agency,conversion rate optimization

10 Google Analytics reports we love (and a couple gifs, too.)

  • Laurel
  • ON
  • February 25, 2019
Did you know there are over 78 standard reports in Google Analytics? And that’s before you create any custom reports.
You have limited hours in the day and a finite marketing budget. So it’s important to spend your resources analyzing data that can have a meaningful impact on your business KPIs and bottom-line.
So the question is: how do you know where to start?
We’ve compiled a few of our favorite reports to help you get started or dig deeper with Google Analytics. We recommend you open up Analytics and follow along with your own data as we explore these reports. You just may be surprised by what you find.

In this post, you’ll learn about the reports we love, how to access them within Analytics, and how to derive meaningful data to help your business succeed. At Brain Bytes Creative, we use Google Analytics in conjunction with other CRO tools. (If CRO tools peaked your interest, you should read about the CRO techniques + tools we love!)

P.S. If you’re new to CRO, we recommend reading about what CRO is and taking a look at our CRO glossary.

1. Landing Pages Report: Where are users landing on my site? How are they interacting with each landing page?

The landing page experience you serve your users dramatically influences what they do on your website.
When it comes to landing pages, the more you can align your pages with what users are looking for, the better. In fact, websites with 40 or more landing pages average twelve times more leads than sites with 5 or fewer.
Isn’t that wild? This is why you need to study which of your current landing pages are performing well.
  • How to get there: Behavior → Site Content → Landing Pages
  • What you’re looking for: This report is useful for seeing where users land on your site, and how they engage with the page they’ve landed on (and the site in general.) Specifically, look for these things in the Landing Pages report:
    • Pages that have a high bounce rate: A high bounce rate could indicate that the content on this landing page isn’t resonating with users. It may be too much info, not enough, or not the right content — meaning it could be higher or lower in the funnel or simply not what users are looking for.
    • Pages with a high session duration: A high session duration generally indicates that the landing page was engaging enough to encourage a user to stick around. Study the elements of the page to see what you can glean — and what you could test on other landing pages.
    • Pages that have a high conversion rate: If a specific landing page has a high ecommerce conversion rate, study it. What is unique about it? Does it have a lot of CTA’s? Is it short form or long form? Is the content specific or general? What kinds of visuals, multimedia and trust points are on the page? Note these elements, as you should test them on other landing pages.
    • Pages with a low conversion rate: A landing page with a low conversion rate is especially alarming when its a specific, lower-funnel landing page or when it’s a page that gets a lot of traffic. Take note and build out some tests to identify how you can better serve users.
    • Pages that get a lot of sessions: When you have a lot of landing pages where you can run tests, prioritize those with the most sessions.

2. Referrals Report: Where are my visitors coming from?

Understanding where your users are coming from when they land on your site will help you align your website with their desires.
Are your users finding you through google search? Display ads? Social media? It matters.
  • How to get there:  Acquisition → All Traffic → Referrals
  • What you’re looking for:  This report shows you how users are finding your site.

3. Organic Keywords Report: Which keywords are bringing traffic to my site?

Keywords are the cornerstone of search engine optimization (SEO), but did you know that they matter for CRO too?
Notice organic keywords are used to get traffic onto your site for free. They’re different than pay-per-click (PPC) keywords which are bid on.
  • How to get there:  Acquisition → Campaigns → Organic Keywords
  • What you’re looking for:  This report shows you which organic keywords are bringing traffic to your site, and how each segment of traffic is behaving.
    • Notice which keywords have the most users and sessions. This is where the bulk of your organic traffic is coming from. Based on their searches, can you tell what they’re looking for?
    • Which keywords have a high bounce rate? It’s likely those users aren’t finding what they need quickly on your site.

4. Source / Medium Report: What is the origin (example: google) and category (example: pay-per-click) of traffic arriving to my site?

Understanding the sources and mediums of traffic landing on your site, and how they interact with various landing pages, can give you valuable insights into how your users behave.
  • How to get there: Acquisition → All Traffic → Source Medium + add secondary dimension “Landing page”
  • What you’re looking for: This report is useful for seeing where users come from and how they interact with a site. We like to add landing page as a secondary dimension, like I’ve shown above. This allows us to study how users from various sources engage with particular landing pages. These are some specific things we like to take note of in the Source Medium report:
    • Source Medium / Landing Page pairs with High Bounce Rates: This could indicate that a landing page is not resonating for a particular group of users. The content could be misaligned with what they’re looking for, or the design could be making it hard for users to find what they need easily.
    • Source Medium / Landing Page pairs with Low Conversion Rates: Again, this could indicate that users are not finding what they’re looking for, or that you’re not presenting the content in a way that leads them to convert.
    • Source Medium / Landing Page pairs with High Conversion Rates: Take note of sources and landing pages that have high e-commerce conversion rates and see what you can learn. Are those landing pages long? Short? Detailed? Do they contain multimedia? What kinds of CTA’s do they have?

5. Behavior Flow Report: How are users navigating through my site?

One study showed that 47% of users look at the products/services page of a website before clicking around to other pages.
Do you know what the most common paths are for users to take on your site? How about which paths convert the highest? Are those paths the same or different? How can you make them more similar?
  • How to get there: Behavior → Behavior Flow
  • What you’re looking for: This report shows you how users navigate through your site. As you study the report, ask yourself:
    • What are the most popular paths users take? Are they leading to conversions?
    • Are users going straight to checkout or viewing multiple product pages?
    • Note: you can also filter for new vs. returning users and frequency vs. recency.

6. Mobile Overview Report: How are visitors interacting with my website when they use mobile devices?

This year mobile officially surpassed desktop use for the 1st time. The average American checks their phone every 12 minutes (which is 80x per day!) And according to the Pew Research Center, over half (51%) of Americans make purchases through their smartphones.
Even when your customers are in physical stores, use their phones as part of their decision making process. Now more than ever, you need to understand mobile-first CRO.
  • How to get there:  Audience → Mobile → Overview
  • What you’re looking for:  
    • How are mobile users behaving differently than those on desktop? How about tablet?
    • What percentage of your users are on mobile?
    • How does the bounce rate compare to desktop?
    • How about session duration and number of pages visited?
    • Conversion rate?
These data points can give you really important insight on how to optimize for your mobile audience.

7. Site Search Report: What are users searching on my site?

What are users searching for on your site? This report can give you enormous insight into what content you need to make more easily accessible for your users.
  • How to get there:  Behavior → Site Search
  • What you’re looking for:  
    • The million dollar question: What are your users looking for? What are some popular search terms?
Depending on what you discover, you may find that you need to make certain CTAs easier to find, or that you need to build out high or mid funnel content people are searching for.

8. “Converters” Visitor Segment: How do users who convert behave differently than those who don’t, leading up to their conversion?

It’s amazing to think about the data we have access to compared to marketers 20 or 30 years ago. In the 80s and 90s, marketers had to rely heavily on industry market research or commission expensive studies to get real data points. Or worse — rely on guesswork and hunches.
But today, that guesswork is replaced with data. We can isolate particular segments and study how they behave. For example, how to users who convert into customers behave differently than those who don’t?
  • How to get there:  Sign in → Reports → Add Segment → New Segment → Create a “Converters” segment. Then, go to the Behavior Overview report and add the Converters segment.  
  • What you’re looking for:  
    • What do users who convert have in common? Do they spend more time on the page? Less time? Do they visit more pages?
This should inform how you optimize your site: building more pages, adding more content, simplifying your design, etc. How you optimize should be based on the data you see here.

9. Multi-channel Funnels Report: How do micro conversions, previous referrals and searches lead to overall conversions?

The Google developers guide says “Multi-Channel Funnels reports are generated from conversion paths: the sequences of interactions (e.g. clicks/referrals from channels) that led up to each conversion and transaction.” Understanding these reports can help you understand the user journey of your customers.
  • How to get there:  Conversions → Multi-channel Funnels → Overview
  • What you’re looking for:  
    • What types of assisted conversions do you see?
    • How to various types of traffic: organic, direct, paid, referral, social and display contribute to conversions?  

