feels like they’re being pushed prematurely towards a purchase. It might be an unconscious feeling, of course, but sensing that they could be forced into buying before they are ready or have done enough research elsewhere could be enough to send consumers fleeing.</p> <p>Instead, it might be better to avoid forcing a too linear path, allowing people to go back onto the site if they want. Similarly, it’s important to avoid information loss – for example if customers are required to move through multiple stages, the data they’ve entered should be temporarily stored so they don’t need to re-enter it if they navigate between stages or away from the checkout.</p> <p>Warehouse is one retailer that stores this type of info, and while it also encloses the checkout to avoid distraction, it effectively highlights the steps to confirmation so that the customer knows exactly where they are in the process.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/0152/Warehouse.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="360"></p> <h3>Using the shopping basket for research</h3> <p>According to <a href="https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/industries/retail-consumer/total-retail/total-retail-categories.html" target="_blank">PwC</a>, 52% of global shoppers prefer to research clothing and footwear purchases online, with this rising to 62% for electronics and 68% for books, music, and video games. </p> <p>Unsurprisingly then, this is one of the biggest reasons for consumers abandoning their baskets without making a final purchase, with many planning to shop around on other ecommerce sites to ascertain the best price or service. </p> <p>In this instance, consumers can often be tempted back into the purchasing journey with relevant and well-timed communication. An email reminding the consumer that their basket is still there waiting for them can effectively do this, with elements of personalisation (i.e. drawing on names and other data) also adding extra value. </p> <p>Not only does Kate Spade take this approach, but the US retailer also ramps up temptation to buy with the offer of a 15% discount on top.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/0155/Kate_Spade.JPG" alt="" width="550" height="663"></p> <h3>Intent to buy in the real world</h3> <p>Alternatively, consumers doing research online might abandon their basket with the aim of purchasing from a physical store (and not necessarily from the same retailer). In this case, retargeting or sending an email reminding them of their basket contents might not be enough. </p> <p>So, instead of trying to tempt them back to complete the online checkout, it makes more sense to align to their own needs or behaviour – which means facilitating the in-store purchase. This could be achieved through incentives, such as a mobile voucher or discount to increase levels of convenience and value.</p> <p>Another way is to consider offering alternative steps during the checkout process or when the user clicks away, such as “find this item in-store” or “save basket contents to a wish list”. That way, the shopper might be prompted to convert using <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68739-how-has-click-collect-evolved-and-is-it-still-in-high-demand/" target="_blank">Click and Collect</a> or an in-store pick up there and then.</p> <p>Clothing retailer Barbour includes a “save for later” option at the checkout, which is a good tactic to encourage consumers (both researching with or without online buying intent) to convert at a later date.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/0149/Barbour.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="381"></p> <h3>Lack of trust</h3> <p>When it comes to purchasing online, consumers need reassurances throughout the entire journey.</p> <p>First, with online consumer opinions being the second-most trusted form of communication, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/9366-ecommerce-consumer-reviews-why-you-need-them-and-how-to-use-them" target="_blank">user reviews</a> are a great way to instil trust.</p> <p>At a basic level, the simple act of handing over card details means that people need to feel certain the site is safe and secure. While some visual signals can of course be reproduced by underhand means, web browsers can fortunately refer to third-party issued certificates that demonstrate security compliance. SSL certificates - which often come in the form of a padlock at the end of the address bar, or a green highlighted area – are one of the most common signs.</p> <p>Alongside this, consumers like to be reassured that they are buying the right product, so another way to instil reassurance is with a persistent basket summary. This helps remind users of the contents and the total cost of their order so they don't have to leave the checkout to find out.</p> <p>Bicycle and outdoor apparel retailer Wiggle is a good example of this, reminding users what they are buying throughout the checkout.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/0150/Wiggle.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="471"></p> <h3>Frustration over delivery options</h3> <p>In a survey by Walker Sands, nine in 10 respondents cited free shipping as the number one incentive to shop online. Unsurprisingly then, unexpected delivery costs are one of the top reasons consumers might change their mind at the point of checkout.