How Understanding Perceptual Sets Can Make You a Better Marketer

Why do some ads perform better than expected? Why does an ‘ugly’ CTA sometimes convert better than one that is professionally designed? Understanding perceptual sets and how they affect our behavior and decisions can give you better insight into improving and optimizing your marketing strategy.  How many legs does the elephant have? Three? Four? Five? […]

The post How Understanding Perceptual Sets Can Make You a Better Marketer appeared first on CXL.

Why do some ads perform better than expected? Why does an ‘ugly’ CTA sometimes convert better than one that is professionally designed? Understanding perceptual sets and how they affect our behavior and decisions can give you better insight into improving and optimizing your marketing strategy. 

How many legs does the elephant have? Three? Four? Five? Can you even tell for sure?

How about this image?

Do you see 13 or B?

If you say 13, look at the following image:

Do you still see 13? Or do you now see B?

How about now?

Context matters.

Whether you choose 13 or B, there were invisible forces at play; If you just finished dealing with numbers in Google Sheets, you most likely saw number “13.”

If you are a writer or deal mostly with text, however, you most likely saw the letter “B.”

By placing the “number/letter” between numbers (12, “13,” or 14) or between letters (A, “B,” or C), you can influence what you see. 

As Paul Rookes and Jane Wilson explain in their book Perception

“Sets have a wide range of functions. They are affected by motivation, emotion, past experience, and expectations and serve to make perception more efficient. This is achieved because sets reduce the choice between alternatives. This means that predisposition towards a stimulus will make any choice quicker than considering all the alternatives.”

Knowing the role perceptual sets affects our behavior ultimately allows you to build better offers, landing pages, and messaging.

Let’s look at some examples. 

What Feeling, Sensation, or Need Does Your Brand Provoke?

In a 1936 study published in The Journal of Psychology, participants were deprived of food for up to 4 hours before being asked to interpret ambiguous pictures. The study found that the longer participants were deprived of food, the more likely they were to interpret the images related to food. 

“In an attempt to explain conditioned behavioral reactions, traces of past experiences may become active and influence behavioral responses without being present as such in the subject’s consciousness.” 

Source

In short, the context in which your customers and prospects engage with your content, product, or ads can affect their behavior, even unconsciously. 

Take this example on priming previously covered at CXL.

So if I’m shopping on this site, and I see the coupon field, then suddenly I’m thinking about saving money with coupons. It might not have even crossed my mind before that. The presence of that box, however, primes me to leave the checkout flow and search for a promo code. And if I can’t find one, I’ve got FOMO (fear of missing out). Cue cart abandonment.

Another example of this is mentioning ‘trigger words’ that cause a visceral reaction. For example, spam. If a cleaner came to your house and mentioned they weren’t going to steal anything, what would you immediately think? That they were going to steal something! Mentioning the word spam near an email sign up could have the same effect.

In another study, psychologists presented ten nonsense syllables to observers, five of which were paired with electric shocks. Once conditioning had been achieved, the ten syllables were then introduced quickly (too fast to be consciously recognizable) to the participants.

It was observed that the physiological responses to syllables paired with electric shocks were the same when these syllables were reintroduced in the absence of shocks.

While this study shows how powerful conditioning can be, the good news is that you can capitalize on its findings for your marketing efforts.

How did Coca-Cola become one of the most iconic brands of all time? Big budgets? A great product? Perhaps the answer is more complex. 

Or this one:

While there are many factors responsible for Coca-Cola’s success, their effort to pair Coke with thirst certainly helped establish themselves as the go-to soft drink for millions worldwide. 

What feelings, sensations, and needs do customers associate with your brand? If you’re unsure, or there’s a disconnect between what you think and how your customers feel, talking with your customers goes a long way in bridging the gap. 

The Ebbinghaus Illusion and Product Value Perception

With more people preferring to shop online than ever before, it can often be challenging to represent the actual size of a lot of products. However, in many cases, perception of your product’s size can make or break people’s decision to purchase.

So how do you go about boosting conversions by accurately representing the size of your product?

The below image just might give a clue:

Which of the two middle circles is bigger?

The second one in the smaller image, right?

Turns out, both middle circles are the same size.

If you’re like most people who selected the middle circle in the smaller image as bigger, you just fell victim to the “Ebbinghaus illusion.”

In essence, the Ebbinghaus illusion, or Titchener’s illusion, reveals that a circle surrounded by other circles will appear smaller if the surrounding circles are enlarged and bigger if the surrounding circles are reduced.

The surrounding circles serve as “anchors” through which the middle circle’s value is judged. Of course this phenomena doesn’t just apply to circles.

For example, chefs and food companies regularly use this effect to create a certain impression about their products.

Food can be pictured on a much bigger plate to make a serving appear smaller or in a much smaller plate to make a serving appear bigger depending on the target audience.

The homepage of diet company Nutrisystem is another good example:

They use smaller plates in their branding photos to make it seem like they are delivering delicious meals with low calories.

Overstock is another brand that does a great job of showing you how their products may look in your home or office.

Overstock.

Klipsch also puts their products in perspective. 

When searching for a speaker, you’ll find:

Product speaker.

As well as:

Why?

To give buyers a better idea of what the speaker looks like in a ‘real’ environment.

This principle can be used with any product:

Instead of just showing the image of your products, you can show images of the products in the settings in which they will be used to give a better idea of how they look. Showing a T.V. in a room setting can help create an actual impression of its size.

Let’s use the flat screen T.V. page on Best Buy as an example:

Clearly, the 70″ T.V. is larger than the 32″, but it’s hard to put that in perspective visually without any ques.

Now, placing each of these T.V.’s in a room setting gives a clearer idea of the actual size.

That said, it is important to note that the Ebbinghaus illusion can easily be abused in a way that backfires and hurts your brand—so you want to use it carefully.

Case in point is furniture company DFS:

In an attempt to boost sales of its sofas, DFS hired actors and celebrities to appear on/around their sofas. No problem there. But they digitally altered the actors and actresses size to make their products seem bigger then they actually were.

While this resulted in more purchases in the short term, many customers felt duped. The Advertising Standards Association even went as far as to ban their ads, which generated a massive slew of bad press.

Perception of Product Value

Covered previously on CXL, research found a direct link between the size of a product’s image and how much people were willing to pay for the product. Why? We naturally tend to equate more size with more bang for our buck. 

The study found that people perceived the larger hard drives to be more valuable, and as a result, were willing to pay more. People were willing to pay $13.50 more for the hard drive simply because the image was bigger. 

