What is a Landing Page: A Beginner’s Guide to Generate Conversions

What is a landing page? And why should you create one? Landing pages are essential elements of any online marketing campaign. They’re designed to funnel traffic toward a specific action, such as buying a product or signing up for your email list. Some …

what-is-a-landing-page-introduction

What is a landing page? And why should you create one? Landing pages are essential elements of any online marketing campaign. They’re designed to funnel traffic toward a specific action, such as buying a product or signing up for your email list. Some businesses have dozens of landing pages. Others have just a handful. However, if you’re asking, “What is a landing page?” you’re already behind the competition. We’ll help you catch up. You probably already have a website. It has a homepage, an about page, a contact page, and perhaps a blog. However, some pages fall outside the primary...

The post What is a Landing Page: A Beginner’s Guide to Generate Conversions appeared first on The Daily Egg.

Tis the “Giving” Season: 6 Takeaways from Giving Tuesday 2018

The 2018 holiday giving season kicked off on November 27th with Giving Tuesday, the annual day dedicated to charitable philanthropy. The Chronicle of Philanthropy reports that Giving Tuesday raised approximately $380 million from four million people th…

The 2018 holiday giving season kicked off on November 27th with Giving Tuesday, the annual day dedicated to charitable philanthropy. The Chronicle of Philanthropy reports that Giving Tuesday raised approximately $380 million from four million people this year, a revenue increase of 27 percent from last year.

There were some game-changers this year that helped drive engagement and giving. Here are six insights from our observations about Giving Tuesday:

New Features in Illuminate: Impact Analysis, Enhanced Filters, Updated Dashboard & More

Since we launched Illuminate back in May, our team has been working around the clock to develop even more features to help optimization teams better organize experiments, report performance and maximize impact. Today, we’re excited to share a few of these with you. What’s new in Illuminate? Show impact and determine priority Use our new Impact […]

The post New Features in Illuminate: Impact Analysis, Enhanced Filters, Updated Dashboard & More appeared first on Brooks Bell.

Since we launched Illuminate back in May, our team has been working around the clock to develop even more features to help optimization teams better organize experiments, report performance and maximize impact. Today, we’re excited to share a few of these with you.

What’s new in Illuminate?

Show impact and determine priority

Use our new Impact Analysis to show the overall impact of your tests by page type and identify where you should be focusing your testing efforts.

Sort and filter by what matters most

Filter your tests by 15 attributes including target audience, page type, start and end date, KPIs, revenue impact and more. Not seeing what you need? Add your own using our new custom tagging feature.

Keep sight of the bigger picture

Our new dashboard view enables you to view your program’s overall performance or view performance by a specific team or line of business.

+ a new tiled layout

If you love a good masonry layout (á la Pinterest), then you’re going to love our updated experiment view. Easily switch between a basic list of your experiments or a super slick-looking tiled layout.

Many of these features were developed in response to feedback from our beta users, bringing more of Brooks Bell’s advanced experimentation methodologies directly into the software.

“With Illuminate, you’re not just getting another test repository,” said Suzi Tripp, Senior Director of Innovative Solutions at Brooks Bell. “You’re getting 15 years of experimentation expertise and proven frameworks to help you do more, and do it better.”

Interested in learning more about illuminate? Learn more on our website or schedule a demo using the form below.

The post New Features in Illuminate: Impact Analysis, Enhanced Filters, Updated Dashboard & More appeared first on Brooks Bell.

The Ultimate Ecommerce SEO Checklist for Brands in 2019

Let’s face it: most ecommerce traffic begins with a search engine — and 67% of that web traffic goes to the first five results… > Read More
The post The Ultimate Ecommerce SEO Checklist for Brands in 2019 appeared first on Retail Performa…

Let’s face it: most ecommerce traffic begins with a search engine — and 67% of that web traffic goes to the first five results... > Read More

The post The Ultimate Ecommerce SEO Checklist for Brands in 2019 appeared first on Retail Performance Marketing Blog - CPC Strategy.