</p> <p>To prevent this from happening, it’s important to communicate delivery options upfront and as prominently as possible, meaning people don’t get halfway through the checkout process and quit in frustration if you’re not providing them with the service they want.</p> <p>Similarly, it's a good idea to offer help during the checkout (perhaps with a live chat icon, for instance) to avoid customers abandoning the process due to unanswered questions.</p> <p>Schuh is a good example of this, asking shoppers to choose their delivery preference as the first step. Also note other effective features like Google Reviews and the reassurance of a secure checkout.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/0151/Schuh.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="367"></p> <p><em><strong>Don't forget to check out the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/ecommerce/" target="_blank">Ecommerce Best Practice Guide</a> in full here.</strong></em></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69497 2017-10-12T09:24:29+01:00 2017-10-12T09:24:29+01:00 Research shows fewer marketers see CRO as ‘crucial’ in 2017, but is the discipline misunderstood? Ben Davis <p>Let's look at some of the more interesting findings...</p> <h3>The importance of CRO dips slightly</h3> <p>The 800 marketers and ecommerce professionals surveyed still attach a high level of importance to CRO (only 1% see it as unimportant), but as the chart below shows, there has been a dip in those admitting the discipline is 'crucial' to their overall digital marketing strategy (from 55% to 50%).</p> <p>Back in 2013, 59% of respondents though CRO was crucial, so there is a trend here. It could be that as other online marketing channels and technologies have emerged, CRO is falling slightly out of favour.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9599/importance_cro.png" alt="cro importance" width="615"></p> <h3>Marketers &amp; ecommerce bods unsatisfied with conversion rates </h3> <p>Every year since 2009, the CRO Report survey has revealed that more than 65% of respondents have seen conversion rates rise. Should we take such a stat with a pinch of salt, given the adoption of mobile in that time has seen a widely-accepted trend for lower conversion rates?</p> <p>Well, the chart below suggests that indeed, whether conversion rates are rising or not, many respondents are not happy with them as they stand. Nine percent are 'very dissatisfied', 28% 'quite dissatisfied' and 35% nonplussed.</p> <p>It's no surprise that more than half of companies (54%) surveyed plan to increase their CRO budgets over the next year.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9601/satisfaction_cro.png" alt="satisfcation with cro" width="615"></p> <h3>A/B testing is still favoured (should it be?)</h3> <p>A/B testing is the most commonly used CRO method amongst respondents (60% use it), and is also perceived to be the most valuable (72% say it is 'highly valuable'). This is a bit of a head-scratcher and could be due in part to the ease of implementation of A/B testing.</p> <p>There's no denying A/B testing can be very useful, but independent consultant Dan Barker explains why its pre-eminence can be dangerous:</p> <p>“A/B testing is almost synonymous with improving conversion rates. It’s important to remember that A/B testing is not actually a method of improving results, but a system for validating hypotheses. If you expand that slightly, you realize the important element is actually generating hypotheses, and therefore listening to customers, getting your tracking as sorted as you can, making sure knowledge flows okay within your company and scrutinizing your website/application for opportunities are big, simple levers to help you improve results.” </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9604/methods_cro.png" alt="cro methods" width="615" height="437"></p> <p>Beyond A/B testing, the survey finds that the more complex the testing undertaken, the more likely companies are to see improvements in conversion rates. This speaks to Barker's point about a hypothesis being crucial, and testing methods simply being employed to help provide evidence or insight.</p> <h3>Uptake of personalisation has stagnated – businesses need to rethink</h3> <p>Personalisation stands out in the CRO Report survey as by far and way the most difficult form of CRO to implement. Thirty five percent say it is very difficult to implement, way above segmentation, the second most challenging method at 18%.</p> <p>Though the implementation of website personalisation for marketing has risen in previous years, 2017 sees the proportion of respondents saying they use it returning to 2014 levels (62%). Only 23% are using it for CRO.</p> <p>The report postulates that website personalisation is perhaps the next 'big data' – taking a long time to come to fruition in marketing, but eventually being worth the wait.