CRO (conversion rate optimization) techniques and tools

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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!

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