Running conversion optimization experiments the right way with Chad Sanderson

Learn how to run conversion optimization experiments the right way. In this video, I sit down with Chad Sanderson, Program Manager on the Microsoft Experimentation Platform team, to discuss statistical testing, calculating sample size, and selecting the right tools to help you run statistically significant conversion optimization tests. Subscribe to our YouTube Channel  

The post Running conversion optimization experiments the right way with Chad Sanderson appeared first on CXL.

Learn how to run conversion optimization experiments the right way. In this video, I sit down with Chad Sanderson, Program Manager on the Microsoft Experimentation Platform team, to discuss statistical testing, calculating sample size, and selecting the right tools to help you run statistically significant conversion optimization tests.

[This post contains video, click to play]

Subscribe to our YouTube Channel

 

The post Running conversion optimization experiments the right way with Chad Sanderson appeared first on CXL.

Google Analytics 360: The Features Worth $150k a Year

For many, Google Analytics 360 is a black box. Marketing and sales collateral from Google is spartan, and common refrains about key features—like unsampled data—seem unworthy of a six-figure bill for most sites. That disconnect exists because many, myself included, have understood Google Analytics 360 primarily as an expansion of the data caps we encounter […]

The post Google Analytics 360: The Features Worth $150k a Year appeared first on CXL.

For many, Google Analytics 360 is a black box. Marketing and sales collateral from Google is spartan, and common refrains about key features—like unsampled data—seem unworthy of a six-figure bill for most sites.

That disconnect exists because many, myself included, have understood Google Analytics 360 primarily as an expansion of the data caps we encounter with the free version. As it turns out, those caps represent a fraction of overall value—like differentiating a presidential suite from a standard room based on square footage.

Charles Farina of Analytics Pros, who has used Google Analytics 360 for years, gave me an hour-long walkthrough of the platform to highlight the most meaningful differences: those that drive ROI.

Google Analytics 360 overview

Google Analytics 360 (GA360) is one of seven components of the Google Marketing Platform. With paid access to GA360—$150,000 per year, billed monthly at $12,500 with an annual contract—users also get access to 360 versions of other products:

google marketing platform
The announcement of the Google Marketing Platform, in June 2018, combined paid ad platforms and the Google Analytics 360 Suite. (Image source)

The GA360 license is all-inclusive: There are no tiers or additional features to unlock. (Users get credits toward BigQuery; extensive querying of GA data in BigQuery could generate added costs.)

Some differences in functionality between 360 versions and their free counterparts are limited. Tag Manager 360, for example, touts “enterprise level support” as the primary benefit.

This post focuses on Analytics 360 and the integrations with other platform products that occur within the Google Analytics UI.

Google Analytics 360 vs Google Analytics

Dry lists of feature comparisons are available in other posts, like this one from Blast Analytics or this one from Google. I won’t replicate those resources here, but a few oft-cited, quantitative differences are worth mentioning:

  • Sampling. The free version of GA begins sampling data for non-default reports that exceed 500,000 sessions. GA360 doesn’t begin sampling data until reports exceed 100 million sessions. The free version also stops recording data at 10 million hits per month compared to 2 billion for GA360.
  • Time lag. GA360 pushes all data into its reporting interface within four hours and often does so in a matter of minutes. That near-real-time data entry is faster than the free version, which usually takes a full day to process data.
  • Export size. GA360 allows 3 million rows; the free version offers 50,000.
  • Custom dimensions and metrics. GA360 offers 200 of each compared to the free version, which provides 20.

And yet, most businesses are not another custom dimension (or 50) away from actionable data; few make different decisions because their data is based on 87% of all sessions. (As Farina noted, “if you have 50% sampling, it’s still very likely that the data is directional.”)

Other well-known differences focus less on raw numbers and more on enterprise business needs:

  • Roll-up reporting. GA360 allows users to roll up reporting from multiple properties efficiently with capabilities not available in the free version—deduplicating users, stitching sessions, inheriting custom dimensions and metrics, etc.
  • Data-driven attribution modeling. GA360 moves beyond the standard attribution models available in the free version and—using machine learning—creates custom attribution models with data from GA and connected accounts, including TV ad buys.
attribution 360 modeling
A report showing weighted attribution in Attribution 360, which allows users to create custom attribution models for GA data.