10. Exit Pages Report: Which pages are my users last visiting before leaving my website?

Exit pages can show you where your users are dropping off. This can give you insight into what types of content you should add or how you can serve your users a better CTA or next step to keep them on your site.
  • How to get there:  Behavior → Site Content → Exit Pages
  • What you’re looking for:  
    • Which pages have the highest exit rates?
    • What types of content is on those pages? Is it high or low funnel?
    • What types of CTAs are you offering on those pages?

Phew! That was a lot. (Time for some high fives!) Hopefully now you have some great data jumping-off points to create some AB tests for your site.

Thinking about using an agency? Here are our tips for choosing a great CRO agency. Want to contact Brain Bytes Creative? You can do that here.

Thanks for reading! Hope it was helpful.
Sources
agency,conversion rate optimization,user experience

CRO Glossary

  • Laurel
  • ON
  • January 29, 2019

Ever feel like the digital marketing world is full of jargon? We created this glossary so you have the most popular conversion rate optimization terms in one place. No BS. Just straightforward definitions. Hope it’s helpful!

AB Testing: a method of website testing that compares two variations of a webpage, “A” and “B” to see which converts better. “A” is the control while “B” contains copy or design changes. Performance is measured using Key Performance Indicators, KPIs.  

ABn Testing: a subcategory of AB testing which compares three or more variations of a webpage, “A” “B” and “n” additional variations to measure which performs best. “A” is the control while the other variations contain copy or design changes. The more variations, the longer the test will take.

Above the fold: the top of a web page visible to users without scrolling. The fold cutoff is different for desktop, tablet and mobile devices. The term “above the fold” is adapted from print marketing, where “above the fold” refers to the top half of the front page of a newspaper, visible from a newsstand.

Banner: a prominent graphic display that stretches across a website. Banners are typically rectangular and are usually displayed across the top of a page. Banners can also appear on the sides or bottom.  

Banner blindness: a situation that often occurs as users learn to ignore information presented in the form of banners. Banner blindness causes users to skim over banners or mentally block them out.

Baseline: the data/metrics used as a starting point when comparing a webpage to a variation. Baseline data usually includes a mix of KPI’s (key performance indicators), TPI’s (tactical performance indicators) and LPI’s (leading performance indicators).

Bounce: to leave a website after visiting only the landing page.

Bounce rate: the percentage of visitors who leave a website after visiting only the landing page.

Buyer persona: a characterization of a typical or ideal customer based on qualitative and quantitative market research. While some characterizations may be imagined, buyer personas are based on real data and customer insights. They are used to help marketers create more relatable content and a better user experience.

Call to action (CTA): an “ask” that aims to induce a user to take a specific action that moves them closer toward conversion. Examples include:

  • “Buy Now”
  • “Click Here”
  • “Sign up today and receive 20% off”

Cart abandonment: a drop off that occurs when a user adds a product to their online cart but navigates away from the site before completing the purchase.

Churn rate: the percentage of users who don’t renew a subscription. Churn rate is often used as a KPI for ecommerce sites that are subscription-based and even B2B services like SaaS.

Click map: a visual map of a website that shows of how users interact with a given page. Click maps show which buttons, text and other elements users click on.

You may be wondering which is more important between on-page and off-page SEO and the truth is, you can’t have one without the other. If you have no content, there is nothing for people to link to, and if you have no links you have no credibility or reason for search engines to rank your content.

Clickthrough rate: the percentage of users who “click through” from a hyperlink or ad to a landing page, or from one page to another linked page within the site.

Confidence level: the percentage of all possible future cases that can be expected to have the same outcome as a test.  For example, if a variation outperforms an original webpage with 95% confidence level, we can expect that the new variation will outperform the original in 95% of cases.

Control page: the original webpage which is kept the same throughout an experiment, in order to keep a baseline of metrics and ensure changes to metrics in any variations are not due to an outside influence.

Conversion: a defined action taken by a user. Usually, this action moves the user from browsing closer toward converting. Examples include:

  • Purchasing a product
  • Subscribing to a newsletter
  • Downloading a whitepaper

Conversion rate: the percentage of users who take a defined action. Conversion rate is calculated by dividing conversions by total traffic.

CRO (conversion rate optimization): a set of methods used to increase the percentage of users on your website who convert.

Cookies: small text files that are stored in the user’s device. Cookies allow marketers to recognize users and track their preferences. Marketers use cookies to target specific users for particular experiments. For example, we may choose to show a particular webpage variation to returning users only.

CPA (cost per acquisition): a pricing model in where marketers pay for a desired action, for example, a form submit or purchase.

CPC (cost per click): a pricing model where marketers pay for each time their ad is clicked.

Cross selling: a tactic that increases sales by suggesting complementary products to a user who has already added products to their cart.

Decision fatigue: the deteriorating quality of decisions made by a user after a long session of decision making. Decision fatigue can cause users to bounce or exit a website.

Exit popup: a popup that displays when users start to navigate away from a website. Many exit popups include coupons designed to entice users to stay.

Exit rate: the percentage of visitors to leave a website from a given page, after possibly visiting more than one page on the site.

Experience optimization: a high-level approach to optimizing a customer’s experience across various channels. Experience optimization is holistic and encompasses CRO.

Eyeflow: the path where visitor’s eyes flow throughout the page. Studying eyeflow can help marketers discover which areas of a webpage are used often and which are ignored by users.

Form testing: a specific type of CRO testing that tests the elements of a form like length, design and copy in an effort to increase form fills.

Friction: any points in the customer journey that are annoying or cause frustration. Friction points make users less likely to convert.

Funnel: a marketing model based on a visual where customers move from the “top of the funnel” where they become aware of your brand to the “bottom of the funnel” where they convert.

Growth hacking: rapid experimentation across product research and development, sales and marketing to identify the most efficient ways to promote business growth.

Heatmap: a visual of a webpage that is overlaid with color to indicate how users interact with various elements. On most CRO software, areas with warm colors like red have high engagement and areas with cool colors like blue have low engagement.

Hero: the large banner image placed prominently above the fold on a webpage.

Hypothesis: a testable idea used as a starting point for further investigation. CRO hypotheses are based on quantitative web data and engagement metrics, as well as qualitative data from user testing.

Impression: the point at which an ad or piece content is displayed to a user. For example, if an ad appears 100 times in Google search results, there are 100 impressions.

You may be wondering which is more important between on-page and off-page SEO and the truth is, you can’t have one without the other. If you have no content, there is nothing for people to link to, and if you have no links you have no credibility or reason for search engines to rank your content.

Landing page: a page of a website accessed by clicking a hyperlink or ad. Historically, the landing page was most often the homepage. However, the best-performing landing pages are optimized to closely match user intent. High-converting sites often have many landing pages.

Lead generation: the initiation of consumer interest. For example, a user may become a lead when they click “request a demo.”

Leading Performance Indicators (LPI’s): secondary metrics used to track actions that eventually lead to KPIs. LPIs are more valuable than TPIs but less valuable than KPIs in terms of revenue.

Macro conversion: primary conversion goals; for example, purchasing a product.

Micro conversion: supporting conversion goals; for example, signing up for a newsletter.

Mobile first: the concept of designing or optimizing a page for mobile first before optimizing for desktop. Mobile first is becoming increasingly important as mobile use becomes more popular than desktop.

Multivariate testing: a testing style in which multiple variables are changed (as opposed to AB testing which isolates one variable). Multivariate tests are less precise but usually higher impact than AB tests.

Qualitative data: non-numerical data like survey responses and user feedback.

Quantitative data: numerical data like click rates, session duration or pageviews.

