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What does CRO mean in marketing? 

Let me say it right off the bat; At Converted we consider ourselves Conversion Rate Optimisation (hereafter referred to as CRO for short) professionals, first and foremost we are a CRO agency even though we supply several separate services such as PPC management, SEO and Web Design. We have worked within this specific sector for years and it is both our passion and centric to all other digital activity we do. We want you to feel the same, Because if we’re honest, everything else you do digitally will be impacted by this one thing, and none can be truly as successful as they could be without CRO. Chances are many of you have worked on CRO without even realising it.

So if you’re reading this, it’s likely you are involved with digital in one form or another. Either as a business owner, a marketer or a consultant. As such you will have a basic grasp of what ‘conversion rate’ means. So I’ll apologise if we’re teaching some of you to suck eggs, but let’s just go over exactly what these three words mean before going into more details about exactly what Conversion rate optimisation means.

So let’s start with the first word.

Conversion
For most of you a conversion will be the end result you want from your customer online – Be it a lead generated, or a sale completed. To that extent you are right. These are the important ‘Primary’ conversions for most organisations (and the figures that we here at Converted are most obsessed with). However a conversion can actually be many things and many KPI’s. Calling CRO conversion rate optimisation can be misleading. It is not just about improving the Primary conversion figures. It can be about improving any number of different digital touch points and KPI’s, which will ultimately lead to better performance for your business online. As long as you can measure it specifically using data then it can be called a conversion.

So to sum up – a conversion in CRO can be any defined measurable piece of data that if influenced could and should improve your business.

Rate
This one is easy. Simply put it is the rate at which your defined piece of data is influenced. To better explain this here’s a few examples of the different rates of a conversion.

Let’s start with the most obvious conversion rate. The number of people who complete the ‘Primary’ conversion you want them to complete on your website Vs the number of people who visit your website. This is normally shown as a percentage. So if 100 people visit a website and 10 convert then your conversion rate is 10%. Simples!

That is the obvious one. However how about the actual revenue per order? A conversion ‘Rate’ you might want to optimise could be the average order value of each person who converts. By a small change to the basket page you might influence the average order value from say £50 to £55. So the ‘Rate’ at which your revenue comes in is optimised by that improvement.

But let’s move away from direct ‘Primary’ conversions for a moment.  Have you ever created banner adverts for use on display network advertising for your business? Maybe you want to improve their click through rate as you aren’t happy with it? The CTR – Click Through Rate – is the number of times the ad has been clicked as a percentage of how many times the advert has been shown. This KPI can have a direct influence on your Primary conversions. So theoretically this could be considered a conversion rate optimisation test.  You are trying to influence the ‘Rate’ of how many people click those banner adverts.

Optimisation
This is the simplest to explain and is likely apparent to all of you now. Optimisation in Conversion Rate Optimisation means improving something in order to improve the performance of your digital collateral, whatever that may be. Optimisation most commonly is linked to improving an aspect of your website to increase its conversion performance.

A one sentence explanation of CRO
Wikipedia sums it up in this way – “In internet marketing, conversion optimization, or conversion rate optimization (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.”

What Conversion Rate Optimisation is

  • Improving your digital statistics.
  • Finding out what your customers issues are online.
  • Discovering bottle necks to performance.
  • Understanding your customer journey better.


What Conversion Rate Optimisation isn’t

  • Guess work.
  • Opinion.
  • Preference of an individual.
  • Testing for the sake of testing (but don’t dismiss that either!).


Benefits of Conversion Rate Optimisation

  • More conversions!
  • Better customer experience
  • Happier customers
  • More opportunities for your marketing activity.
  • Improve ROI
  • Can improve customer loyalty and retention


How do you approach CRO?

Conversion Rate Optimisation starts and ends with data. In the middle there is… data. Too many times a website has been built or changed based on what someone likes rather than what the data tells you. If you are wanting to start your own conversion optimisation tests then the first place to look is your websites data. Typically a good starting point is your Google Analytics or third party tracking software. This should give you mountains of data to look through to start to formulate insight. While we aren’t about to list every step we take or how we do it (not because we’re secretive, but because it will take that long!), we can tell you that the most logical place to start is your conversion path. What do your customers do? What do they see? Where do they go on your website? Where do they leave? Goals and funnels in Analytics will help you with this. Then go through that journey yourselves. Not just once, but multiple times. Speak to your staff. Speak to your customers.

Decide on areas that could potentially hinder that customer journey. Think about how you could overcome them. Then test it. Here’s a tip. You might have a list of possibilities as long as your arm. Don’t test them all.

Now here’s the most important part. Measure EVERYTHING. It is pointless creating a CRO test if you do not properly measure it. What was performance like before? What was it afterwards? How did you measure it and how can you know if that data is reliable?

Common CRO Terminology

For those of you new to digital marketing we have compiled a list of common terms used in the digital industry. Look for all of these in your Google Analytics account (if you haven’t got one of those stop reading and go get one!).

CRO – Conversion Rate Optimisation (we hope we have answered this one!).

ROI – Return On Investment, how much you put into advertising Vs how much you get back out.

Basket Abandonment – The number of people that add a product from your website, but then do not complete the checkout process.

Conversion Funnel – The steps a customer goes through from arriving on site to completing the conversion.

A/B testing – When you have two variations and test one against the other.

Multivariate – When you have more than two changes or variations to test against each other.


Example Statistics
To help kick start you’re thinking around CRO we’ve put together some of the statistics you might want to look at to improve your overall performance online.

Conversion Rate – (Hopefully we have explained this for you).

CTR – Click Through Rate, The number of times someone could click something Vs how many times they have.

CPA – Cost Per Acquisition, The cost of each conversion you make as an average.

Bounce Rate – The number of people that go to your website and leave immediately without going anywhere else on site or doing anything else on site.

AOV – Average Order Value, is what is says on the tin!

Average Time on Site (see above!)


Summary
Hopefully this gives you a basic insight into what CRO testing is all about. In future articles we will provide more tips and ideas as well as share some of our own conversion optimisation tests with you. Hopefully we can help inspire online improvements for your business.

After all – You’ll never stop working on your business. Why should your website be any different?

If you would like to speak to Converted about CRO then drop us a line and speak to an expert today.

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