Each of the above features enables the collection of more data, improves the quality of data, or increases the accuracy of calculations from it. Still, those differences only hint at the bottom-line benefits of GA360, which center on:

  1. Connections between Google Analytics data and personally identifiable information.
  2. Integrations with a wider range of ad networks.
  3. Granular, actionable data visualizations.

Farina walked me through each.

The Google Analytics 360 benefits that generate ROI

1. Connections between Google Analytics data and personally identifiable information

In a previous agency job, I’d seen clients switch from Google Analytics to Adobe Analytics for one reason—to connect anonymous analytics data to specific users. Google Analytics has unambiguous warnings about collecting personally identifiable information (PII), which chases some to Adobe:

google analytics pii
(Image source)

A platform change for that reason, it turns out, is unwarranted—if you take your GA data to the international waters of BigQuery.

BigQuery

BigQuery, part of the Google Cloud Platform, is a fully managed data warehouse. Integrating GA data with BigQuery is possible only with GA360. BigQuery starts with 13 months of historical GA data, collecting new data indefinitely moving forward.

“At the end of the day,” Farina explained, “if you can get data into BigQuery and you have a question you can write to that data, BigQuery will go out and answer that question without you having to worry about storage or compute or memory.”

big query ga data
BigQuery bridges the gap between anonymous GA IDs and CRM data.

It is possible to export data from the free version of GA into another platform, but the process is incomplete and doesn’t scale: It relies on the GA API—a source of report data but not raw data—or a plugin, like the one for Google Sheets.

Because it has different Terms of Service, BigQuery can join GA data with PII—from your CRM or anything else you choose to connect. Once data is in BigQuery, SQL scripts return a user-by-user table with the requested data:

bigquery table with analytics data
BigQuery can join data in GA to a CRM via, for example, a hidden field in a contact form that passes the anonymous GA ID into a field tied to an individual ID in a CRM.

As Farina detailed, some companies use BigQuery as their primary data warehouse; others treat BigQuery as a way station before passing data on (via export) to a preferred cloud storage system.

(BigQuery is HIPPA compliant, making it a viable repository for medical data or, consequently, any other type of personal data.)

GA360 and Salesforce integration

In 2017, Google announced a partnership with Salesforce; the two companies deepened that partnership in 2018. (Salesforce is now a reseller of GA360.) The collaboration yielded several integrations. Those with access to both products can:

  • Move Salesforce data from Sales Cloud into GA360 for attribution reports, bid optimization, and audience creation.
  • Push GA360 data into the Salesforce Marketing Cloud reporting UI.
  • Connect GA360 audiences to Salesforce Marketing Cloud for inclusion in Salesforce campaigns (e.g. email, SMS).
  • Create audience lists from customer interactions in the Salesforce Marketing Cloud.
  • Import Salesforce Sales Cloud user attributes, Einstein Lead Scoring, and ecommerce metrics into GA360.

Those integrations enable the creation of funnels like the one below, which draws on data from both platforms:

google analytics salesforce funnel
The Salesforce integration lets users create funnels with GA and Salesforce data. (Image source)

In another use case Farina suggested, companies could customize email content based on browsing behavior. If you manage a daily digest for The Seattle Times, for example, you could include more sports stories for sports junkies and more political headlines for partisans.

I asked Farina if the Salesforce integration was likely the first of many GA–CRM connections. But the Google–Salesforce partnership, Farina speculated, is unique: “Google doesn’t have a strong martech—no email tool, CRM, CMS; Salesforce doesn’t have enterprise analytics.”

The decision to integrate Salesforce with GA360, he continued, arose from the ongoing consolidation of martech stacks by Adobe: Adobe purchased Marketo in 2018, pressuring Google and Salesforce to offer a competitive alternative.

2. Integrations with a wider range of ad networks

Ad spend, rather than total traffic, may be the easiest way to justify a GA360 investment. If you’re currently spending $100,000 per month in Google Ads, Farina postulated, how much more efficient could you be with GA360? A 10% increase in efficiency would nearly cover the cost of GA360.