Responsive web design: website design that allows pages to adjust and display properly on a variety of devices and screen sizes.

Retargeting: a marketing tactic that involves using cookies to follow traffic who bounces from your website and targeting them again.

Sample size: the number of users needed to run your AB test until it reaches a desired statistical significance (usually 80-95%).

Segmentation: the act of dividing users into segments based on common traits; for example, mobile users or desktop users.  

SEO: Search Engine Optimization. SEO focuses on getting the right traffic to your website while CRO focuses on encouraging traffic already on your site to convert. The two work in synergy to optimize your website’s performance.

Session replay: an anonymized recording of a user interacting with a website. Session replays help marketers identify frustration points and create ideas for optimizing a page to better serve users.

Shopping cart abandonment (also called cart abandonment): occurs when a user adds a product to their cart but leaves the website before completing their purchase.

Social proof: In general terms, a phenomenon that occurs when people copy the actions of others. In digital marketing, social proof is the use of trust points like customer reviews, testimonials, social media mentions, etc, to make users more likely to convert.

Split testing: a broad term that encompasses AB testing and multivariate testing.

Split URL testing: a testing style where traffic is split between two different URLs of the same page, allowing marketers to test multiple design or copy elements at once.

Statistical significance: the level of certainty around whether a given test result is real (correlated with the change being tested) and not due to chance.

Tactical Performance Indicators (TPI’s): the lowest level of metrics used to track actions that eventually lead to LPIs and KPIs.

Trust icons: icons, logos or other symbols that boost a user’s confidence in a website. Examples of trust icons include an SSL certificate or McAfee logo.

UI: user interface; the way a user interacts with a computer or device. UI is more specific than UX.

Unique visitors: the number of unduplicated users who visit a site in a given time. If the same user visits two times, they will count as 1 unique visitor.

Upsell: the practice of introducing users to more expensive but similar items or add-ons. Examples could include an upgraded product or expedited shipping.

Usability: a website’s ease of use. Usability optimization is similar to CRO but nuanced in its focus. Usability optimization focuses on optimizing the user’s experience while CRO focuses on optimizing conversions. Usually the two go hand in hand.

User flow: the click path taken by a typical user from the moment they enter the website to the moment they convert.

User intent: what the user is looking for when they land on a page.

UX: user experience; the overall experience of a user as they interact with a brand. UX is broader than UI.

Value proposition: an feature intended to make a product or service more valuable to the user. The best value propositions can be communicated clearly and succinctly.

Variation: a web page that will be tested against the original. AB tests contain one change per variation page while multivariate tests contain many changes on a single variation page.

Whitespace: also known as negative space; the space between graphics, text blocks, CTA buttons and other design elements.  

Widget: a web application that makes it possible for a user to perform a function. Widgets can be used to add forms, live chats, etc.

conversion rate optimization

Ecommerce conversion rate optimization + 90’s fads: the most entertaining marketing guide you’ll ever read

  • Laurel
  • ON
  • December 20, 2018

I’m a ‘90s kid, which means I remember slap bracelets, Furbies, frosted tips, manually fast forwarding through commercials on my VHS player, and this AOL logo:

aol-logo--300x200

…and Beanie Babies, Wonderballs, Amanda, Please!, butterfly clips, my Lisa Frank lunchbox, Fresh Prince, Saved By The Bell, embroidered jeans, neon everything and “You’re watching Disney Channel.” I can keep going.

I also remember the first time my family ordered something off Ebay — and it came directly to our doorstep about a week later. Amazing.

Most of the novelties of my childhood have stayed in the ‘90s where they belong (goodbye, toe socks). But the movement toward ordering online isn’t going anywhere. 74% of Gen Z shoppers prefer online to brick and mortar. Millennials make over half of their purchases online. And 80% of Americans have purchased something online in the past month. Ecommerce is growing at a stunning rate.

To succeed in such a saturated market, you need a sound strategy. Because the competition is fierce. Users have seemingly endless choices online. There’s always somewhere else they can go. Did you know 38% of people say they’ll bounce immediately if they find your website’s layout unattractive? And 77% of users abandon their carts before checking out — perhaps because the checkout process is too complicated or cumbersome, you’re forcing your users to create an account, your site doesn’t look secure or your users discover hidden shipping costs.

#bye

The average ecommerce conversion rate is 1% – 2%. Which means for every 100 users who visit an ecommerce site, only 1 or 2 will actually become customers. But that’s on average. Your site can do better than that! And this is where CRO comes in.

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is a set of methods used to increase the percentage of users on your website who convert.

“Conversions” in ecommerce could mean:

  • Purchases
  • “Add to cart” clicks
  • “Add to wishlist” clicks
  • Subscribing to a newsletter

Let’s take a step back and think about your overall business goals. What do you need to be successful in ecommerce? Sales. So let’s focus on driving sales. There are many ways to drive sales — the most popular are paid search, ads, social, email and SEO. Each of these channels drives traffic to your site. That’s great. But it’s not enough unless they also convert.

Regardless of how you get traffic to your site (ideally a mix of paid and organic channels) you should always include CRO in your strategy. Because CRO aims to get traffic already on your site to convert. And the traffic on your site has the most potential: users are usually lower-funnel and have higher purchase intent than those seeing your brand somewhere else on the internet.

Convinced you need CRO yet? Let’s jump into it.

Here are some CRO things you should already be doing:

Include reviews

Not just any reviews. Go for detailed, product-specific ones. It’s also a best practice to include a 5-star rating visual – if you don’t have one, no lying, you’ll lose the trust of some customers.

Showcase trust points

Depending on your product and target audience, these can include media mentions, influencer endorsements, or industry awards.

Use detailed product descriptions

They should include all specs that users may be interested in. And they should be clear, succinct, and consistent with your brand voice.

This product description for Patagonia’s Women’s Better Sweater includes detailed specs and measurements, information about the material and how the sweater is made, as well as size info about the model for reference. The “read more” design keeps the product page and description streamlined.

Offer live chat, especially for complex products

92% of online customers say they are satisfied by live chat features (compared to satisfaction rates of 85% for email customer service, 84% for facebook messaging customer service and 77% Twitter customer service).

Capture email

Gotta catch ‘em all! All of the emails, that is. There are many ways to do this: at checkout, with a discount code popup, subscribe box, through survey submissions or a popup activated by exit intent, for example.

Include videos where you can

There are all kinds of creative ways to do this! Patagonia, for example, includes videos of retail associates talking about their clothes along with traditional static images. Other brands include videos of models styling them.

Cross sell with “customers also bought…” features

Cross selling is responsible for 10-30% of ecommerce sales!

Use discount codes

Shopify shared a stat last year that shop owners actively using discount codes are 8x more likely to make a sale.

Offer free shipping

With cart abandonment rates higher than the Radio Head in the summer of ‘97, the last thing you want to do is annoy a potential customer right before they’re about to make a purchase.

Allow guest checkout

And remember to capture their email.

Offer a streamlined checkout with a progress bar

A progress bar will help reduce cart abandons.

Track cart abandons and retarget

Visitors who abandoned their carts but are retargeted with a display ad are 70% more likely to convert. This is amazing in terms of ecommerce conversion rate optimization.

Already doing everything on this list?

Time to level up to some more sophisticated analytics and testing opportunities.

First, some analytics tools:

Scrollmap

Heat-map-blurred-300x109
  • What’s a scrollmap? A scrollmap is a type of heatmap that tracks how far users are scrolling on a page. You can set up scrollmaps for various pages of your site, and also mobile, tablet and desktop specific ones.
  • What you’re looking for: You’re looking to see how far users scroll. If you notice a lot of users dropping off at a particular place on the page, you may hypothesize that the content you’re showing at that point is not engaging or doesn’t align with what your users are looking for. Then, you can test alternative content. You should also look for any discrepancies between desktop and mobile scrollmaps, as this can give you insight into how desktop and mobile users are using your site differently. Also, take a look at how far users are scrolling. if your “buy now” button is lower on the page than a high percentage of where users scroll, you should move it higher.