The reverse was the case for experience focused goods. People were willing to pay less for the shirt in the study when the image was large. The research found that people perceived the shirt to be less valuable and were willing to pay $1 less when the image of the shirt was large.

Of course, there’s no “one size fits all” image size for products; it depends on the product involved and what category the product falls into. As with most things in marketing, you should always test what works best for you.

Perception Lessons from Fancy Hotels and Fast Food 

Another case study that shows how perception can affect behavior and ultimately sales is economist Richard Thaler’s famous Beer on the Beach experiment:

Imagine being stranded on the beach on a hot day, thirsty and longing for a cold bottle of your favorite beer. Your friend offers to get you a cold bottle of beer from the only nearby place where beer is being sold—either a fancy resort hotel or a rundown grocery store. However, the difference is that beer from the fancy hotel costs more than beer from the rundown grocery store — even though it’s the same beer. How much would you be willing to pay?

Thinking about it rationally, you may think people would pay the same or only slightly more for beer from the fancy hotel.

Thaler found that even though the beer wasn’t to be consumed at the hotel, and the thirsty person wasn’t the one to go get the beer, most people would willingly pay a lot more because the beer was bought from a fancy hotel. 

How much more? An average of $2.65 for the same beer if it comes from a fancy hotel and $1.50 if it comes from the rundown grocery store. They considered $2.65 fair value for the beer from the fancy hotel and a rip off for the Beer from the rundown grocery store.

Perception of a product plays a significant role in what price people will consider paying for it. It’s why people will consider paying two to three times more for an Apple product and balk at paying half as much for a product of comparable quality if it comes from a different brand.

This principle applies to children as much as it does adults: 

A study of 3—5-year-olds found that most children found food served in a McDonald’s bag to taste better than when served in a plain white bag—even if it’s the same food. The study also found that 77%t of children believed that french fries tasted better when served in a McDonald’s bag compared to just 13 percent who liked the same fries served in a plain white bag.

So it’s not actually the fries in this case. It’s the McDonald’s bag!

This didn’t just apply to french fries. The study also found that the same effect extended to carrots as well:

Fifty-four percent of the children studied believed that carrots served in a McDonald’s bag tasted better compared to just 23 percent who liked carrots served in plain bags and thought they tasted the same.

Talk about the power of framing and positioning. 

Are you positioning your products and services effectively? 

Positioning is a secret superpower that, when harnessed correctly, can change the way the world thinks about a problem, a technology or even an entire market.

– April Dunford 

Conclusion

As much as we like to believe we think rationally, we humans are anything but.

Why else would we be willing to pay 77% more for the same beer simply because it comes from a fancy hotel? Why else would we pay more for a larger hard drive even if a smaller one has the exact same amount of space? 

While understanding human behavior and psychology is a lifelong pursuit, it pays to learn the many ways in which we don’t act or behave as we should. 

The post How Understanding Perceptual Sets Can Make You a Better Marketer appeared first on CXL.

How Did the Digital Marketing Industry Fare in Q4 2020?

pandemic showed no signs of slowing down

In Q4, the holiday season looked different in many ways, and digital marketing was no exception. Amazon’s Prime Day, which usually happens in July, instead kicked the holiday season off in mid-October. Cyber Mo…

pandemic showed no signs of slowing down

In Q4, the holiday season looked different in many ways, and digital marketing was no exception. Amazon’s Prime Day, which usually happens in July, instead kicked the holiday season off in mid-October. Cyber Monday shifted from falling in December in 2019 to November in 2020. The shipping industry faced massive challenges from an influx of online ordering, and retailers faced inventory challenges after months of elevated demand. And yet, there were some performance shifts that pointed toward a return to normalcy.

Below are some high-level findings from this quarter’s report:

Google paid search clicks grew 12% Y/Y, continuing on a path of deceleration back toward Q1 2020 growth levels. Concurrently, cost-per-click (CPC) growth continued to reverse its trend and climbed to positive Y/Y growth for the first time since Q1.

Higher CPC growth and lower click growth combined to generate 12% ad spend growth, one percentage point higher than Q3's growth figure.

.Google US Overall Paid Search

Retail and consumer goods continued to see strong growth for the third quarter in a row, coming in just shy of 40% after seeing 42% growth in Q2 and Q3.

Travel stayed on a positive trajectory as consumer optimism rose in response to the start of vaccine distribution. In Q2 and Q3, travel visits were down Y/Y 50% and 37%, respectively, while Y/Y declines in Q4 were 19%. Insurance visits grew 16% Y/Y, and financial services growth was flat.

Y/Y GROWTH IN GOOGLE US 

During Prime Day, Amazon search sales increased 130% compared to the previous 30 days, while spend increased 200%. Advertisers that did not run deals during Prime Day still saw lifts in both spend and sales from increased consumer interest, but sacrificed efficiency as consumers clicked on ads but were less willing to purchase with no deal present. The 82% of advertisers that ran deals experienced a sales lift of 240% with a spend lift of just 210%.

AMAZON PRIME DAY 

Spending on Facebook ads, excluding Instagram, grew 12% Y/Y in Q4 2020, remaining similar to Q3's growth. Facebook impression growth fell to 2% Y/Y, following a similar seasonal pattern as 2019. CPM saw Y/Y increases for the first time since Q1 2020, after dropping in Q2 and Q3 as advertisers pulled back due to COVID-19. Heavy investments in political ad spending during Q4 may have also contributed to Y/Y CPM increases.

FACEBOOK ADS 

Want to learn more? Download the latest Merkle Digital Marketing Report here.

NEW SparkToro Feature: Discover the Press/Media Sources That Reach Your Audience

I’m excited to announce that today, SparkToro is launching a new tab, with new data, for all customers: free and paid. When you perform an audience intelligence search, you’ll see the new “Press” tab on the left sidebar, display…

I’m excited to announce that today, SparkToro is launching a new tab, with new data, for all customers: free and paid. When you perform an audience intelligence search, you’ll see the new “Press” tab on the left sidebar, displaying media sources followed + engaged-with by the searched-for audience. Sometimes, these publications will have overlap with the “websites” or “social” tabs,…

How an Interface Mode Killed 10 Sailors

One would think that the worst a poorly designed interface could do is cause frustration. But actually, the worst it can do is kill people. On August 21st, 2017, 10 sailors died, and 48 were injured when a US Navy warship collided with a Liberian oil t…

One would think that the worst a poorly designed interface could do is cause frustration. But actually, the worst it can do is kill people. On August 21st, 2017, 10 sailors died, and 48 were injured when a US Navy warship collided with a Liberian oil tanker (source / source / source). It was a result of […]

The post How an Interface Mode Killed 10 Sailors first appeared on UX Movement.

