What is CRO? What You Should Know About Conversion Rate Optimization
The world of digital marketing is full of acronyms and marketing terms that are often misunderstood by the general public. One such acronym is CRO – short for conversion rate optimization. To fully understand CRO, you need an understanding of what a conversion is, conversion rate, and how user experience affects conversions.
CRO, conversion rate optimization, is the practice of increasing the number of conversions, or favorable actions, on a website. Website designers and digital marketers work to optimize a website to create better user experiences, so that visitors to that website perform a desired action. That desired action is called a conversion. Often conversions refer to customer conversion when sales are made, but there are other valuable conversions as well.
Conversion rate optimization requires making adjustments to a web page to find the most successful combination of copy, creative, formatting, and other factors. This often takes trial and error testing to see what is the most effective.
Understanding how to interpret analytics on a website is important to better understand conversion rate, customer journeys, and more to help optimize the page for conversions. CRO works to improve the percentage of visitors to a website the convert, so tracking the steps they take through a website helps to understand what factors work and what should be changed.
CRO vs SEO
While both terms contain the word “optimization”, CRO and SEO are not the same. Many tend to confuse the two or misunderstand the difference.
In simple terms, SEO helps to optimize your website to drive traffic to it, while CRO optimizes your website for those visitors’ behavior once they are on your site. Both efforts ultimately attempt to improve the profitability of your website, but in very different ways.
CRO is all about customer experience on your website, so optimizing for conversions focuses on human behavior and considers what makes a person convert into a customer. SEO, on the other hand, is all about machine learning and works to optimize web pages to rank based on search engine algorithms, not based on user experience or human understanding.
What is Conversion Rate?
Conversion rate is simply the percentage of visitors to a website or specific landing page that convert by performing some favorable action. Since not all visitors to your website will perform the desired action, whether it’s a purchase, sign up, form submission, etc., it’s helpful to track conversion rate to know what percentage of visits are successful.
How To Calculate Conversion Rate
There are a few different ways to calculate conversion rate depending on your business, the products or services you offer, and the type of conversion you are looking for. In general, conversion rate is calculated by dividing conversions on a page by total visitors to that page.
One factor that plays into how to calculate CRO is whether or not a visitor can convert more than once. Websites that sell multiple products or repeat services can have the same customer convert multiple times, while a website selling a long-term subscription of some sort can only convert each customer once upon signing them up.
When a user can convert multiple times, conversion rate is generally calculated by dividing the number of unique conversions by the total number of sessions on a website. By unique conversions, we mean each single conversion, regardless of whether the same user converts more than once.
If a user can only convert one time, conversion rate is usually calculated by dividing the number of unique conversions by the number of unique users visiting the website. In this case, the denominator is unique visitors, not total sessions, since each can only convert once regardless of how often they visit the page.
Why CRO Matters
Conversion rate optimization is vital to increase conversions and therefore profitability on your website. While you may think a webpage is performing just fine, imagine if a small change could improve your conversion rate. It usually takes more than a single small change, but optimizing your website for conversions is extremely important and worthwhile nonetheless.
Conversion Rate Optimization Tips
Optimizing a website to improve conversions takes time and testing out different changes, so there isn’t one surefire tip for success: it depends on your website, your goals, and more. These tips are industry known best practices.
Think Like a Customer
To get customers to convert, think like one to better understand what drives some towards conversion and some away. If you’ve developed customer personas for your ideal target customer, consider what factors would influence their buying decision.
Check that any calls to action are clear and concise, and that landing pages are easy to navigate. Make it clear what the goal of the page is and work to improve user experience so that they are compelled to complete that goal.
Track Customer Journeys
Tracking customer journeys can help you better understand the flow of your website and where it can be improved. Set up Google Analytics for your website if you haven’t already to see where traffic goes and what pages have a high bounce rate.
Heat maps are also helpful to see what areas of a website page receive more clicks.
Test What Works
Perform A/B tests or multi-variable testing to see what elements on a website landing page are helping or hurting your conversion rate. A/B tests look at the difference in conversions when only one factor changes, while multi-variable testing looks at a few variables at once. Whether your website needs minor adjustments or more significant changes, testing can give helpful insight into what works best to improve conversions.
Run A Survey
Ask visitors directly what you can change about your website to improve their experience. Customer surveys offer different, human insights compared to web analytics and metrics. While they won’t be able to answer questions about conversions or technical fixes to your website, they can tell you more about their experience as a user that can help you understand how to improve your website pages.