Clickmap

click-map-blurred-300x108
  • What’s a clickmap? A clickmap is a hype of heatmap that tracks where users click. It’s a great way to visually understand which places on the page are enticing users to click. This type of data is super helpful when you’re trying to increase conversion rates for ecommerce.
  • What you’re looking for: Take note of any places where users are clicking that are not conversion-focused CTAs. This may indicate areas where you can build out content to push users down the funnel, or areas of prime real estate that should be used for a different, conversion-focused CTA. Also note areas where users aren’t clicking but you want them to. This can spark ideas for testing.

Analytics

There are all kinds of reports in Google Analytics. Here are a few of our faves for CRO.

1. Landing Pages
  • How to get there: Behavior → Site Content → Landing Pages
  • What you’re looking for: This report is useful for seeing where users land on your site, and how they engage with the page they’ve landed on (and the site in general.) Specifically, look for these things in the Landing Pages report:
    • Pages that have a high bounce rate: a high bounce rate could indicate that the content on this landing page isn’t resonating with users. It may be too much info, not enough, or not the right content — meaning it could be higher or lower in the funnel or simply not what users are looking for.
    • Pages with a high session duration: A high session duration generally indicates that the landing page was engaging enough to encourage a user to stick around. Study the elements of the page to see what you can glean — and what you could test on other landing pages.
    • Pages that have a high conversion rate: If a specific landing page has a high ecommerce conversion rate, study it. What is unique about it? Does it have a lot of CTA’s? Is it short form or long form? Is the content specific or general? What kinds of visuals, multimedia and trust points are on the page? Note these elements, as you should test them on other landing pages.
    • Pages with a low conversion rate: A landing page with a low conversion rate is especially alarming when its a specific, lower-funnel landing page or when it’s a page that gets a lot of traffic. Take note and build out some tests to identify how you can better serve users.
    • Pages that get a lot of sessions: When you have a lot of landing pages where you can run tests, prioritize those with the most sessions.
2. Source / Medium
source-medium-not-blurred-300x119
  • How to get there: Acquisition → All Traffic → Source Medium + add secondary dimension “Landing page”
  • What you’re looking for: This report is useful for seeing where users come from and how they interact with a site. We like to add landing page as a secondary dimension, like I’ve shown above. This allows us to study how users from various sources engage with particular landing pages. These are some specific things we like to take note of in the Source Medium report:
  • Source Medium / Landing Page pairs with High Bounce Rates: This could indicate that a landing page is not resonating for a particular group of users. The content could be misaligned with what they’re looking for, or the design could be making it hard for users to find what they need easily.
  • Source Medium / Landing Page pairs with Low Conversion Rates: Again, this could indicate that users are not finding what they’re looking for, or that you’re not presenting the content in a way that leads them to convert.
  • Source Medium / Landing Page pairs with High Conversion Rates: Take note of sources and landing pages that have high e-commerce conversion rates and see what you can learn. Are those landing pages long? Short? Detailed? Do they contain multimedia? What kinds of CTA’s do they have?
3. Behavior flow
behavior-flow-blurred--300x131
  • How to get there: Behavior → Behavior Flow
  • What you’re looking for: This report shows you how users navigate through your site. As you study the report, ask yourself:
  • What are the most popular paths users take? Are they leading to conversions?
  • Are users going straight to checkout or viewing multiple product pages?
  • Note: you can also filter for new vs. returning users and frequency vs. recency.
Based on the data you find, build out some testing ideas. Here are some good ones for ecommerce to get you started:
  • Multi-step vs one-step checkout style
  • Price points
  • Sticky vs fixed navigation
  • Number of items in the navigation
  • Short vs long landing pages
  • Button colors
  • Button copy
  • Header copy
  • Static vs scrolling hero
  • Imagery style: people vs products
  • Orientation of photos
  • Video thumbnails
  • Fonts and typography
  • Popup styles
  • Discount/promo codes

Depending on the complexity of your tests and how many variables you want to isolate, here are some testing styles to choose from:

AB test
  • What is an AB test? AB testing compares two versions of a webpage, A and B, to see which one performs better. Performance is defined by KPIs like conversions and bounce rates.
  • When to use this type of test: To isolate one variable — for example, testing one color CTA button against another.
ABn test
  • What is an ABn test? A spinoff of an AB test, ABn testing simply adds another variable, so you test variations A, B, C, D etc against the original.
  • When to use this type of test: When testing two or more variations of the same element &mdash for example, three versions of hero copy.
Split (multivariate) test
  • What is a split test? A split test (also called a multivariate tests) tests two entirely different pages against each other, as opposed to one simple element being changed. The variation page will contain many different elements than the first.
  • When to use this type of test: For more complicated tests with many variables (like a short form vs long form landing page). Split testing is high impact but with less precision — you won’t know which particular change caused a lift or dip in ecommerce conversions, but you can figure this out later with isolation tests.

Two quick notes as you’re testing:

First, remember that failure is an essential part of success when it comes to CRO experimentation. Read about How to Fail Well with CRO here.

Also remember to consider mobile. If your site gets more mobile than desktop traffic, start with mobile testing first. At Brain Bytes Creative, we often run mobile-specific and desktop-specific tests. You can read more about Mobile-first CRO testing here.

I hope this guide has been helpful and has given you some tools to increase your e-commerce conversion rates.

Time to set these testing ideas in action and get some actionable results.

Thanks for reading!

Sources:
conversion rate optimization

CRO (conversion rate optimization) techniques and tools

  • Laurel
  • ON
  • November 1, 2018

A quick Google search for “conversion rate optimization tools” yields 25.2 million results (and counting). Skimming each of these articles would take 45,567 years. There’s no shortage of information when it comes to CRO — the internet is full of ads and articles. Perhaps rightly so, as CRO is one of the most high-impact strategies you can use to make your website traffic more profitable.

But if you’re new or new-ish to CRO, it’s hard to sift through the information out there and know where to start. The paradox of choice is a fact of our modern society. From the 36 brands of toothpaste available at your average supermarket to endless scrolling on dating apps, we have so many choices it can easily become paralyzing at worst and frustrating at best.

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My goal in writing this article is to outline everything you need to know to get started in CRO. I’ve distilled the most popular ideas out there into two succinct lists — techniques and tools — with some great jumping-off points.

Keep in mind CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization) is a set of methods used in digital marketing to increase the percentage of users on your website who convert.

At a high level, there are five phases of the CRO process: scrutinizing, hypothesizing, testing, implementing and reporting. This article focuses heavily on scrutinizing and testing. I’ll summarize the best basic CRO techniques (scrutinizing), then share the pros and cons of the most popular CRO tools (testing).

The best basic CRO techniques

A quick note: Before you get started with these techniques, it’s a good idea to audit your site for basic UX best practices and “low-hanging fruit” — quick improvements that help a site convert better. After those changes have been implemented, move on to building your CRO process with these techniques.

CRO is focused on making the traffic you already have more profitable. The following techniques are ways to gain insight into user frustration and friction that keep users from converting.

Analyzing click maps. What we’re analyzing: Where users are clicking. Take note of any places where users are clicking on something (an image perhaps) thinking it is a button when it actually isn’t, and also any buttons that aren’t getting many clicks. Also notice which navigation terms, links, videos or other multimedia users are clicking.

Analyzing scroll maps. What we’re analyzing: How far users are scrolling. This gives us insight into how well the page aligns with user expectations and how engaging the content and design are.

Watching session replays. What we’re analyzing: Specific examples of user frustration. Session replays are useful for finding nuanced insights that would be overlooked when looking at other types of data.