2021 Imperatives for the Health Marketer

Each year, Merkle refines and distills of our learning, vision, and experience with clients from numerous industries. Since 2012, our Imperatives Series has served as a guide for creating competitive differentiation through marketing strategies that re…

Each year, Merkle refines and distills of our learning, vision, and experience with clients from numerous industries. Since 2012, our Imperatives Series has served as a guide for creating competitive differentiation through marketing strategies that revolve around the customer. The Imperatives offer timely thought leadership as the landscape shifts and data and technology advancements emerge.

The unprecedented impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic caused major disruptions in every industry and created colossal shifts in consumer behavior. The pandemic forced health organizations to scrutinize their business-as-usual engagement models and reevaluate their strategies for delivering the total customer experience. The acceleration of these initiatives now requires an all-hands approach of the entire C-suite (not just the CMO) to create an enterprise-wide transformation to meet customers’ needs.

The 2021 Customer Experience Imperatives define a formula for customer experience transformation. This year, the Imperatives are forward-looking and provide a detailed approach to the transformation required to deliver on a truly customer-centric approach. The three Imperatives are:

1. Data Transformation - At the heart of customer experience transformation lies data transformation: mastering rapidly changing approaches to the acquisition, management, and mining of valuable data that informs customer experiences, in real time and in a privacy-safe manner.

2. Digital Transformation - It is critical to understand the ways in which your company must think, plan, and deliver unique personal conversations. Success is found through the design and implementation of customer-centric digital marketing, commerce, and service experiences that are contextually relevant and personally informed.

3. The Adaptive Organization - A truly transformed, customer-centric organization wins by delivering on the total customer experience. Marketing, sales, commerce, and service must now work in unison to foster a culture of innovation, agility, and shared goals.

Where to Start

Delivery of hyper-personalized moments, using data, technology, and analytics to inform each interaction at every touchpoint has long been an ambition of the health industry but seldom a reality. Regulatory barriers, traditional marketing culture, and risk aversion have all led to slow adoption of practices that would enable best-in-class CXM. Unlike other industries that have embraced data and digital transformation, most health organizations are playing catch-up. For the first time ever, health companies are fast adopting ways to transform their culture, process, and technology. The starting point is always the same – data.

Why data? Customer-centricity begins with data because it enables a cohesive 360-degree view of the customer. This view is becoming increasingly more difficult to achieve with shifting market dynamics around privacy regulations, the death of third-party cookies, martech changes, and advanced AI/ML methodologies. With so many dynamics at play, the greatest opportunity for any organization will be to maximize and grow its first-party and second-party data assets.

The use of a private identity graph is an organization’s best chance at ensuring that every customer record is accurate. Strategic partnerships to procure second-party data are equally important and necessary to create further advancement to generate addressability. Additionally, working with the right third-party data providers enables privacy safe analytics that create crucial insights for marketers. Health organizations are able to combine their first and second-party data with rich behavioral and demographic data points from Merkle’s data assets, such as DataSource, to create solutions like person-based segmentation, custom audience modeling, and journey analysis. Clean room analysis has also created pathways to utilize datasets like medical claims to enable custom audience models, closed-loop measurement, and market and category insights. Use of such sensitive and regulated, industry specific datasets is a trend that is gaining traction this year.

This type of data initiative and planning lies at the core of digital transformation where data is used to better understand customer needs at every touchpoint. Such insights are then used to create and optimize content and experience. And, experience-based technologies are implemented, integrated, and optimized to deliver those optimal experiences in a seamless approach. An organization that is able to constantly optimize and innovate in order to produce a relevant customer experience, quickly and collaboratively, will succeed.

How it’s Done

Get the data right. Organizations must look at data transformation holistically and adopt a data fabric architecture, limit investment in data silos, and invest in business technologists. A data fabric architecture will allow an organization to find the right balance between managing data and operationalizing it. Build-out your most impactful use cases and align them to specific data assets that will take priority.

Consider leveraging cloud technology and CDPs which can rapidly integrate data from disparate systems and help build a 360-degree view of the customer. Cloud platforms also create solutions for data storage, scalability, agility, and security needs. CDPs provide access to a single unified customer view for marketing, sales, commerce, and service. They are a new home and hub for real-time profiles, housing customer attributes and segments.

To successfully utilize the right experience technology, organizations must properly implement, configure, integrate, and align within the enterprise. Workflows must be properly supported to orchestrate effective experiences and teams must be realigned to execute new ways of working. It is critical to remove silos and overcoming certain organizational challenges in order to increase collaboration across every function that delivers on the total customer experience.

While few health organizations have successfully implemented their customer transformation initiatives, many have made important progress in their individual journeys. Approaches include:

  • Creating centralized centers of excellence or hubs that are responsible for customer experience across the enterprise.
  • Reorganization of teams around customer lifecycle, portfolio, or franchise rather than brands.
  • Investment in future state technology initiatives and roadmaps that aim to activate and orchestrate the total customer experience.
  • Investment in identity solutions and data assets to create personalization.

Regardless of how an organization pursues driving customer centricity, all functions required to deliver the desired outcome must function as a connected ecosystem. 

Want to learn more? Download your copy of Merkle’s 2021 Customer Experience Imperatives here

How the Best Marketers Get Ahead: They Make Time to Learn

The world’s best marketers don’t get to the top of their field by accident. They consume the right sources; they read the right books. They take what they learn and put it into practice.  But with the daily demands of most marketing professionals, it’s often an uphill battle to take a step back and set […]

The post How the Best Marketers Get Ahead: They Make Time to Learn appeared first on CXL.

The world’s best marketers don’t get to the top of their field by accident. They consume the right sources; they read the right books. They take what they learn and put it into practice. 

But with the daily demands of most marketing professionals, it’s often an uphill battle to take a step back and set aside time to learn new skills. All too often, that quarterly report or urgent client request takes priority, time and time again.

So how do up and coming and advanced marketers prioritize professional development? How much of an impact does having dedicated learning time each week help you grow as a marketer? 

We asked digital marketers via our newsletter and social media to take a brief survey to better understand the patterns and challenges faced by those climbing to the top.

Though offering just a small glimpse into marketers’ learning habits as a whole (just shy of 400 responses received), the findings were telling. 

Let’s look at some of our most interesting takeaways as well as some of the most effective ways to build the habit of “sharpening the saw.”

Key Takeaways from the Learning Habits of Digital Marketers

If you want to get ahead, you have to put in the work. That’s table stakes for becoming one of the best in your field. 

