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Conversion Rate Optimization—Are You Shooting Yourself in the Foot?

February 16, 2016
Aaron Polmeer

By Jacob Baadsgaard


Conversion rate optimization (CRO) has become the go-to solution for online marketing performance woes.

Astronomical cost-per-click? Improve your conversion rate and it won’t matter anymore.

Unsure about your website design? Test all your ideas…and see what works!

Limited budget? You don’t have to pay for more traffic—just get more conversions from the traffic you already have.

Whatever ails your online marketing, it can be fixed with a little CRO, right?

With all the case studies out there touting results like 41% increase in sales, 400% more conversions, or 600% increase in social shares, it’s easy to believe that the ROI of your dreams is just a few tests away.

Unfortunately, conversion rate optimization isn’t quite that simple. Simply putting together a test is not enough to guarantee you a better conversion rate—in fact, according to VWO, only 1 in 7 A/B tests produce a winning result!

So, does that mean CRO isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be?

Why CRO Fails

Conversion rate optimization is an awesome way to get more conversions out of your web traffic, but only if you approach it the right way.

At Disruptive, we’ve run thousands of tests, so we’ve seen our fair share of both amazing and not so amazing results.

After helping so many companies improve their conversion rate, it’s become clear that CRO often falls short of its potential because companies set their tests up to fail.

Of course, nobody intentionally rigs their tests to fail, but most companies fall victim to one of four CRO traps:

  1. No overall strategy
  2. Goal confusion
  3. Ending early
  4. Ignoring traffic

Each of these traps will ruin a CRO test, so it’s important to understand each trap and how to avoid it.

Fortunately, if you can steer clear of these test-killers, you can expect a much higher success rate—in our case, about 5/7 of our tests improve conversion rate (and we learn something from every test).

Let’s dive into the details.

1. No Overall Strategy

If you want to be successful at CRO, you need to look at each test as part of a bigger whole.

In general, most companies tend to look at tests in isolation. They have an idea and run a test to see if it performs better.

If it works, they cheer and switch everything to their new idea. If it fails, they assume the idea was bad and toss it.

Unfortunately, this sort of approach doesn’t teach you why a specific page was a success or a failure. That means you can’t effectively use that test to guide future CRO efforts.

Remember the old George Santayana quote?


Okay, so that’s not exactly how George’s original quote went…but the point still holds. If you don’t learn from your tests, you’re never going to make much progress with CRO.

Documentation—the Secret to Successful CRO

A good testing strategy ensures you learn something from every test. To do that, you need great documentation.

The problem with a haphazard approach to testing is that your tests become very difficult to track. It doesn’t take …read more

Source:: Kiss Metrics Blog