The complete glossary for marketers
Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is the ongoing process of increasing the probability that a website user will take a desired action—or, convert—based on their customer experience. There are two types of conversions—macro and micro.
Macro conversions are the top-priority desired actions for your website users.
For ecommerce websites and service-based businesses, examples of macro conversions may include:
Micro conversions are user actions that are worth tracking, yet may not hold as much value to the business as a macro conversion would.
For an ecommerce website, examples of micro conversion can include:
For a service-based business, a micro conversion may include:
Micro conversions often signal steps toward a macro conversion, such as a cart addition (micro conversion) signals intent to complete the purchase (macro conversion).
Companies must calculate a baseline conversion rate before they can optimize. To do so, take your website’s number of conversions within a fixed period of time (often described as a “session” for website users) and divide that number by total users from the same period of time. For example, if a website had 1,000 visitors and saw 10 conversions, the conversion rate would be 10%.
Comparing performance from different periods of the same length can give you a better idea of the average conversion rates for your business, giving you something to measure against as you begin optimization efforts.
Most websites have multiple conversion funnels. A conversion funnel is the journey the user takes from the initial landing page all the way through to the conversion. When creating conversion funnels, the marketing and development team will build pages to address the needs of users on various parts of the website that will drive them toward a conversion.
Users in the top of the conversion funnel are generally beginning the research phase for a specific product or service. Users in this part of the conversion funnel are generally not yet ready to convert, and need to be guided through further stages of the journey before being presented with detailed product or service differentiators.
These users probably have not yet committed to the idea that they need to make the purchase or buy the service, but are becoming aware of the reasons for doing so. These users can be “window shoppers”, and need more information about the options available to them, your brand identity, and what your business has to offer. A micro conversion is often the goal for this part of the funnel.
Users in the middle of the conversion funnel have generally identified what type of product or service they want. They have gathered enough information to begin making an informed decision, and are more reliant on product/service differences, reviews, and testimonials to help them make a decision. The probability for a micro conversion is higher in the middle of the funnel. The resources needed to create a micro conversion in these users’ paths are less intensive than at the top of the conversion funnel.
Users in the bottom of the conversion funnel are ready to purchase a product or service. They have likely finished their research about the offerings available, but are paused in a moment of final consideration before action. They may need a conversion driver to push them to one seller or another, such as price advantage, free shipping, a promotion, or another “hot” reason to encourage conversion.
CRO is more than paying attention to your conversion rate reports and adding an offer to stimulate conversions on an ad hoc basis. Conversion rate is often a function of other measurable behavioral patterns that could be the root cause of a problem or the driver of success.
Performing a path analysis to identify which KPIs need to be optimized to boost conversions is the first step in crafting a conversion rate optimization plan. Influential KPIs that marketers seek to improve include:
Once your team has analyzed the customer path and determined which KPI(s) should be the main focus for optimization, you are ready to compile ideas for adjusting the user interface and improving the customer experience.
Instead of directly implementing edits to a website, app, email or other digital property to see if the changes spark the desired lift, marketers employ A/B and multivariate testing to trial their theories before rolling out the changes to the intended audience. Testing changes allows teams to gather data before committing to the change so that they can make sure the experience will perform well, and tweak details of the offer, the designs, or the audience depending on the test results.
By segmenting website traffic and serving different experiences to each segment, marketers can determine which version of content, media, call-to-action, or other variant is most appropriate for different audiences. This gives them the best chance of delivering a positive experience to a diverse audience, and creating broad improvement in the KPI they are looking to optimize for.
Constantly testing changes to the user experience based on qualitative research is a faster, more accurate method of CRO than making a change live and hoping for the best. Monetate Test & Segment™ assists hundreds of companies as an A/B & Multivariate testing solution.
With recent developments in technology, marketers are now employing personalization (especially 1-to-1 personalization) to improve conversion rates. Personalization aggregates data for each visitor and serves the best dynamic content based on their individual profile, which improves conversion rates throughout the funnel.
The Monetate Intelligent Personalization Engine™ aggregates and analyzes cross-channel data for each customer to provide an Omnichannel Personalization solution utilizing machine learning. This method of CRO improves customer experience and builds consistent relationships across every touchpoint, including websites, apps, email, in-store, and call center activity.