1. Structured Learning Yields Better Results 

Nearly ⅔ of respondents reported not having a study routine. On one hand, that suggests many struggle with building the habit of structured learning or it’s simply not a priority. On the other hand, that means having one can put you ahead of your colleagues and peers. 

Here are just a few of the study routines shared through our survey.

Watch a video (max 15 mins); take notes; rewatch video if I don’t understand; Google external resources (usually more videos) to get a better explanation of the things I still don’t understand. Repeat.

It depends on my objective — sometimes I study to obtain a certification to reinforce my ‘skills signals’ (narrow study) — which usually means running through e-learning modules and quizzes in a tight time frame to increase the chances of information retention to pass the final certification module. 

For actual in-depth study in subjects I care about, I try to translate learning into practical application (which typically isn’t included as part of the publisher’s education experience). An example of this — using a dummy site or google tag injector to keep my google analytics knowledge and practice up to date. For deep study of a new topic, I block 30min after lunch purely for information absorption, then take a 20min nap, and then another 30min to try and put the info down, or into practice — if / when applicable.

Of those with a ‘study routine’, roughly ⅔ reported spending 16 to 60 minutes of focused learning in a single session.

Study habits formal routine.

Compare that to those who still spent time learning throughout the day but didn’t have a formal learning routine. 

While 16.7% of those with a dedicated study routine reported learning for more than 90 minutes on average in a session, that number drops significantly for those without a routine—with just 6.8% reporting studying more than 90 minutes or more. 

Additionally, those who did not report having a study routine were far more likely to study less than 15 minutes in a single session than those with a routine. More structure equals more learning. 

Study habits no formal routine.

Those who spent at least 16 to 30 minutes learning each day reported the most promotions within 12 months compared to other learning session lengths. 

2. Having a Study Routine Matters More than When You Learn

Preferred time for learning.

There was no significant correlation between the preferred time of learning and whether or not a promotion was on the horizon from our limited data set. 

Nearly ⅓ of respondents favored learning in the early morning hours, often before work.

  • “30 – 60 min Monday-Friday with a hot cup of coffee before the day’s distractions begin.
  • “Early in the morning after workout, I watch 30-45 min of online courses. In the evening, if I have the energy, I read.”
  • “1 hour after waking up.”
  • “I have no fixed study routine, but whenever I get some free time, it is easy to read or watch a course.”

Some 40% preferred learning in the evening.

  • “After working hours, having dinner, and exercising, I usually sit down for an hour (or more) and study. I usually use the Pomodoro technique since it can be quite tiring studying after a long day. Having these programmed pauses help me a lot in keeping track of my studying and not lose focus.”

Others preferred the middle of the day or no particular time:

  • “I usually prefer to learn something when I get an extended break, and I don’t want to waste it on Facebook.”
  • “I typically allocate an hour every day to study. It doesn’t matter what hour I happen to do actual studying; I just have to do it.”
  • “I don’t necessarily have a complex routine, but I try to dedicate at least 1 hour of learning daily either by taking an online course, listening to a podcast episode, reading a newsletter, or going deeper into a topic I’m interested in.”

No need to become an early bird if you prefer learning at night. Having a study routine is by far the most significant factor in increasing your chances of promotion. 

How to Make Time to Sharpen the Saw 

Okay, spending a few hours a week at minimum learning new skills can help you get ahead. 

But how do you carve out time for learning, especially if you feel as if you don’t have any time?

Let’s take a look.

1. Plan Ahead and Block Time on Your Calendar 

Don’t let the simplicity of this practice fool you. The only way you’re going to learn new skills is by investing the time to do so. One of the first things we tell new CXL members is to block off time on their calendar to go through the material.

Why? Because it works. 

Just as saying you’ll go to the gym when you feel like it is seldom effective, neither is saying you’ll take that course or watch that video on SEO when you have ‘extra time.’

If advancing in your career is important to you, there’s no excuse as to why you can’t set aside at least an hour or two each week to focus solely on learning. 

Don’t overcomplicate it. You don’t need to spend two hours each day studying. A few 30 minutes blocks throughout the week are more than enough to make progress.

Only 18% of those who reported learning 90 minutes or more each day reported receiving a promotion within the last 12 months. Compare that to the nearly 80% of those who spent 31-60 minutes on average studying.

After a certain point, the diminishing returns on time spent is clear. 

While small might not be sexy, it is successful and sustainable. When it comes to most life changes that people want to make, big, bold moves actually don’t work as well as small, stealthy ones. Applying go big or go home to everything you do is a recipe for self-criticism and disappointment.

Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything by BJ Fogg

Just as with setting any meaningful goal, it’s important to be specific. 

“Get better at A/B testing” isn’t a clear enough goal. 

Instead, get specific.

  • “I’ll watch 30 minutes of videos on Google Analytics.”
  • “I’ll spend an hour signing up for three of the most popular no-code tools.”
  • “I’ll attend that ClickUp webinar so that I can be better organized and efficient.” 
  • “I’ll go through my newsletters and focus on nothing else.”

As we’ll see, more and more companies are working to make learning hours and professional development a priority both for recruiting and retaining top talent. 

2. Make Professional Development a Priority, Not an Afterthought

In our survey, we also wanted to learn more about whether companies openly supported the idea of learning hours during the workday. 

Unfortunately, based on our responses, there’s still quite a bit of room for improvement, with only 39.8% reporting their employers offer or support learning hours during work. 

Learning hours at work.

Perhaps, not surprisingly, many reported spending an hour or two before or after work learning new skills. 

  • “I usually study late evening or late night after my work hours.”
  • “On weekends, I do two sittings. One in the afternoon and one in the night.”
  • “When I am done with all the work stuff, I fire up the course I’m doing on my laptop and spend 20 min to an hour to go through a couple of lessons on my couch. I occasionally take notes or pause the video to check on my own examples. Most courses I do at 2x speed but slow down when I am unfamiliar with the topic.” 
  • “Becoming better at my work is one of the most valuable things I can do, and my employer agrees, so I block 2 hours in the morning to study during my workday.”

Whether you’re an employee looking to move up the ranks, or a marketing manager trying to get the most from your team, professional development shouldn’t be an afterthought.

There’s a reason why leading startups and businesses today place such a heavy emphasis on development. 

I would make the argument that it costs more to hire and train someone who leaves than it costs to develop them and have them stay and be productive.

Mike Warren adjunct business professor at Brandman University. 

Take a look at the hiring pages and perks of Zapier, Doist, and Buffer, for example. 