Not surprisingly, Google has case studies detailing strong improvements:

The free version of Google Analytics already includes robust (yet underused) integrations with Google Ads. As Farina highlighted, you can build segments based on a combination of conditions, then export that audience to Google Ads for remarketing.

GA360 extends the capabilities available for Google Ads to other platforms and networks, like Campaign Manager, as well as non-Google networks, like Index Exchange, in Display & Video 360.

Display & Video 360

display video 360 screenshot
Display & Video 360 extends GA functionality for Google Ads to more ad networks.

Display & Video 360 pulls click- and view-through data from display and video ads into Google Analytics. The ability to include display view-throughs in Multi-Channel Funnels strengthens attribution models. In the example below, the eye icon represents display impressions:

view-through impressions

View-through data sheds light on potential catalysts for conversions from direct or organic sessions. Adding a secondary dimension, like Campaign, identifies instances when display impressions for a particular campaign were not the first brand interaction (and, therefore, deserve less credit in any attribution model):

display view-through with campaign

Because the data exists in BigQuery as well, audiences transition fluidly between anonymous Google Analytics users and known leads or customers in a CRM.

Thus, the value of GA360 is not merely getting more granular data on ad impressions but attaching that data to real users for smarter retargeting or tailored email campaigns.

3. Granular, actionable data visualizations

Two high-value data visualizations are unique to GA360: Custom Funnels and Advanced Analysis.

Custom Funnels

Building a useful funnel in the free version of Google Analytics, Farina conceded, is nearly impossible. In GA360, it’s simple—agonizingly so for those who have labored through funnel creation or analysis in the standard version.

Farina demonstrated how GA360 translates any combination of variables into a funnel in seconds:

custom funnels in ga360
Custom Funnels are easy to create and simple to export as an audience or segment.

Like other GA360 features, the primary benefit of Custom Funnels is not only visualizing user behavior but translating that visualization into action through export to a marketing automation platform.

Advanced Analysis

Advanced Analysis, still in Google’s beta purgatory, “sits very closely between Data Studio and Analytics,” according to Farina.

Its drag-and-drop interface offers several report types, including a Segment Overlap that identifies users who share characteristics. That visualization, in turn, is available for export back into Analytics, where you can drill down from the audience level to the individual user:

advanced analysis segment overlap
Advanced Analysis combines elegant visualization with granular user information.

Product-market fit and alternative solutions

A common refrain from Farina was that GA360 is an enterprise product—most users fail to max out the capabilities of the free version and wrongly assume that an unsampled report or limited export holds back analysis and growth.

Companies that are a good product-market fit for GA360 likely fall into one of three categories:

  • Extremely high-traffic sites. According to Quantcast, about 600 U.S. sites generate more than 1 million monthly visitors—enough so that a month’s worth of data is sampled below the 50% threshold. For those sites (and many with less traffic), an enterprise analytics tool is essential.
  • Large B2B companies that already use Salesforce. The managed integration of Google Analytics and Salesforce data would likely cover the costs for any independent effort to bind analytics and CRM data.
  • Companies with high ad spend. As noted earlier, a $100,000 monthly ad spend requires a 12.5% increase in efficiency to cover the cost of GA360.

What about alternative analytics platforms like Heap, Segment, or similar options? Where do they fit into the analytics conversation?

To Farina, they’re good options for “advanced businesses with small data sets that don’t have the ad spend, volume, or are not yet at a level where $12,500 per month is something that they can allocate.”

A potential challenge of a patchwork system, Farina continued, is aligning all teams on the same data:

Even if you use Heap, it’s likely that Google Analytics is still a primary tool that marketing uses, where Heap might be something that the data science team starts to use more.

And the challenge that we’ve seen again and again is that, at that point, you have two different data sets and two different implementations and two different sets of metrics and conversions.

That can be a real challenge, especially when the data is not directional between platforms, and you get into this area where no one trusts it, no one is using it, and you’re not getting value out of either side.