Tracking goals in Google Analytics. What we’re analyzing: Whether and how often users complete specific actions. An example of a Goal would be signing up for a newsletter or filling out a form to request a demo.

Analyzing acquisition in Google Analytics. What we’re analyzing: Customer journeys. Acquisition shows us where users are coming from and how they’re finding our site. We can also see which pages they’re navigating to.

Comparing bounce rates across pages in Google Analytics. What we’re analyzing: Which pages users stay on, and which ones they bounce from. A page with a high bounce rate is not engaging or does not match what users are looking for.

Comparing mobile vs. desktop traffic in Google Analytics. What we’re analyzing: Which types of devices users are using to search your site. This will help prioritize testing efforts.

Analyzing forms & cart abandonment. What we’re analyzing: Where users are abandoning their carts, and which fields are taking them a long time to fill out.

Using customer feedback. What we’re analyzing: Survey data, reviews, customer service tickets, or insights from your sales team. Reviews are a good place to look for key value props and support tickets are a good place to learn about user frustrations.

The best CRO tools

These are some of the CRO tools and resources we’ve found most effective in our experience.

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We consider Google Analytics a given, as it compliments other CRO tools on this list and is the best source for quantitative data about your site!

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Pros: We love Freshmarketer and it’s the tool we use most here at Brain Bytes Creative. It’s a comprehensive CRO tool with excellent customer support.

Cons: Some users have run into complications when integrating with Magneto.

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Pros: Hotjar is another comprehensive CRO tool offering heat maps, click maps and session replays.

Cons: Users have run into issues with the surveys feature and with CSS integration.

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Pros: CrazyEgg is probably the most comprehensive tool when it comes to heat mapping, offering several different interfaces to suit your preferences.

Cons: Some users complain about the lack of pricing options.

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Pros: Kissmetrics is extremely comprehensive, and even offers email automation tailored to a user’s behavior.

Cons: Some users complain that the set up is not intuitive and the user interface could be friendlier.

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Pros: Optimizely is a comprehensive CRO tool with a simple interface.

Cons: Users complain that the pricing structure isn’t great for small businesses.

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Pros: Unbounce has an excellent user interface and customer support. You can create an AB test in a few clicks.

Cons: Users mention the pricing is a barrier for small businesses, and that the reporting is sometimes lacking.

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Pros: AB Tasty is an all-in-one CRO tool with great customer service.

Cons: Some users mention that you should to have technical knowledge and coding skills to get the most out of this tool.

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Pros: Usertesting.com gives you immediate feedback about your website from a panel of real people acting as users.

Cons: The audience is broader than your actual website’s audience.

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Pros: Google content experiments is a simple way to run AB and ABn tests.

Cons: This tool is good for testing but it does not provide robust insight into heat maps, scroll maps, session replays, etc.

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed this article. Ready to give your conversions a lift? Brain Bytes Creative offers specialized conversion rate optimization services using funnel analysis, user flow optimization, heatmapping, session replays, form analytics, and optimization, and of course, A/B testing. Read more about our CRO services or contact us!

conversion rate optimization

How CRO (conversion rate optimization) can boost sales + leads for your startup

  • Laurel
  • ON
  • October 29, 2018

First things first — what is Conversion Rate Optimization?

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is a set of methods used to increase the percentage of users on your website who convert and become customers, or take the next step toward becoming customers (by requesting a demo, for example.)

You may have heard of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) which focuses on driving traffic to your site. CRO focuses on taking traffic your site already has, and making it more profitable.

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A conversion is any action you want your user to take, moving them down the marketing funnel. Examples of conversions clicking a “buy now” button, requesting a demo, joining a mailing list, or even downloading a whitepaper. You can read more about Conversion Rate Optimization here.

In my “What is CRO?” article, I shared an example illustrating how CRO can impacts sales and leads. It went something like this:

Let’s say your website gets 10,000 visitors per month and your conversion rate is 4%. This means your site currently brings in 400 conversions each month. Now, let’s say our goal is to double that number.

Remember Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is focused on driving visitors to your site and Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is focused on helping those users convert and conversion rate = the number of conversions (clicks, purchases, sign-ups etc.) divided by the number of visitors to your website.

If you rely on SEO alone, we will have to increase your monthly visitors from 10,000 to 20,000 to achieve our goal. But if we also use CRO to increase the percentage of visitors who convert, it’s much more feasible to double our sales. Increasing your conversion rate and monthly visitors each by 33% will lead to the same doubled conversions, and leave room for even further optimization.

Enough math. The point is, you can make the most of the traffic you already have while creating space for even further growth. Perfect for helping you reach aggressive sales goals in the startup space.

Does CRO matter for startups?

We all know certain things are true about startups. Long hours. Little sleep. Lots of coffee. An office culture so laid back and fun all your friends are jealous. You’re not a regular office. You’re, like, a cool office.

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Sorry, couldn’t resist.

A fun office and long hours aren’t the only things that define startup culture. Shoestring marketing budgets and a need for quick growth are also part of the deal.

This is where CRO comes in. If you’re deciding where to allocated limited funds, you should know that CRO is extremely cost effective. Because it takes traffic you already have and makes it more profitable, CRO efforts tend to have large ROIs. It’s easier to convert people who are already on your site into customers.

I like to think of a brick-and-mortar analogy. Investing in CRO is akin to setting up your store in a beautiful way and providing excellent sales associates to help shoppers find what they need. Other types of digital marketing like SEO or paid search could be likened to making your storefront beautiful or advertising around town in this analogy.

So, when should you invest in CRO to get the most bang for your buck? We recommend starting a CRO program 3-6 months prior to product launch. In the months leading up to the launch, the program should focus on making sure UX best practices and low-hanging fruit have been implemented across your site. Tracking of various conversion metrics and a deep analysis of your target audience should also be conducted during this time.

Then, once your product is launched, your CRO team (whether outsourced to an agency or in-house) should focus on scrutinizing your audience’s behavior through heatmaps, click maps, Google analytics data and goal tracking. The insights from the data scrutinization phase will inform which AB or ABn tests you launch first.

If your startup is following a growth hacking strategy, CRO will fit seamlessly into your efforts, as conversion optimization is cost effective and experimental by nature. If you’re into growth hacking, you may favor multivariate tests over traditional AB or ABn tests. Multivariate tests involve changing multiple variables at once instead of isolating each variable in its own test. While the results are not as precise (for example, if you see a lift in conversions, you won’t be able to pinpoint which change to attribute the lift to), they tend to run a lot faster than AB tests.

Note: Because it’s a buzzword and buzzwords are often misunderstood, I want to be explicit that when I say growth hacking, I’m talking about rapid experimentation across lots of marketing channels. In general, growth hacking includes experimentation across the marketing funnel, sales funnel and product development. In this context, I’m focusing on the marketing funnel, and more specifically the digital marketing funnel, where growth hacking can involve testing across many channels: social media, influencer marketing campaigns, email, paid search, website, etc.

CRO optimizations you can do yourself

Before working with an agency, there are certain CRO optimizations you can make for yourself, if you’d like. I’ll walk you through some UX best practices and some questions we ask at Brain Bytes Creative to help uncover “low-hanging fruit.” Finally, I’ll share a few metrics you should be tracking.

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Before we jump into these, I want to point out the distinction between UX and CRO. it’s important to remember CRO and UX Optimization are interrelated, but not quite the same.

Because CRO is experimental by nature, there are no “CRO best practices.” There are, however, UX best practices that will improve your user experience and will almost always lift conversions.

In general, we can define CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization) as a set of methods used to in digital marketing to increase the percentage of users on your website who convert.

UX (User Experience) Optimization, on the other hand, is a set of methods used in digital marketing to improve a user’s perception of their online experience, including ease of use and efficiency.