Doist
Zapier
Zapier

Here’s Buffer talking about their unlimited Kindle and Audible books perk:

Kindle and audible books: Each teammate and one dependent may receive unlimited, no-questions-asked Kindle and Audible.com books. Reading is a cornerstone to our value of self-improvement, and this has long been a favorite benefit of working at Buffer. During a teammate’s first 45 days, US teammates will be gifted with a Kindle Paperwhite, and international teammates are invited to purchase a Kindle on their own and expense this through Expensify.

They all place a heavy focus on development, both personally and professionally. 

Professional development won’t just help your employees become better at what they do; it can also help your team feel more connected and excited about their work. 

Deepening existing skills, learning new skills, broadening your knowledge into another area, getting really good at what you’re passionate about… these are the primary purposes of professional development.

says Stacey Christiansen.

We even make a note of our investment in professional development here at CXL on our hiring page.

If you’re leading a marketing team, an investment in professional development must come from the top. 

At CXL, each Thursday, we have what we call “study minutes,” where we set aside time for deep learning.

For example, I recently spent time watching a webinar on Clickup so I could become more efficient with my content marketing project management. 

CXL Slack.

Learning hours aren’t nice to have; they are a necessity. 

3. Discover How You Learn Best 

Dedicating time on your calendar and making professional development a priority is a good start. But ultimately, discovering how you learn best will yield the best results long term.

You may not like watching Youtube videos on SEO. You may not be able to retain information listening to an Audible book at 2x speed. You prefer listening to podcasts rather than reading books. That’s okay.

What’s important is understanding how you operate best. As with most things in marketing and business, best practices aren’t always the best solutions for you. 

Here’s how Ash Read, editorial director at Buffer, suggests stepping into professional growth as a marketer:

Try to form habits around whatever discipline of marketing you’re most excited about:

If you’re into video, download some stock footage and start editing it. 

If you want to become an SEO master, try reading as much content as possible from places like Moz, Ahrefs, and Backlinko.

If writing is your thing, set aside time on your calendar each day to sit and write

It can be daunting to look at marketing and think you need to fully master: analytics, data, CRO, SEM, advertising, copywriting, SEO, community, and more.

But in reality, to be a successful marketer, you don’t need to be an expert in every channel: one or two areas of expertise will be enough.

However, before diving right in and choosing an area or two to focus on, experiment with a bunch of different skills to see what’s the best fit for you.

Here are some more study routines and methods to consider as you find what works for you.

  • “I typically listen to videos at 2x speed while I read the materials. I slow parts down that are important and/or that have an action step.”
  • “Clear desk, headphones, drink nearby, split screens between lesson and a google doc for notes.”
  • “First preference is to learn by reading books, and second preference is to learn by using videos.”
  • “Open up a separate laptop that is not work in a separate environment and work until I reach a small milestone (e.g., done three segments of a course.)”

Conclusion

Being the best at what you do is difficult and putting in the work to get there is a never-ending battle. By making learning a priority, you can rapidly advance your career and continue to hone your craft.

  1. Block time on your calendar for “study minutes” each week.
  2. If you’re a manager, build professional development into your culture. 
  3. Discover how you learn most effectively; the sooner you know, the more your efforts can compound. 
  4. Don’t overdo it. We found no correlation with those who spent 90+ minutes learning, receiving increased promotions compared to those who spent 30-60 minutes a day on average. In fact, those who studied less than an hour a day were more likely to receive a promotion. 

The post How the Best Marketers Get Ahead: They Make Time to Learn appeared first on CXL.

4 Best Practices of Usability Testing for Senior Product Managers

One fundamental aspect of product management that is constantly being ignored until it proves it is vitality to the whole product discovery process is usability testing. Unfortunately, many product managers, novice or experienced, fail to acknowledge t…

One fundamental aspect of product management that is constantly being ignored until it proves it is vitality to the whole product discovery process is usability testing. Unfortunately, many product managers, novice or experienced, fail to acknowledge this step’s significance until their products hit the market and get insufficient attention or, worse, negative reviews from the […]

The post 4 Best Practices of Usability Testing for Senior Product Managers first appeared on Loop11.

Triple R: a new technique to rapidly accelerate most projects

—includes a template you can use on any project The following excerpt is from our in-house onboarding flow for new team members. We are publishing it as a series of articles, which we’re calling The Infinite Manager. The series describes the unconventional operating system that has enabled our small team to have such an impact on the web’s leading companies. You can progress much faster if you can more quickly explore avenues and abandon the dead ends. In this article, we describe a simple but incredibly powerful process we developed to do precisely that. We suspect it’s our most useful discovery to date.

—includes a template you can use on any project

The following excerpt is from our in-house onboarding flow for new team members. We are publishing it as a series of articles, which we’re calling The Infinite Manager. The series describes the unconventional operating system that has enabled our small team to have such an impact on the web’s leading companies.
You can progress much faster if you can more quickly explore avenues and abandon the dead ends. In this article, we describe a simple but incredibly powerful process we developed to do precisely that. We suspect it’s our most useful discovery to date.
Graphs showing the good and bad types of risk–time curve.
A project’s risk–time curve should look like a skateboard ramp—all of which we’ll explain below.

The process reframes projects in terms of risk and then identifies, scores, and prioritizes tasks that will give the highest risk-reduction rate (RRR)—a metric that, as we’ll show, is incredibly useful. The process takes just a few minutes for each project, yet it has accelerated progress rapidly in all areas of our business.

Please let us know what breakthroughs it reveals and how much time it saves you.

What you’ll get on this page

Why traditional project management often fails

Projects fall into two types:

  1. “Routine projects” are ones that are almost certain to succeed—perhaps because other people, or even you, have done the same thing before (like when a construction company builds its ten-thousandth house, or when McDonald’s opens up a new restaurant). Such projects tend to be procedural. Managing them is about handling logistics and juggling interrelated lists of tasks. They have little chance of failure, so this article doesn’t apply to them.
  2. Most projects are not certain to succeed. They either don’t finish, or they don’t produce the expected results. Often it’s because the team hasn’t done similar projects before (for example, when creating a new type of product, service, or company). Many of your company-improvement projects will be of this type, especially if you’re improving the company in ways that can’t simply be copied and pasted from elsewhere. The trick is to manage away all the risk, so you don’t waste time working on things that turn out to be failures. And failure is fractal: Even a project that eventually succeeds usually contains many hours wasted on dead ends. As you’ll see below, there’s a highly effective way to address risk, which traditional project management techniques overlook.

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”—Thomas Edison

How the Wright Brothers tackled risk head-on

The book The Wright Way describes how the Wright Brothers minimized risk when they invented the world’s first motor-operated airplane.