I asked Farina a final question: If Google is worried about competition from Adobe, why not just give away other 360 features for free? Or charge $100 per month?

Some aspects of Google Analytics 360 are a clear drain on server resources, but others, like the ability to connect GA data to a CRM, could quickly undermine a primary selling point for Adobe.

“There’s a user journey,” Farina argued. “We already have great solutions for mid-market. You can use something like Google Analytics and add Segment or Heap if you’re not at the level of being able to benefit from a Google Analytics 360 or Adobe.”

Conclusion

If you continually bump up against the data caps of the free version of Google Analytics, a switch to Google Analytics 360 may be necessary—even though the business case might remain murky. You’ll get more complete data, but how will you drive more revenue with it?

The key benefits of GA360, then, are about putting data to work:

  • Using BigQuery to connect on-site behavior with individual users for targeting via marketing automation platforms.
  • Exporting tailored audiences in Google Analytics back into ad platforms for smarter remarketing.
  • Using integrated ad spend data to create more reliable attribution models that, in turn, dictate ad spend.

Ultimately, Farina’s reference to the “user journey” applies to more than the analytics platform. It also includes overall marketing maturity: Even user-specific data or actionable attribution modeling will fail to deliver ROI unless those insights direct marketing efforts beyond analytics.

The post Google Analytics 360: The Features Worth $150k a Year appeared first on CXL.

Fab-UX 5 – Issue 108

The weekly UX Design newsletter from Loop11. Create your free account today! Vital UX skills few designers have & how to get them uxdesign.cc Information architecture: a UX designer’s guide justinmind.com What Is The Role Of Creativity In UX Design…

The weekly UX Design newsletter from Loop11. Create your free account today! Vital UX skills few designers have & how to get them uxdesign.cc Information architecture: a UX designer’s guide justinmind.com What Is The Role Of Creativity In UX Design? smashingmagazine.com 5 Ways Facebook Scales Their Design System framer.com Journey Mapping 101 nngroup.com

What is Hypothesis Testing and How It’s Done – A Complete Guide with Examples!

When attempting to optimize your web presence for maximum leads and conversions, you may come across terms like hypothesis testing. While the term sounds like something from a science test, marketers intent on boosting their digital results are increas…

hypotesis-testing-introduction

When attempting to optimize your web presence for maximum leads and conversions, you may come across terms like hypothesis testing. While the term sounds like something from a science test, marketers intent on boosting their digital results are increasingly turning to scientific methods to squeeze a little more juice from their online campaigns. If you want the most leads, revenue, and rate of return, here are the steps to follow. The scientific method just met the digital marketing world, and you’re about to reap the rewards. Here’s how to use hypothesis testing to boost the results of all of your...

The post What is Hypothesis Testing and How It’s Done – A Complete Guide with Examples! appeared first on The Daily Egg.

New Amazon Portfolio Feature For Sponsored Products & Sponsored Brands

Amazon Portfolio is a new feature designated to help advertisers manage & track their spend in Sponsored Products & Sponsored Brands. According to… > Read More
The post New Amazon Portfolio Feature For Sponsored Products & Sponsored Bran…

Amazon Portfolio is a new feature designated to help advertisers manage & track their spend in Sponsored Products & Sponsored Brands. According to... > Read More

The post New Amazon Portfolio Feature For Sponsored Products & Sponsored Brands appeared first on Retail Performance Marketing Blog - CPC Strategy.

The 2018 State of Conversion Optimization Report

To assess the State of the Conversion Optimization Industry in 2018, we gave a 26 question survey to 701 people who work in the optimization space. This year we partnered with VWO, the all-in-one platform that helps you conduct visitor research, build an optimization roadmap, and run continuous experimentation. This partnership resulted in a great success […]

The post The 2018 State of Conversion Optimization Report appeared first on CXL.

To assess the State of the Conversion Optimization Industry in 2018, we gave a 26 question survey to 701 people who work in the optimization space.

This year we partnered with VWO, the all-in-one platform that helps you conduct visitor research, build an optimization roadmap, and run continuous experimentation. This partnership resulted in a great success as we were able to reach more than double respondents compared to last year (701 vs. 333).