UX best practices

Here are a few UX best practices to help you get started:

  • The conversion you’re designing for (a purchase, demo request, etc.) should be the most obvious call-to-action (CTA) on the page.
  • Revenue-driving CTA’s should be designed as buttons (as opposed to links or clickable images) and should contrast against the background color.
  • CTA copy should be clear and action-oriented.
  • Typography should be easy to read and hyperlinks should be a different color and underlined.
  • Forms should be optimized for conversions by removing any extraneous fields or any fields that cause users to pause before filling them out.
  • Trust points (industry awards, reviews, etc.) should be displayed prominently.
  • Read more on UX best practices…

Questions to uncover low-hanging fruit

Aside from implementing UX best practices, there are some questions you can ask yourself to uncover simple changes to improve your conversions. Keep in mind that each website has different users who behave differently. This is why CRO is experimental and allows you to optimize for your unique audience.

Low hanging fruit are optimizations which fix something on your site that is broken or very poorly designed. A low hanging fruit optimization will almost certainly lift conversions and can be implemented without AB testing. You may find that this list also sparks some ideas for AB, ABn or multivariate tests.

Website flow mapping is all about thinking of how users will navigate through your site. You add on layers of complexity as you think through how a user will navigate through every page of your website. Many website companies and their clients believe that people go to your homepage first. That could not be more wrong. People arrive on your site by searching Google for a specific keyword and land on a related page. This is why at our agency we see every page as its own “homepage.” By looking at your website holistically, we can control what happens when someone lands on any page and push them into a sales funnel where appropriate so they convert. The next time you are doing a web search, think about where you are landing. Take note. You’ll see that understanding how users navigate though the site is critical to conversions, goal completions, and revenue.

Here are some questions to help you uncover low hanging fruit:

  • Will a user understand your value prop as soon as they land on a page?  
  • Is your copy clear, easy to read and optimized for the target reader?  
  • Does the design guide the eye to areas we hope to emphasize?
  • Does the call-to-action stand out?
  • Look at how engagement metrics have changed over time. What can we learn?
  • Imagine you are the user. Would you choose us or a competitor? Why?
  • Read more on CRO low hanging fruit…

Metrics you should be tracking

These are the basics. If you don’t have these set up, stop and go do it now. Thank me later. There are all kinds of metrics to track, but be sure that at the bare minimum, you’re tracking these:

  • Goals in Google Analytics for revenue-driving conversions
  • Bounce rate
  • Exit rate
  • New vs. returning users
  • Traffic and where it’s coming from (referral traffic)

When to hire an agency

I would never try to oversell CRO just to generate another lead. Many of us at Brain Bytes Creative are entrepreneurs ourselves. From food trucks (waffles! Fancy mac + cheese!) to video production companies , what can we say? We’re passion project people.

We’re transparent and we know what it’s like to build something from the ground up. So instead a CRO sales pitch, I’m going to share some “warning signs” that indicate you could heavily benefit from CRO, along with some tips for choosing an agency if you decide that’s the right decision for you.

I mentioned earlier that we typically recommend starting a CRO program 3-6 months prior to product launch.

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Ok, we know launching really looks more like this:

But what if you’re a more established startup?

While almost every site can benefit from CRO, there are some metrics that indicate you are a key candidate.

  • You are an ecommerce company (in this case, we always recommend having a CRO program).
  • You’ve recently seen sales or leads plateau.
  • Your site has high traffic but a relatively low conversion rate.
  • Your website has high cart abandonment rates.
  • Your site was designed more than a year or two ago and/or wasn’t designed with mobile and tablet users in mind.

If you decide to work with an agency, we’ve compiled some of our tips for choosing which agency to hire. You can read our full list here, but I’ve pulled out some that are most important for this context.

  • You should choose an agency that is credible and can provide case studies and testimonials.
  • Also, they should be data-driven, looking to data to inform each part of their strategy. You don’t want to work with an agency that relies on blind hunches.
  • Another thing that’s especially important for CRO is to find an agency that openly shares failures, takes risks, and knows how to fail well.

I hope you enjoyed this article and found it helpful. Thanks for reading, and happy CROing!

Ready to give your conversions a lift? Brain Bytes Creative offers specialized conversion rate optimization services using funnel analysis, user flow optimization, heatmapping, session replays, form analytics, and optimization, and of course, A/B testing. Read more about our CRO services or contact us!

conversion rate optimization

UX (user experience) best practices + debunking the CRO best practices myth

  • Laurel
  • ON
  • October 22, 2018

If you’re new to CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization), you may be Googling around for some best practices to follow. If you’ve been doing conversion optimization for a while, you may be thinking “Wait — I’ve heard there’s no such thing as CRO best practices.”

So which is it? Are there best practices for CRO or not?

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The truth is that CRO is experimental — which means it can’t be standardized in a way that creates a simple set of best practices.  A best practice is one that can be considered the standard or most correct practice across the board for a particular industry, and with CRO, we’re always solving to find the most effective combination of copy, layout and design for a particular website experience. Conversion optimizations uncovered by analysis and testing will be specific to your website and audience, so they’re not really best practices. There is no standard right way to optimize for conversions.

But don’t bounce quite yet! There are some design-related practices that will almost always help improve your user experience. In most cases these will also increase conversions. Let’s call them UX best practices. Additionally, most sites have “low-hanging fruit” — quick improvements that help a site convert better. Our CRO team has some key questions we ask ourselves when working with new websites here at Brain Bytes Creative to help uncover low-hanging fruit. You may find them to be good jumping-off points. In this article I’ll share our top UX optimizations as well as the questions we use to uncover low-hanging fruit. Together, these should be great starting points if you are new to CRO or simply looking for a more structured approach to your CRO practice.

UX best practices

Imagine the worst online buying experience you’ve ever had. What were you trying to buy? What frustrated you? Maybe you had to click around a lot to find what you were looking for. Maybe you found the product page only to see that it was sold out. Or maybe right after you landed on the site, a large popup — my favorite *this is sarcasm* —  asked you to join an email list. Did you bounce and go to a competitor site or stick around to buy the product? Even if you stuck around, I’m guessing your brand loyalty probably decreased.

My point is this: CRO is closely tied to UX because the percentage of users who convert on a website is related to their perception of their online experience. Still, it’s important to remember CRO and UX Optimization are not quite the same. They’re interrelated but distinguishable.

In general, we can define CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization) as a set of methods used to in digital marketing to increase the percentage of users on your website who convert.

UX (User Experience) Optimization, on the other hand, is a set of methods used in digital marketing to improve a user’s perception of their online experience, including ease of use and efficiency.

A solid approach to CRO encompasses UX best practices, so let’s dive in.  (Please note: This is not a comprehensive list of UX best practices by any means, just some we come across often in our CRO analysis.)

  • Design hierarchy is key. Think about what your users see first when they land on your page. Make sure to include your most compelling value props and your main call-to-action (CTA) above the fold.
  • The conversion you’re designing for (a purchase, demo request, etc) should be the most obvious CTA on the page. Any other CTA’s (signing up for a newsletter or watching a video for example) should be smaller and call less attention to themselves.
  • The most important conversion-oriented CTA’s should be designed as buttons (as opposed to links or clickable images) and should contrast against the background color.
  • Make sure your user is not overwhelmed by too many CTA’s or possible click paths. Include those they are likely looking for, and those you want them to take.
  • Typography should be easy to read and hyperlinks should be a different color and underlined. (Making this one change increased clicks by 24.93% for one of our clients.)
  • CTA copy should be clear and action-oriented.
  • Above-the-fold copy should speak to value props, be easy to read and be action-oriented.
  • Forms should be optimized for conversions by removing any extraneous fields or any fields that cause users to pause before filling them out.
  • Contact info (support, phone number, form, etc) should be easily available.
  • Trust points (industry awards, reviews, etc) should be displayed prominently.
  • The design should be simple to navigate; competing visual cues and districting elements should be minimized.
  • The content should be robust enough to give users all of the information they need before deciding to convert.