The brothers used an approach the book calls Tackle The Tyrant—or Worst First. They were relatively confident they could get a plane into the air with enough power to keep it going. Of all the challenges they faced, they were least confident they could make the plane balanced and controlled so it wouldn’t crash. They, therefore, concluded that balance-and-control was their most likely obstacle, and they worked on it to the exclusion of everything else. Only once they had solved balance-and-control did they start working on the more-likely-to-work aspects of the project, like propulsion and power.

Tackle The Tyrant is all about doing the risky steps first, to get them out of the way. Because until you have completed the likely-to-fail tasks, any time spent on sure-to-succeed tasks might turn out to be wasted.

(Of course, for projects that are time-constrained rather than resource-constrained—like a pandemic vaccine—the right decision may be to work on tasks in parallel and accept the risk of waste.)

Introducing risk-reduction rate (RRR)

You might think that the best approach is therefore to prioritize your tasks, starting with the riskiest first. However, a one-hour task that reduces 30% of the risk is thousands of times more efficient than a one-month task that reduces 40% of the risk.

Therefore, you should prioritize tasks not in terms of the absolute amount of risk they’ll reduce but in terms of their risk-reduction rate (RRR) (the amount of risk they’ll reduce per hour or dollar you invest in doing them). Incidentally, we pronounce RRR “triple R” to save us from sounding like sea lions or laughing pirates.

By doing the highest RRR tasks first, you’ll be doing them in the order that will most rapidly reduce the project’s remaining risk, so the risk–time curve will look like a skateboard ramp instead of a cliff edge:

A graph of risk versus time for a project in which the risk decreases quickly at first and then slowly later.
Skateboard ramp: When you prioritize tasks in the order that they’ll most quickly reduce the project’s remaining risk, the project’s risk-time curve takes the form of a skateboard ramp. If the project is going to fail, you’ll find out early, so you don’t waste much time.
A graph risk versus time for a project in which the risk decreases slowly at first and then fast near the end.
Cliff edge: When the same tasks are prioritized with the safest first (which is a bad idea), they take the form of a cliff edge. Even when you’re near the end of the project, you still don’t know if it will succeed or whether all your effort will be wasted.

If a project is doomed to fail, the skateboard-ramp approach allows you to find out many times faster, so you can quickly move on to the next project (or avenue within a project). Over time, you’ll be able to cover much more ground with much less time wasted.

A knowledge of the above graphs should theoretically be enough to ensure you always front-load your riskiest tasks. But, unfortunately, psychological biases get in the way…

The “Wason task” reveals why people take the cliff-edge approach even when they know they shouldn’t

The following fun video explains Wason’s 2-4-6 Hypothesis Rule Discovery Task. Even if you already know about the Wason task, we recommend you watch the video now because it helps to internalize the message (to the point that we rewatch it whenever we feel our intuition slipping):

A still image from the video of Wason’s 2-4-6 Hypothesis Rule Discovery Task, showing three people talking.
Wason’s 2-4-6 Hypothesis Rule Discovery Task

Finished watching? (The following paragraph contains spoilers.)

The Wason task shows the power of confirmation bias, the tendency to seek information that supports one’s theories and beliefs. The people in the video try to prove their theories right, when they’d be better off trying to prove them wrong.

That’s the hard thing about projects. They require you to be optimistic, and you need to open-mindedly ideate ways to succeed. But, as confirmation bias shows, that same optimism can tempt you to focus on the parts of the project that are likely to work and to put off the parts that are likely to go wrong. It’s tempting to create the packaging for your new product (something that’s 100% certain to succeed) and procrastinate on the difficult problem of getting product–market fit.

Unfortunately, knowing about a psychological bias doesn’t stop you from being influenced by it. We have known about the Tackle The Tyrant approach for years, but that didn’t stop us from putting off the hard, risky activities and doing the likely-to-succeed tasks first. For example, we once spent over ten hours evaluating a software platform only to discover that we couldn’t use it because it didn’t support two-factor authentication (2FA)—something we could have checked in the first few minutes. The experience prompted us to create the following process, which acts as a forcing function to prioritize those tasks that most quickly reduce the risk.

The RRR ranking process: How to operationalize the skateboard-ramp approach

In the following example, we describe our process as applied to a hypothetical project to set up new software for a client. You are welcome to create a copy of this Google Sheet template when following the steps.

Step 1: List the reasons the project could fail

Imagine yourself at some point in the future reflecting on why the project failed or had major setbacks. List the most likely reasons in the form of failure statements, worded as if they had actually happened. For example,

  • “We didn’t use the software because it didn’t support two-factor authentication (2FA),”
  • “The client didn’t want the software we recommended,”
  • “We hit an unexpected technical problem while integrating the software.”

Step 2: Write a risk-reduction task next to each failure statement

For each failure statement, write a risk-reduction task that will prove it false (or unavoidably true!) For example, for the failure statement “We didn’t use the software because it didn’t support two-factor authentication (2FA),” the risk-reduction task might be as simple as “Search the software’s website to see if it supports 2FA.”

Step 3: Score each row

Score each row using the following equation:

Risk Reduction Rate (RRR) = Dealbreakerness * Likelihood / Investment

where

  • Risk Reduction Rate (RRR): How quickly the task reduces the risk. (It’s measured per-hour or per-dollar invested, depending on which unit you choose for Investment. In the following examples, we’ll use per-hour.)
  • Dealbreakerness: Not all failures are catastrophic. If the failure statement does turn out to be true, to what extent would that mean the project had failed—where 0% means the project definitely wouldn’t have failed and 100% means it definitely would.
  • Likelihood. How likely do you think it is that the failure statement will turn out to be true—where 0% means it will not happen, and 100% means it definitely will.
  • Investment in time or money. What would you have to invest, in terms of time (hours) or money ($)—your choice—to complete the risk-reduction task?

Let’s return to the failure statement “We didn’t use the software because it didn’t support two-factor authentication (2FA).” We scored it as follows:

  • Dealbreakerness = 100% because we weren’t prepared to use the software if it didn’t support 2FA.
  • Likelihood = 20% because most software supports 2FA these days, so we figured there was about a 20% chance that it wouldn’t.
  • Investment = 0.1 hours because we guessed it would take only about five minutes to check if the software supported 2FA.

After carrying out the same scoring process for the other two failure statements, we ended up with the following table.

A screenshot of the Google Sheets template with the three examples in it
A screenshot of the Google Sheets template with the three examples in it.

Step 4: Try to identify tasks that would reduce the risk faster

By expressing the values explicitly, the process encourages you to challenge your assumptions and look for ways to reduce the risk. It’s hard to write “50 hours” next to a task without feeling compelled to consider whether there’s an alternative task that would overcome the risk in a tenth of the time (5 hours) or a hundredth of the time (30 minutes). Such tasks often exist, and they are usually easy to uncover.