This is the third issue of our report (the first was published in 2016) and—with three datasets available—we begin to see some trends.

This post outlines some of our findings. You can download the full report for free here.

Some major findings this year:

  • Global trends for prioritizing and investing in CRO;
  • Which industry (Ecommerce, Lead Gen, SaaS, Agencies) is investing more in CRO;
  • The biggest struggles of CROs;
  • How much CROs make (by industry and work experience).

Let’s begin…

Demographics: The profile of an optimizer

Gender

CRO professionals are mostly male. The imbalance was evident in 2016, and the trend seems to be continuing (at least in our sample population). The female CRO population decreased from 27.6% (2016) to 17.3% (2018).

Age group

Concerning age, there is no big change from the previous year. Almost 50% of the CRO population is in the 30–40 age group.

Female CROs seem to be younger; they’re equally distributed in the age groups 20–30 and 30–40.

Location

While a plurality of survey responses came from the United States (30.6%), we received responses from 68 Countries.

Four countries—United States, United Kingdom, The Netherlands, and Canada (ordered by number of respondents)—account for 54% of all responses.

Company type

The proportion of CRO professionals working in-house and those working at an agency (or freelance) has remained stable throughout the three years of the survey. This year, 56.7% reported working in-house; 43.3% work with clients.

Most CROs work at an agency (or as freelancers) or in ecommerce. All other industries combined—SaaS, Lead Gen, Publishing/Media, Non-profit/Government) make up just 34.9% of the total.

We spotted one trend: The percentage of professionals working in ecommerce is decreasing while the percentage of those working in agencies (or freelancing) is increasing.

Note: We still do not have enough data on the Publishing/Media or Non-Profit/Government sectors, so we will not focus on those when comparing industry trends.

Most respondents (51.9%) work exclusively on optimization of desktop and mobile websites. As in previous years, very few optimize mobile applications.

Salary

In 2018, the average salary of CROs is $69,238 ($64,984 in 2017, $71,340 in 2016).

In 2016, the United States had the highest average salary at $87,926; in 2017, Australia took the prize with an average salary of $88,676. This year, the United States wins the crown with a whopping $95,431.

Among the top four countries (by number of respondents), the lowest salaries were in The Netherlands, where a CRO professional makes an average of $56,847.

By industry, SaaS companies pay more than others. CROs working in SaaS make an average of $84,294; no other industry reaches the $70k mark. The Publishing/Media industry has the lowest average pay, with a salary of just $48,750.

So, if you want to make big money as a CRO expert, should you be based in the United States and work in the SaaS industry? Yes! Survey data backs this up (brilliant), with 47 (wealthy) respondents in this very situation who make an average of $109,680 per year.

On the other side of the spectrum, you probably don’t want to live in The Netherlands and work in the Publishing/Media Industry: You would have just $49,166 to show for one year of CRO efforts.

But before you pack your things to move to the United States: Salary correlates strongly with experience:

You need several years of CRO experience before you can score big numbers.

(If you want to expedite that personal development—and earn the commensurate salary—you need to know your stuff. At CXL Institute, we teach CROs the strategies and tactics of top practitioners.)

Work Experience

Speaking of experience, 62.4% of respondents have been working in the CRO space for less than 4 years and 81.7% for less than 6 years. CRO is still a very young industry.

The CRO process

A company is only as good as its processes. Processes achieve consistent, long-term results. But do you know what CROs reported as their biggest struggle in 2018?

The lack of a well-defined, efficient process.

Here are the relevant questions we asked:

  • Who does optimization in your organization?
  • How often do you meet with others on your optimization team to discuss CRO?
  • Does your team have a conversion optimization process that you follow?
  • Do you have a formal conversion/user-research process you use for extracting insights?
  • Do you have a test prioritization framework that you follow?
  • Approximately how many online experiments (tests) does your team run every month?

CRO and teamwork

Companies take CRO seriously: In over 60% of cases, CRO is in the hands of a specific person or a dedicated team.

Across all industries, only 15.8% of respondents stated that “Optimization is nobody’s primary job.”