A quick note: There’s a lot of talk about testing in the CRO world. This is because each website’s audience is different. The practices mentioned in this section, however, aren’t really things you need to AB test. If your site is missing any of these, go right ahead to implementation.

Another thing to keep in mind is that UX optimization generally favors the most beautiful design, because beautiful designs improve a user’s perception of their online experience. However, not all beautiful sites convert well. And in fact, the highest converting sites are often not the most beautiful. I always think of Amazon, one of the highest converting sites ever.

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It’s not bad, but I can think of other sites with more beautiful designs. Apple is a UX dream come true.

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So is Epicurious, winner of a 2018 Webby award.

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This is where the distinction between UX and CRO becomes important. Sometimes beautiful sites convert well, but sometimes they don’t. From a CRO perspective, you should think about usability first and beauty second.

Uncovering “low-hanging fruit”

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Aside from implementing UX best practices, there are some questions you can ask yourself to uncover simple changes to improve your conversions. Keep in mind that each website has different users who behave differently. (Note: This list is not meant to be comprehensive, just some great questions to ask as you begin optimizing homepages, landing pages and other high-converting pages.)

  • Will a user understand your value prop as soon as they land on a page?  
  • Is your copy clear, easy to read and optimized for the target reader?  
  • Does the design guide the eye to areas we hope to emphasize? Does the call-to-action stand out?
  • What is important to the customer? How can you back this up with qualitative (survey) data, quantitative (analytics) data, heatmap and click data?
  • Look at how engagement metrics, such as bounce and click rate, have changed over time. What can we learn?
  • Is the sale simple, medium or complex? Does the amount of info presented on the page reflect the complexity of the sale?
  • Imagine you are the user. Would you choose us or a competitor? Why?

Thank you for reading! Hope this article was helpful. Looking to give your conversions a lift? Brain Bytes Creative offers specialized Conversion Rate Optimization services using funnel analysis, user flow optimization, heat mapping, session replays, form analytics, and optimization, and of course, A/B testing. Click here to read more about our services or contact us!

conversion rate optimization

CRO case study: how we skyrocketed lead gen by 63.83%

  • Laurel
  • ON
  • October 10, 2018

Ever wondered about the impact conversion rate optimization could have on your business? Or whether CRO is all it’s cracked up to be? We’re here to answer your questions. This case study explains how Brain Bytes Creative skyrocketed lead generation for an orthodontics supplier by 63.83% in less than one year using a multifaceted Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) Strategy involving:

  • A data-driven hypothesis
  • The scientific method
  • AB testing
  • An iterative process for continual optimization

A glimpse at the data:

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Read on to learn about our strategy, process and results.

Untapped potential

As part of our ongoing analyzation, the CRO team at Brain Bytes Creative looks at qualitative data like customer surveys and session replays as well as quantitative data — click rates, scroll data, on-page analytics. Looking at on-page analytics, we noticed the conversion rate for a particular product category was relatively low, 0.15%.

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Before deciding what to test, we looked deeper into our observation used several methods of analysis:

  • Page analytics (drop-off rate, bounce rate, time on page, etc.)
  • Analysis of design elements, copy, visual cues, placement of CTA’s on the page
  • Session replays of users interacting with the site
  • Heat mapping with scroll and click data

Our hypothesis

The most insightful data we found through our analysis were the high bounce and drop-off rates from pages in this product category, as well as indications of user frustration during session replays. From this data, we crafted two hypotheses:

  1. Featuring a “Request More Info” button on each individual product page (in addition to the one in the main navigation) will increase form submissions (leads)
  2. Moving the contact form fields above the fold on mobile will reduce user frustration and increase form submissions (leads).

Results: data doesn’t lie

Once our hypothesis was created, we began our tests and let the data speak for itself. The results were clear: the new variations drastically outperformed the old one.

Before our recommendation was implemented, our client was missing out on lots of conversions from pages that didn’t have “Request Information” buttons — many desktop pages and all mobile pages. By optimizing the design to introduce a next step for users, we increased overall and mobile conversions by ↑63.83%.
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The bottom line: ROI + business impact

Assuming the average lead is worth $500, we increased revenue by $15,000 in just three months… an impressive ROI for our client.

Numbers like this are hugely impactful, but not surprising given the amazing potential that CRO holds for a company’s bottom line. In fact, the average ROI for investing in a conversion rate optimization strategy is 223% according to this study which evaluated 3.1M websites.

In the world of doing business online, it’s hard to imagine a strategy that correlates more directly to business success than increasing conversions. And it’s hard to imagine a better method for optimizing conversions than through iterative experimentation. Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO put it bluntly: “Our success at Amazon is a function of how many experiments we do per year, per month, per week, per day…”

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The Brain Bytes Creative strategic approach

The Brain Bytes Creative approach to CRO is experimentative, iterative, and data-driven. We work in cycles of scrutinizing data, creating hypotheses, testing, implementing the best-performing variations… and return again to the first step of monitoring and scrutinizing data.

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This means that while the example in this case study yielded significant results, it’s just a small glimpse into what our ongoing iterative approach encompasses.

What’s next?

Thanks for reading! Hope you learned something and enjoyed this case study. Ready to give your conversions a lift? Brain Bytes Creative offers specialized conversion rate optimization services using funnel analysis, user flow optimization, heatmapping, session replays, form analytics, and optimization, and of course, A/B testing. Read more about our CRO services or contact us!

conversion rate optimization

Conversion rate optimization: What is it, and why does it matter?

  • Laurel
  • ON
  • September 14, 2018

What is conversion rate optimization?

What would you say if I told you I could help you increase clicks on a button on your website 71.2% simply by editing the copy? Or increase clicks on a link 24.93% by changing the formatting of the text? Better yet, what if I told you I could increase conversions by 46.95%, making the page 19.99% more valuable?

You would probably think I was full of s**t. But these are real numbers from Brain Bytes Creative clients. That’s the potential of a strong Conversion Rate Optimization strategy. I’m going to tell you everything you need to know about the basics of CRO, how it impacts your bottom line, and how to know when you can benefit from a focused CRO strategy. Here we go.

Everything you need to know about CRO in 100 words

You’re busy, and the internet is full of long articles about Conversion Rate Optimization. Let me save you some time. I am going to tell you what you need to know about CRO from a 3,000-foot view in the next 100 words:

In digital marketing, Conversion Rate Optimization is a set of methods used to increase the percentage of users on your website who convert.

A conversion can mean that the user becomes a customer, or more broadly, takes any action which brings them further in the funnel, one step closer to becoming a customer. This can include requesting a demo, joining a mailing list, downloading a whitepaper, to name a few.More specifically, CRO tests headlines, design, color, call-to-action, layout, and copy variations to create the best-performing sites.

At Brain Bytes Creative, we know that CRO is experimental by nature. Yes, there are best practices, but each industry and each website has different users who behave differently. Because of this, we use a variety of techniques to understand and optimize each of our clients’ websites including:

  • user flow analysis
  • heat maps showing where users click and how far they scroll
  • session replays showing user frustration
  • form analytics including drop-offs and fields that slow users down
  • A/B testing (of course!)

Interestingly, finding the best variations sometimes includes failure as a necessary part of the optimization process, which you can read about here.

How to know when you need CRO

Any website that has a call to action, whether it’s to request a demo, purchase a product or subscribe to a newsletter, can benefit from Conversion Rate Optimization. That said, there are several factors which make your site an especially strong candidate for a huge ROI. I like to think of these as “warning signs” that you need CRO urgently. Here they are:

Your site has high traffic but a relatively low conversion rate.

If your site has a lot of monthly visitors, congrats! That’s something to be celebrated. But it’s not enough on its own.