Our next article will describe some of our favorite techniques for coming up with good risk-reduction tasks. (A/B testing is one of them: Before making a long-term policy decision about something, you try it for a week or so to see if it works.) If you’re on our email list, we’ll let you know as soon as the article is ready.

Step 5: Use the ranked list as your to-do list, and start with the highest RRR tasks

By doing the highest RRR tasks first, your project’s risk–investment curve will look like a skateboard ramp and not a cliff edge. Once the risky tasks are out of the way, you can proceed with the others (which may be so low-risk you didn’t even need to score them).

You can apply the RRR Process to subprojects and tasks

You can apply the RRR Process to projects of any size, from the largest ventures (like creating a company) to the smallest (like processing an individual job application).

Let’s consider the latter example.

You can accelerate your company’s hiring process by front-loading those activities that most rapidly (for you and the applicant) identify if a position will suit a particular applicant. For example, if the position absolutely requires the applicant to have a certain qualification (or skill or experience), and 80% of applicants don’t have it, then “Do you have [qualification/skill/experience]?” should be the first question on the application form. Then, if the applicant doesn’t have the qualification/skill/experience, you can make it clear to them immediately that it’s essential, to save them from wasting their time completing fifty more questions. By prioritizing your hiring questions using the RRR Process, you save everyone’s time.

Conclusion

The following three quotes are from Jeff Bezos:

“To invent, you have to experiment, and if you know in advance that it’s going to work, it’s not an experiment.”

“Our success at Amazon is a function of how many experiments we do per year, per month, per week, per day.”

“If you double the number of experiments you do per year, you’re going to double your inventiveness.”

The RRR Process has rapidly increased the rate of innovation in all areas of our business, by front-loading the risk and minimizing the time we spend on dead-end projects.

Try it, and please let us know about the breakthroughs you get.

Appendix A: How to carry out the RRR Process in your task manager of choice

Rather than using the Google Sheets template, perhaps you’d prefer to manage your risk-reduction tasks in your usual project management or to-do list software. We use, and love, Google Docs.

Just paste the following text as a new to-do:

Priority (= Dealbreakerness * Likelihood / Investment): Failure statement: [insert statement]. Risk-reduction task: [insert task].

…and then populate the details and carry out the calculation manually. For example,

  • 20,000 (=100*20/0.1): Failure statement: The software didn’t support two-factor authentication (2FA). Risk-reduction task: Check the software’s pricing page and knowledge base.

Finally, move each row up and down until the tasks with the largest RRR values are at the top:

  • 20,000 (=100*20/0.1): Failure statement: The software didn’t support two-factor authentication (2FA). Risk-reduction task: Check the software’s pricing page and knowledge base.
  • 4,000 (=100*40/1): Failure statement: The client wasn’t interested. Risk-reduction task: Write the key features and business case and then present them to the client.
  • 75 (=100*30/40): Failure statement: We couldn’t get the technology to work. Risk-reduction task: Set up and integrate the software.

Appendix B: A few more details about the graphs

You might find the following points interesting or helpful. On the graph of risk versus time invested,

  • Each task’s risk-reduction rate (RRR) is shown by its steepness (its gradient).
  • The area under a curve represents the project’s “risk-hours,” a measure of the hours at risk of being wasted due to the project failing. The skateboard-ramp curve has much less area under it than the cliff-edge curve.
  • If you think of the graphs as having “risk bands,” you want to spend as little time as possible working in the high-risk band:
A graph with the skateboard-ramp profile, the same as the one shown above, but with background colors to make it clearer when the risk is high (in red) or low (in green).
It can help to picture the graph in terms of bands of risk, and remember that you want to spend as little time as possible working in the high risk band.

What’s your goal today?

1. Hire us to grow your company

We’ve generated hundreds of millions for our clients, using our unique CRE Methodology™. To discover how we can help grow your business:

Claim your FREE strategy session

2. Learn how to do conversion

Browse hundreds of articles, containing an amazing number of useful tools and techniques. Many readers tell us they have doubled their sales by following the advice in these articles.

Download a free copy of our Amazon #1 best-selling book, Making Websites Win, recommended by Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Moz, Econsultancy, and many more industry leaders. You’ll also be subscribed to our email newsletter and notified whenever we publish new articles or have something interesting to share.

Download a free copy of our best-selling book

3. Work for us

If you want to join our team—or if you want to discover why our team members love working for us—then see our “Careers” pages.

4. Contact us

We help businesses worldwide, so get in touch!

CRO Analytics: How Analytics Help You Ace Your CRO Game (With Examples)

Google Analytics (GA) is an essential tool for Conversion Rate Optimization as it offers gold-standard data and customer insights that help businesses optimize their websites for better conversions.    If you want to think like a CRO analyst and make critical data-backed decisions for your CRO program, it’s imperative to have a basic understanding of some…

Google Analytics (GA) is an essential tool for Conversion Rate Optimization as it offers gold-standard data and customer insights that help businesses optimize their websites for better conversions.   

If you want to think like a CRO analyst and make critical data-backed decisions for your CRO program, it’s imperative to have a basic understanding of some crucial aspects of analytics and how its marriage with a set of essential CRO tools can shoot up your conversions.

Let’s set the foundation of your analytics and CRO journey by discussing the first and foremost aspect of it—CRO goals.

Tracking goals: Macro and micro conversions

Revenue-generating metrics, such as purchases on an eCommerce site, or sign-ups for a demo on a product website, typically bring in money and have been deemed as priority metrics, also known as macro metrics. Besides these, seasoned CRO practitioners recommend tracking auxiliary metrics that push a buyer to make a purchase or sign-up for a demo. These metrics are called micro conversions.

Practice brevity when it comes to deciding your macro conversions. The more macro conversion goals you have, the less specific you become. It’s a good practice to have no more than two macro conversions, so you can track them effectively and take subsequent decisions based on data and insights to maximize on them. For example, SaaS companies have a maximum of two macro conversion goals—free trial and demo request.

On the other hand, you can track as many micro-conversion goals as critical on your buyer’s journey to accomplish your main macro conversion goal. Newsletter subscriptions, eBook downloads, engagement on specific pages, adding products to cart, etc., are some examples of micro conversion goals. Identify the metrics that move the needle by consistently running A/B tests and keep them rolling until you find the profitable ones.

Cro Analytics Abtesting Banner

There are four critical types of goals that you can track in GA: URLs, duration, pages/visit, and events. You have to set up your goals in your GA account and start collecting data.

