Considering getting started with Conversion Optimization? I’ve put together a CRO ROI Calculator which you can use to to estimate the return on your CRO investment based on your company size and data. Try it now.
I wish that were true, but that’s not how it works.We want to make twice the money, so we double our budget.
(though it can feel good to just throw money at the problem)
There’s always room for growth, and marketers are in a constant search for that edge.
I love marketing as an art, but there’s also science to it.
The Cost of Not Optimizing Your Site
We’ve seen some epic failures in the past. Take Marks & Spencer for example.
Marks & Spencer spent 150 million pounds on a failed website re-design that left customers angry and cost the company 8% of its sales.
It wasn’t M&S’s proudest moment. Important features like changing your password didn’t work, orders were sent to the wrong address and many customers couldn’t find what they were looking for on the new site.
The website was filled with comments like these asking for the old design, or complaining about how customer service was denying any problems that were caused by the new website.
Web design is great. It’s good for your brand (if done well), and it can portray higher quality service or product. But at the same time, I’ve seen ugly websites with clear navigation and great copy that sell more than the most polished, modern websites.
How could that be avoided?
Besides not having spent $150 million on a website that doesn’t work that well, there’s a number of ways they could’ve not only prevented their losses, but prospered.
A successful website redesign should be part of a solid strategy and it should follow a process. Gradual redesigns, those conducted by testing smaller changes bit by bit before changing the whole look, can provide a lot more insights and can point out which changes will hurt customer experience (and conversions) ahead of time.
The more you pay attention to your customers’ needs and behaviour, the better off you’ll be.
Marketing = Attention (and it’s getting ever more expensive)
Who has your customer’s attention?
That’s what all marketers are fighting for, and we never had a more stimulating time. Human attention span has been in decline for the past decade and a half. According to a study by Microsoft, our attention spans diminished from 12 seconds in the year 2000, to only 8 seconds last year.
To put it in perspective, the attention span of a goldfish is 9 seconds!
This can only mean one thing: When there’s less of something, the cost of acquiring that thing goes up.
To illustrate this point, we’ll briefly look at the evolution of advertising costs as well as some predictions for the future, for the two most popular advertising channels in use today: AdWords and Facebook Ads.
The Rising Cost Of AdWords
In a recent study by Search Engine Land, they concluded that branded traffic is getting more expensive. When comparing the costs of running their campaigns from February 7–16 against those from March 27–April 5, they concluded that:
“On average, CPC to maintain a top position for a branded search has increased more than 60 percent.”
And they are not alone, many users have reported that their paid campaigns are getting more and more expensive.
The Rising Cost Of Facebook Ads
Salesforce conducted a similar study where they found that Facebook’s global CPM had increased by 71% in Q1 this year compared to last year.
The main reason behind these trends is that more companies are competing for the limited attention of a limited set of users, thus driving the cost of these campaigns ups.
No matter how your advertising costs might have changed, every channel has a point of diminishing returns. Meaning that there comes a time when your campaigns bring in less revenue than your spend, and that’s when you need to look elsewhere to maximize your returns.
Conversion Rate Optimization
There are a number of ways to optimize your PPC ROI:
- Improve ad copy, creative or targeting
- Improve landing page design/layout and copy
If you’re already optimizing your ads, that’s great. But once your target audience clicks on one of your ads, do they convert?
Most businesses focus on the ads themselves, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg. If a visitor clicked on your ad, then chances are they were interested in your offer. So what changed their mind?
How One tiny Change Lead To $12 Million In Profit
The brilliant analysts at Expedia, one of the largest travel site in the world, asked themselves that same question. And it lead them to a $12 million insight. Here’s the short story:
According to Expedia’s VP of global analytics and optimisation Joe Megibow, visitors arrived on their site with the intention of buying a ticket, went all the way to the checkout and then many of them quit, never to come back.
This behaviour was unusual, so in order to find out what was happening, the analysts at Expedia dug deeper. They looked at their Analytics and conducted a number of user tested before they discovered the true reason why many users never completed their purchase.
Below is the form they had to complete:
Source (this screenshot is a mockup designed by UsabilityHour, it’s not the original form)
People hate filling out forms, so it’s best to limit the fields to as few as possible.
In this case, it was the ‘Company name’ that didn’t deserve a place on that form, because not only was it unnecessary, but it was confusing to some users.
It turns out that many users were typing the name of their Bank in the company field, and those same users then filled out the Address field with their bank’s address instead of their own. This caused some issues when it came time for them to verify their credit cards, since the bank address didn’t match their own.
Expedia removed the Company field from the form and this small change resulted in an astounding $12 million increase in sales. And they found a number of similar issues within their users’ journeys that could be improved.
Is Now The Time To Start Optimizing Your Conversions?