</p> <p>Some of the challenges of personalisation and broader CRO are manifest across businesses and this seems to be a big challenge for the industry. Data collection and organisation has to be well managed, teams need to reconcile conflicts of interest and work together on a structured approach to CRO, and the right people and skills have to be present. The next two to three years could well be crucial.</p> <p><em><strong>For more on methods of CRO and business challenges, subscribers can download the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/conversion-rate-optimization-report/">CRO Report 2017</a> now.</strong></em></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69495 2017-10-11T10:16:00+01:00 2017-10-11T10:16:00+01:00 Why the butterfly effect is killing the conversion optimisation industry Paul Rouke <p>Why? </p> <p>This is where the butterfly effect comes in. Let me explain.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9578/butterfly.jpeg" alt="butterfly" width="292" height="172"></p> <h4>First, I'll start with some Wikipedia definitions…</h4> <p><strong>The Butterfly Effect:</strong></p> <p>“In chaos theory, the butterfly effect is the sensitive dependence on initial conditions in which a small change in one state of a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences in a later state. ... A very small change in initial conditions had created a significantly different outcome.”</p> <p><strong>Conversion Optimisation:</strong></p> <p>“In internet marketing, conversion optimisation, or conversion rate optimisation (CRO) is a system for increasing the percentage of visitors to a website that convert into customers, or more generally, take any desired action on a webpage. It is commonly referred to as CRO.”</p> <p><strong>True Conversion Optimisation:</strong></p> <p>“True conversion optimisation is the beginning of a mindset change within a business, maturing to becoming a customer-centric organisation that embraces experimentation to out-perform their competitors.”</p> <p>This last definition is mine, and is yet to make it onto Wikipedia! </p> <h3>The initial “condition” – Conversion optimisation is misunderstood </h3> <p>Fundamentally, conversion optimisation is hugely misunderstood by the most influential people in businesses. It’s perplexing to me how the good old “button colour testing” is still very much in evidence within the “idea factories” of decision-makers' minds.</p> <p>"Quick wins. Low hanging fruit. Tweaking the design. Changing a headline. Changing an image. I want to test this. We don’t need our developers, you do everything through the tool."</p> <p>This is the level to which conversion optimisation is considered within a startling number of business.</p> <h3>Misunderstood = under-appreciated</h3> <p>When something is misunderstood, that something is very easily under-appreciated, however much potential value it can bring. </p> <p>Conversion optimisation is cripplingly under-appreciated when it can and should be one of the most influential growth levers for a business. </p> <p>In my experience conversion optimisation is seen as a simple, tactical element of marketing. It typically plays no important role in the growth strategy of businesses.</p> <h3>You don’t invest in something you don’t appreciate</h3> <p>Where there is little perceived value in something, it is to be expected that you are not going to invest energy, time and resources in it – particularly people.</p> <p>In the early years of conversion optimisation, the most influential testing platforms positioned A/B testing as a simple and quick way to tweak your website and see if you could get more people to do what you wanted them to. Businesses were encouraged to provide their developers with a few lines of JavaScript, then you could leave them to it whilst you as the marketeer got on with using the WYSIWYG editor to set-up A/B tests.</p> <p>This led to a big rise in investment in tools and technology for conversion optimisation – with little if any investment in a multi-disciplinary team to develop intelligent, insight driven A/B tests. </p> <p>With the proliferation of talk, investment, excitement and worry about “AI” and machine-learning, what’s lost in the shuffle is the importance of investing in human beings. </p> <p>Until businesses realise growth is about people, and they should be investing in Human Intelligence in advance of Artificial Intelligence, investing in the right level of skills and resources simply won’t happen.</p> <h3>You don’t have the people or skills to conduct intelligent, genuine user research</h3> <p>Investing in user research is fundamental to any business that is striving to become customer centric and develop an experimentation mindset.</p> <p>With limited (if any) investment in people, there is limited (or non-existent) investment in conducting user research, in whichever form this may take.</p> <p>I find it shocking just how many companies go years without stopping to think “is what we are doing <em>really</em> what our visitors are looking for?”.</p> <h3>Without behavioural insights there is a lack of intelligence behind changes</h3> <p>Coming up with tests based on egos, opinions, best practices and competitor activities is the norm for most businesses. </p> <p>Test hypotheses are pretty much non-existent, and even if there is some form of hypothesis, it lacks genuine intelligence through behavioural research and understanding.