Ecommerce, SaaS, and Lead Gen companies are investing in CRO. Over 30% of respondents working in these industries report working on a CRO team (with 25% working independently on CRO).

Not surprisingly, agencies are the most likely to have a CRO team (40%).

CRO meetings

CRO meetings are most often held weekly..or not at all. Some 30.6% of respondents report weekly meetings, while 29.2% report meeting “only when necessary.”

Among those having at least one CRO meeting per week (daily or weekly), three industries stand out: Ecommerce (51.7%), Lead Gen (46.6%), Agencies/Freelancers (45.1%). All the other industries scored below average.

The CRO process in detail

When it comes to a CRO process, the SaaS industry lags behind. While 23.7% of companies have no structured process, the percentage of SaaS Companies with no process is 31.7%.

Ecommerce and Agencies are the most structured, beating the average of 37.6% that have a “documented/structured” process with 44.1% and 41.0%, respectively.

In 2018, the percentage of Companies without a formal research approach is almost the same as in 2017 (38–39%). There is an increase in the percentage of those who created their own process and a decrease of those using borrowed process, including ResearchXL.

We see this as a positive sign that indicates an increasing level of commitment to CRO activities.

Among companies with their own research process (39.4%), Agencies/Freelancers (43.5%) and Lead Gen (41.9%) stand out. Ecommerce is on par with the average, and SaaS lags behind (33.7%).

Another important component of the overall CRO process is the system used for the prioritization of tests. While most companies use a test prioritization framework, 43.6% just wing it. Things are getting better—it was 47.1% in 2017.

Ecommerce companies and Agencies beat the average when it comes to investing in an “in-house” tool.

CRO execution

Most companies (68.2%) do not execute more than four tests per month. SaaS and Leag Gen companies are equally “slow” while Agencies are leading the way, with 39% executing more than four tests per month.

A slow rate of testing by in-house teams is one reason why companies outsource CRO work to agencies (like our own CXL Agency).

Agencies live and die by the ROI they deliver to clients, motivating investments in better systems and teamwork, which return higher execution speed—and greater ROI (more on that below).

Tracking results and ROI

A good process should be self-improving; there should be procedures in place to learn from experience and modify the process as necessary. This is possible only if results are handled and evaluated properly and shared across the CRO team.

To get a good idea of what’s going on in the CRO Industry, we asked the following binary questions:

  • Is the percentage of winning tests tracked?
  • Is the average lift per test tracked?
  • Are CRO test results shared across your team?

Lead Gen companies scored “Yes” most often, followed closely by Ecommerce organizations.

When we asked, “How are CRO test results typically archived?”, we found a gradual trend towards better results handling. Only 20.7% of respondents fail to archive results, an improvement from the 24.1% we measured in 2016.

Most companies still export and archive full data with screenshots, but more than a third (a 36.6% cross-industry average) opt for specific archiving tools or testing tools with built-in archives.

Proving the ROI

As we learned from this survey, proving the ROI of CRO activities is one of the top six struggles of CROs. (You don’t have to guess the other struggles—just keep reading.) If your leadership doesn’t believe that conversion optimization will yield returns, that’s a big problem when you have to get buy-in.

Does CRO work?

In the survey, we asked participants to rate the results of their CRO efforts. Most respondents (56.4%) reported better results compared to the previous year, while 37% declared they achieved the same results.

The Lead Gen industry stands out, with 65.9% achieving better results than in 2017. But of course, “better” results don’t necessarily mean “very profitable” results.

To understand the perception of the ROI within organizations, let’s see how they’ve changed their CRO budget and priorities in 2018. Some 60.8% report that, in their organizations, CRO activities are given more priority than in 2017.

Again, professionals in the LeadGen Industry paint the best picture, scoring 65.9%. (Same percentage, same industry: It seems that getting results pays off.)

Only 7.8% of Companies are making CRO less of a priority in 2018.

But money is the final (and definitive) indicator of the effectiveness of conversion optimization, and only 45.0% of respondents report a bigger CRO budget than last year. Even in Lead Gen companies, a budget came in only 54.6% of cases.