Here’s a simple illustration:

Imagine your company sells concert tickets (or sunglasses or roller skates or unicorns… let’s have fun with this!) Let’s say your website gets 10,000 visitors per month and your conversion rate is 4%. This means your site currently brings in 400 conversions each month. Now, let’s say you’re responsible for doubling that number. Yikes. That sounds daunting.

Keep in mind: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is focused on driving visitors to your site and Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is focused on helping those users convert.

Conversion rate = the number of conversions (clicks, purchases, sign-ups etc.) divided by the number of visitors to your website.

If you rely on SEO alone, you will have to increase your monthly visitors from 10,000 to 20,000 to achieve this goal. But if you also use CRO to increase the percentage of visitors who convert, you’ll find that it’s much more feasible to reach your goal. Increasing your conversion rate and monthly visitors each by 33% will lead to the same doubled conversions, and leave room for even further optimization.

Enough math. The point is, you can make the most of the traffic you already have while creating space for even further growth.

Your website has high cart abandonment rates.

Have you ever checked your site’s form analytics or watched session replays to see where users are dropping off in the conversion process? It’s one of my favorite ways to gain insights into user pain points. Knowing where a user is dropping off can be very telling of problems on your website.

If users are abandoning their shopping carts (or other forms, like demo request forms) it’s especially alarming. Because it means that the user was ready to convert but something about your website pushed them away. Yikes again.

Luckily, a solid CRO strategy that includes form analytics can turn these numbers around. For one of our clients here at Brain Bytes Creative, we increased Request an Appointment form fills by 46.95% and increased page value 19.99% by removing a form field.  (Read the full case study here.) Then we continued to analyze the form and increased form fills by an additional 7.01% for the same client by reordering form fields and editing the copy on the form. The results from these kinds of tests can be pretty amazing.

Your site was designed more than a year or two ago and/or wasn’t designed with mobile and tablet users in mind.

Technology and the way people interact with it is changing constantly. Since 2014, the percentage of internet users who are online using mobile or tablet has increased from 48% to 58% in 2017. That’s a ten percent increase in three years. Crazy.

This is why it’s necessary to continually optimize your site for conversions. For one of our clients whose site wasn’t mobile-optimized, the CRO team here at Brain Bytes Creative decreased bounce rate by 10% for mobile and 15% for tablet simply by removing an alert bar that detracted from the user experience.

If your website was designed three years ago, it was designed for people who were using the internet in a totally different way. Three years from now, it’s bound to be different again. A dated site, even if it’s a slightly dated one, is another red flag indicating that you are a prime candidate for CRO.

CRO can change your world — or at least, your bottom line.

What good is a site that doesn’t convert?

Imagine you’ve built a beautiful website. It’s beautifully branded, it has stunning graphics, clever copy, and loads quickly. It even ranks high on search engines and gets lots of monthly visitors. You’ve undoubtedly spent lots of resources on this beautiful site… but why does any of that matter if your site doesn’t drive users to purchase your product, request a demo, or at least join a mailing list?

Obviously, a beautiful site is not very helpful unless it is bringing in business. The good news is a strong Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) strategy can fill that gap. A strong strategy includes experimenting with various changes and iterating through those changes, optimizing your site based on which changes perform well. Over time, small changes lead to big results.

I hope this article was helpful! Looking to give your conversions a lift? Brain Bytes Creative offers specialized Conversion Rate Optimization services using funnel analysis, user flow optimization, heatmapping, session replays, form analytics, and optimization, and of course, A/B testing. Click here to read more about our services or contact us!

conversion rate optimization

How to fail well with CRO (conversion rate optimization)

  • Laurel
  • ON
  • August 7, 2018

Picture this. You’ve built a website. It’s a pretty good site. It’s easy to navigate, explains your product offering well and is nice to look at. It’s performing alright. You’re getting good traffic and a fair percentage of your users convert. You’ve implemented things that are considered best practices in the conversion rate optimization world: you have prominent calls to action, your button colors contrast against the background, and the copy is clear.

But you sense there’s still untapped potential. There’s room for improvement. You want to see your conversions lift.

This is where learning to fail well becomes important. To see the conversion lifts you’re looking for, you have to embrace taking risks. If you only test small changes you’re pretty sure will improve your site, you miss out on the opportunity to test bigger changes that could be really impactful. Bigger risks often lead to bigger lifts.

conversion-rate-optimization-risks

The first step in failing well: take risks

You’ve probably heard the quote “In order to succeed spectacularly, you have to be willing to fail spectacularly,” by Biz Stone, the founder of Twitter. At Brain Bytes Creative, we live by this mantra: fail spectacularly. We’ve built a culture that celebrates failing well — because we know it’s the only way to big success.

Conversion rate optimization is experimental by nature, and experimentation always involves an element of risk and uncertainty. Successful CRO programs are built around the concept of testing. As CRO specialists, we gather insights based on UX and marketing insights, then test website changes, monitoring the results until they reach a statistical significance. We obsess over the data and get excited when we see lots of green arrows. It’s exciting to help our clients succeed.

As much as we love seeing green numbers, we also celebrate losing tests. Why? Because they teach us stuff about our target audience. They help us redirect our efforts. Failed tests matter because of the marketing insights we learn from them.

This is the next key aspect of failing well: recognizing the value in failure. Because failing is learning.

Understand that failing is learning

Whether we’re A/B testing a blue call-to-action button vs. a green one, or testing shorter vs. longer copy, the most important part of a test is what we learn from it. This is why it’s vital to run tests that are designed to teach us something. How? By setting up tests properly so that a lift or dip in conversion can be attributed to a specific change, by running tests until they reach statistical significance and — this part is important — by accepting that having some failed hypotheses is part of the process. In fact, having a few fails means you’re probably testing the right hypotheses: those that are backed by data and UX / marketing best practices, but still teach you something you don’t know.

So how do you find valuable insights from a failed hypothesis? Here’s an example of a failed test we ran here at Brain Bytes and how we learned from it.

For context, our goal was to increase conversions (appointments scheduled) for an orthopaedic practice in the Southeast. We noticed that the CTA was below the fold and users had to scroll for a while before reaching it. Our hypothesis was that moving the “Schedule an Appointment” button higher on the page would increase appointments scheduled. We A/B tested it. And it failed.

For the variation that had a CTA above the fold, conversions actually decreased. Fewer users were scheduling appointments. When our test reached statistical significance, appointment schedule conversions were down 18% from the month before.

But we learned something valuable. We learned that for this product offering, customers needed to gather more information before they were ready to convert. It wasn’t only a matter of helping them quickly navigate to the “schedule appointment” button, but identifying and giving them all of the information they needed to feel comfortable before deciding to convert.

We moved the CTA back down on the page and watched conversions go back up. What was really valuable about this test was that it gave us deeper insight into our customer and their conversion journey. It shifted our focus to identifying what pieces of information they were looking for and presenting that info in a clear way, making the page easier to use and resulting in increased conversions.

So our test failed. We learned from it. What next?

Openly share CRO failures – internally and with clients

At Brain Bytes, we talk a lot about how our clients are partners. In any healthy partnership, both parties are working together toward the same goals. Nothing makes us happier than seeing our clients succeed. Because we want to support our clients and their success, we openly share failed tests with them. We share the red numbers. We share what we learned. And we share how we plan to take the insights we learned and turn them into new tests and actionable changes that will give our conversions a lift — and ultimately help our clients win.

What would you say if I told you I could help you increase clicks on a button on your website 71.2% simply by editing the copy? Or increase clicks on a link 24.93% by changing the formatting of the text? Better yet, what if I told you I could increase conversions by 46.95%, making the page 19.99% more valuable?

Looking to give your conversions a lift? Brain Bytes Creative offers specialized conversion rate optimization services using funnel analysis, user flow optimization, heatmapping, session replays, form analytics and optimization, and of course, A/B testing. Click here to read more about our services or contact us!