Note: I’ve put together a CRO ROI Calculator template which you can use to to estimate the return on your CRO investment based on your company size and data. Click here to try it now.
According to Econsultancy, for every $92 spent on getting traffic to their site, most companies only spend $1 to optimize the experience visitors see when they arrive.
If 95% of your traffic doesn’t convert, then you just lost $87.
The main takeaway here is that next time you think about increasing your ad budget, you might want to look to CRO as a powerful multiplier. In their 2016 State of Conversion Optimization Report, ConversionXL found that companies are prioritizing CRO higher than they did last year and they’re allocating their budgets accordingly.
However, CRO is not for everybody as you’ll see in a moment. So the more accurate question would be: Should YOU get started with conversion rate optimization?
There’s a few things that you should consider before making that decision.
Estimating Your Return On CRO Spend
Here at Omniconvert, we created a Conversion Optimization Ecommerce Growth Calculator that you can use to estimate your ROI from conversion rate optimization. Customize it with your actual data and get a better picture of how CRO would impact your specific business. I’ll use this template to highlight the most important factors to take into account when considering an investment on conversion optimization.
Before we begin, keep in mind that the calculations are mostly around the Conversion Rate, with all other factors staying relatively the same (such as retention rate, customer lifetime value, and others). In reality, Conversion Rate Optimization impacts other areas of your business, as you’ll see below.
First, do you have enough traffic?
If you don’t have enough traffic on the pages where you want to run your A/B tests, it’s going to take months before you hit statistical significance. During this time your test will be affected by seasonality and other factors. And the result might not even be worth the investment.
And while A/B testing might not be for low-traffic sites, there are other ways to improve your conversion rate through on-site surveys and user testing. Through these you might uncover a hidden block in your conversion funnel, which could be changed right away to enhance your conversions.
Second, is your AOV high enough?
An often overlooked metric is the average order value. Obviously, this metric will determine how much money each additional conversion will result in. With a low enough AOV, you might increase your conversion rate but you won’t generate enough new revenue to break even on your CRO investment.
In the example above, when we changed the AOV from $90 to $30 we started seeing a negative profit. You can plug in your own data to see if CRO would have a positive impact on your business.
Third, are you making a long-term commitment?
This is one of the most common mistakes. CRO is getting more and more popular amongst marketers, and many hear about A/B testing or read a success story somewhere (maybe in this post even) and then proceed to run an A/B test of their own. They might even test the same thing they read in the case study. That’s a big mistake, because what worked for one business might not work for another.
Conversion rate optimization should be treated as a long-term process, not a short-term tactic. In most cases you won’t be able to run more than 2-3 tests simultaneously (usually it’s only one test). Not all tests are going to be winners, but in every test there is a lesson or an insight that can help guide your next test. If you don’t commit to the process, you won’t be able to use these learnings to your advantage and you will lose many opportunities.
Advertising vs. CRO: Different Scenarios
With that in mind, there’s a few things you’ll notice in the template above. Assuming you have 100,000 monthly visitors and an average order value of 90$, we look at three different scenarios:
- You invest in advertising only ($189,000)
- You invest in doing CRO in-house ($25,600)
- You invest in CRO agency services to do the hard-lifting for you ($51,000)
Here’s what happens in each situation:
Small, incremental improvements to your conversion rates translate into more orders, thus more revenue. But it’s not just about your conversion rate. AOV (Average Order Value) is also affected (though not portrayed in this example).
The focus of CRO is as much on getting people to purchase more products as it is on getting them to convert in the first place. Both impact your bottom line.
How One Ecommerce Website Used CRO To Increase Revenues By 81%
WatchShop, a leading online retailer selling quality brand watches all over Europe needed help improving their conversion rate.
The Omniconvert team of CRO specialists looked at their Analytics and analyzed the visitor behaviour history. They soon uncovered a hidden opportunity: A segment of highly engaged visitors weren’t using the price filter on the site.
Our team decided to give them a little push, so they implemented an exit-intent popup in order to show this segment of visitors the price ranges available and to help them choose:
We ran this experiment for one month, and the results speak for themselves:
The revenue per visitor increased by 81.5% in a short period of time.
Conversion Rate Optimization can show visible results on your bottom line, but is a long-term investment and the returns compound over a longer period of time. It’s not a simple ‘hack’, but as you can see multiplying your business is all about increasing your conversion rates.
If you can get more visitors to convert, they will be happier for it (because otherwise they wouldn’t convert in the first place) and your business will be better off. The cost to acquire new customers keeps rising across all paid channels, which makes the conversion rate ever more important.
We’re making it easier than ever to start optimizing your website, with features that enable marketers with no technical skills to get started with A/B testing, on-site surveys, real-time personalization and more.
If you’re considering getting started with Conversion Optimization, remember that it’s about adopting a more customer-centric approach over the long-term, which is why investing in the right people, processes and tools is important.