This means that, although the perceived effectiveness of conversion optimization has made it more of a priority, that effectiveness has not driven a majority of organizations to put more money into CRO.

In most cases (over 90%), CRO still does not have a dedicated budget but is part of the overall budget or marketing budget. However, in 2018, 57.9% of companies specifically mention CRO in the budget. (It was 53% in 2017.)

Trends in testing

Here it comes the fun part: tests!

In the survey, we asked participants to rate the usefulness of different testing methods. Here is the list, ordered by the average score each method totaled:

  1. Digital Analytics
  2. A/B Testing
  3. UX/Design
  4. Copywriting
  5. Psychology/Persuasion
  6. User Testing
  7. Customer Surveys
  8. Personalization
  9. Click Maps/Scroll Maps/Mouse Hover Maps
  10. Website Polls
  11. Eye Tracking
  12. Biometric Research

The ranking is exactly the same as in 2107.

Some 97.6% of participants report running A/B/n tests, and 65.4% run exclusively A/B/n tests.

Compared to 2017, A/B/n increased in popularity; MVT is stable in the 31–32% range, although it has increased 25% increase compared to 2016.

Bandit tests are the least common, run by just 8.4% of our sample population.

Some 52.8% of CROs responding to our survey do not have a standardized stopping point for A/B testing—no change compared to 2017.

The biggest struggles

This year we asked an open-ended question: “In one sentence or phrase, what is your biggest CRO/Optimization challenge today?”

We collected 580 responses on this one, with a length ranging from 4 to 328 characters. (And, yes, the four-character answers were meaningful: “time.”) We analyzed each answer and identified 39 recurring topics.

After that, we created a scoring system based on the length of the answer (as suggested by Ryan Levesque in his book Ask), and we scored the topics. This method allowed us to sort topics (struggles) and assign a weight to the pain they cause.

According to this scoring system, 50% of the pain is caused by just six struggles:

  1. Establishing a process
  2. Learning/training
  3. Educating clients
  4. Proving ROI
  5. Time and budget constraints
  6. Integrating CRO into the business

Establish a sound process for CRO is by far the most common struggle—and the one that got the longest answers.

Almost all of the struggles mentioned above are internal struggles, meaning they arise not from external circumstances but from within the organization. This means that they can largely be fixed within the organization, too.

That brings us to the next batch of struggles, the ones that take our pain coverage from 50% to 80%:

  • Getting management onboard
  • Getting clients
  • Wrong expectations
  • Traffic
  • Building a CRO team
  • Client participation
  • Technical skills
  • Cooperation between development units

In this second batch, only two struggles are external: traffic and client participation. Everyone in the CRO space has experienced at least a few of the 14 struggles above. Curious about the other 15 struggles? Download the full report here.

Conclusion

Overall, there are largely positive changes compared to 2017, and we were able to dive deeper on how different industries are investing in CRO: Lead Gen has taken the lead, followed closely by Ecommerce and Agencies. SaaS still lags a bit behind, but not by far.

We are thrilled for what is coming in 2019 and we can’t wait to launch a new survey!

Wanna be in the 2019 Survey?

Over the three years that we’ve conducted this survey, we’ve noticed that CRO specialists tend to go by different job titles. This makes it hard to identify them correctly and to get in touch with them for a survey like this one.

Here are some job titles a CRO expert might go by:

  • Analyst
  • Conversion Optimizer
  • Conversion Specialist/Consultant/Strategist
  • CRO Specialist
  • Director of Optimization
  • Director of Marketing
  • Ecommerce Manager
  • Digital Marketing Analyst
  • Growth Hacker / Head of Growth
  • Digital Marketing Manager
  • Growth Marketing Manager
  • UX Analyst
  • Product Manager
  • Web Analyst
  • And so many more…

If you are a CRO specialist and want to participate in the 2019 Survey, leave us your email in this form. We’ll get in touch with you when the time comes to collect new data.

Download the full report—with more charts and data—here.

The post The 2018 State of Conversion Optimization Report appeared first on CXL.