</p> <p>Based on my experiences, over 75% of A/B tests that are run lack a genuine “why?” behind the test variation.</p> <h3>Confirmation bias leads to incorrect conclusions</h3> <p>All of us, including optimisers, suffer from confirmation bias – if you work really hard for something, your mind wants to believe that it's true: </p> <blockquote> <p>Does this variation really increase conversion rate by 94%? </p> <p>Is one week really enough to gather sufficient and appropriate levels of visitors to make a highly informed decision?</p> <p>Did we increase the micro conversion rate but didn’t bother looking at what effect this had on the macro conversion rate? </p> </blockquote> <p>A lack of statistical understanding coupled with a desire to want tests to be successful very often erodes the integrity behind the test results.</p> <h3>If you put garbage in, you get garbage out </h3> <p>Yes, never has this been more true than in A/B testing.</p> <p>Come up with a test idea with little or no research, hypothesis, data and intelligence, and you are not going to make any learnings off the back of it.</p> <p>I have previously shared how MVT (multivariate testing) should be renamed NHT – No Hypothesis Testing. When you run an experiment with multiple variations of different “things” mixed together, there is no intelligence or hypothesis there. </p> <p>The most successful companies with a genuine experimentation mindset are learning all the time about how to influence the decision making of their prospects and customers. </p> <p>There are very few successful companies in conversion optimisation.</p> <h3>Conversion optimisation doesn’t shift the needle</h3> <p>The harsh truth is that most companies don’t see that conversion optimisation has had a tangible, credible and trustworthy positive impact on their primary performance metrics. </p> <p>The number of times I have been in a meeting with a potential client who has been “running tests for the last few years”, whom I ask “what commercial impact have you seen on your bottom line?” which results in a very flat, non-committal answer, tells its own story. </p> <p>It's what industry thought leader Craig Sullivan explains simply as “the trough of disillusionment”.</p> <h3>If it doesn’t deliver value then why bother?</h3> <p>In the trough of disillusionment, it's understandable for the decision makers within a business to look at this investment in conversion optimisation and conclude “why are we bothering?”.</p> <p>With acquisition long established as the easiest way for a business to get more sales, simultaneously lining Google’s big pockets, it's easy to see why investment in conversion optimisation can be seriously questioned – particularly for businesses who have first-hand experience of the butterfly effect which comes from a lack of understanding.</p> <h3>In summary</h3> <p>“Yes but what about this ‘butterfly effect killing the conversion optimisation industry?” I hear you say.</p> <p>Well, following on from my points above, what are we left with? </p> <p><strong>1. Conversion optimisation is fundamentally misunderstood</strong></p> <p>Which means that...</p> <p><strong>2. Conversion optimisation is underappreciated</strong></p> <p>Which means that...</p> <p><strong>3. Conversion optimisation gets little in the way of investment in people</strong></p> <p>Which means that...</p> <p><strong>4. Conversion optimisation is done with little (if any) intelligent user research insights</strong></p> <p>Which means that...</p> <p><strong>5. Conversion optimisation lacks any real form of intelligence behind what is being tested</strong></p> <p>Which means that...</p> <p><strong>6. Conversion optimisation is dominated by test “results” which are a lie</strong></p> <p>Which means that...</p> <p><strong>7. Conversion optimisation delivers little (if any) tangible &amp; actionable visitor learnings</strong></p> <p>Which means that...</p> <p><strong>8. Conversion optimisation delivers little (if any) commercial impact</strong></p> <p>Which means that...</p> <p><strong>9. Conversion optimisation is considered irrelevant to the growth ambitions of the business</strong></p> <p>Which means that….  </p> <p>We are left with a CRO industry and way of doing business which, though it can prove a competitive advantage (see Amazon as one example), is actually the most under-utilised part in the whole of digital marketing.</p> <p>Until conversion optimisation is understood for what it truly is, it will remain as the biggest missed opportunity in global marketing.</p> <p>True conversion optimisation is the beginning of a mindset transformation within a business, maturing to becoming a truly customer centric organisation that embraces experimentation and long term thinking to out-perform their competitors.</p> <p><em><strong>More on conversion optimisation:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69447-ask-the-experts-conversion-rate-optimisation-trends-challenges-strategy">Ask the experts: CRO trends, challenges &amp; strategy</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/conversion-rate-optimization-report/">Conversion rate optimisation report (subscriber only)</a></li> </ul>