How to leverage insights from Google Analytics report for CRO

Google Analytics has standard preset reports that offer a wealth of insights into data on every nook and corner of your website. However, GA can only tell you about what is happening on the website. 

To dive deeper into the ‘whys’ of any particular data that GA collects around dimensions, metrics, events, etc., you must consider supporting CRO tools that enable you to analyze your visitor behavior for the invaluable insights they hold for your business. Thereby, helping you capitalize on these insights through rigorous testing, without spending money on driving more traffic or waiting for the traffic that converts (the latter is highly ineffective and impractical!).

What are the report types?

Google Analytics has broadly two types of reports—standard reports and custom reports.

Standard reports are preset reports that are further divided into segments such as real-time, audience, acquisition, behavior, and conversions. While custom reports, as the name suggests, are customizable as per the data you need in a single view. 

Real-Time Reports

Real-time reports allow you to monitor your site’s activity in real-time. You can utilize these reports to track real-time responses to a campaign, and look for optimization opportunities in specific events, elements, or content that are nailing it.

With the insights gathered from this report, you can utilize tools such as VWO insights to understand the whys around the GA-collected data in an easily comprehensible manner. You can run an A/B test on your campaigns launched at different times to maximize conversions with experimentation and data supporting your hypothesis.   

Real Time Overview

Real-time reports are broadly divided into six segments:

  • Overview: Offers you data of active users on your website.
  • Locations: This segment shows where in the world your visitors are accessing your website. You can apply filters for granular data such as their city and exact location.
  • Traffic: The data you see in the traffic segment is organized by source, medium, and the number of active users. 
  • Content: The data you see in the traffic segment is organized by source, medium, and the number of active users. 
  • Events: This segment shows you the top custom events in real-time, such as ad clicks, video plays, clicks, etc. You can look at the non-real-time data in the behavior reports discussed in the following sections.
  • Conversions: The conversion report shows you conversions accomplished in real-time for any goals you have set in your GA. You can view on which device users are converting more.

Audience

As the name suggests, audience reports drill down crucial data of your audience. This data is not real-time data but shows you a useful snapshot of your audience in its overview section. The segments are divided into 15 sections, namely, overview, active users, lifetime value, cohort analysis, audiences’ demographics, interests, geo, behavior, technology, mobile, cross-device, custom, benchmarking, and user flow.

Audience Overview

This section in GA is a gold mine of audience insights. But to understand what these data indicate, you must invest in an industry-standard visitor behavior analysis CRO tool like VWO Insights.  

For example, suppose you know that conversions of new visitors are sub-par compared to the returning visitors or loyal customers on your website. In that case, you must look into a CRO opportunity to convert better by understanding the new visitor’s behavior on your site.  

You can utilize heatmaps, session recordings, and run surveys to understand your users’ hesitations when they visit your website for the first time.

New Vs Returning User

Acquisition

Acquisition reports in GA give you insights into the user’s path to reach your website. This report, as shown below, is the overview that summarizes critical data about how the users landed on your website.

Screenshot 2021 01 05 At 11 28 46 Pm

It shows you the total visits of the site and the number of users, new users, and sessions as metrics against acquisition dimensions, such as direct, paid, display, affiliates, referral, etc. 

These reports are divided into six segments: Overview, All traffic, Google Ads, Search Consoles, Social, Campaign.

Using your social landing page reports, you can identify which social channels are bringing you traffic. These data show you the URL, sessions, page views, and session duration, as shown below.

Social Landing Pages Report

You can make an informed, data-backed decision by looking at the most shared landing page’s heatmaps and gauge user behavior after they land on your page. 

AssessmentDay, which deals with a supply business of aptitude tests to graduates and job seekers, ran an A/B split URL test on their co-branded landing page for optimizing the website content. The acquisition data suggested that they were driving most of the traffic from the affiliate website. They ran back to back A/B tests on their high-traffic landing page and observed a 65% improvement in the conversions

Behavior

Google Analytics’s behavior report shows you how website visitors navigate your website and interact with your content. The behavior report is further broken down into eight segments: overview, behavioral flow, site content, site speed, site search, events, publisher, and experiments.

Behavior Overview

This report offers ample opportunity for optimization. For example, using this report, you can identify where your visitors feel disengaged enough to drop off in the funnel during their journey. Utilize heatmaps and on-page surveys to know why they are dropping off and optimize the website elements for better conversions.

Behavior Flow Report

Conversions

Based on the type of business you do online, conversions (macro conversions) fall into two categories—sale or leads. In Google Analytics, conversion reports are divided into three segments: goals, eCommerce, and multi-channel funnels.  

Utilizing the eCommerce report, which shows you the most popular sold products (top sellers) and the revenue they have generated, you assess the opportunities to improve the current conversion rate using effective CRO tools. Deep dive into the data you have collected in GA, generate ideas, and test which one works best for you

For example, if an item of specific clothing is driving more conversions, you can drill down more about the product to see how users are behaving on this product page. Are there drop-offs? Are they abandoning the cart? If they are landing on your page, they have a huge intent to buy. 

You can optimize a metric like cart abandonment through running a cart abandonment campaign to improve your metrics. CRO tools such as VWO Insights that offer session recordings and on-page surveys enable you to observe the visitor behavior.

Ecommerce Overview

Five reports that can help you achieve your desired conversion rates

1. Landing Page Performance report:

Find this behavior report under site content. This report is essential in every CRO analyst’s conversion toolbox. The insights you find here can easily be translated into conversions as it identifies non-performing pages that need to be worked upon. But here’s a catch! GA data can help you only ‘identify’ these pages. What good or bad went in hindsight needs to be looked at as well, if you want to optimize your website for better conversions. And that’s what CRO tools are here for. 

Behavior Site Report

2. Behavioral data by content post:

This report can be found under site content’s all pages segment. This gives you an insight into which blog post is bringing you lots of traffic that is not converting. You can create an advanced segment in this report to see how your blog posts contribute to the business revenue goals.

Create an advanced segment to procure this information by following the below steps:

  1. Copy the URL of the page you want to analyze.
  2. Click +Add Segment
  3. Find “Conditions” and “Sequences” on the left-hand side of the panel.
  4. Set up “Sequence” as “STEP 1” for the page to be analyzed.
  5. Set up “STEP 2” with transactions per user greater than 0.
Screenshot 2021 01 06 At 4 09 10 Pm

With all the traffic you have on your site, it presents ample opportunity for improving your conversions to you as a CRO person. Using tools like VWO insights, which is an easy to understand and visually interactive tool, you can deduce why your non-converting visitors are behaving in a certain way on your blog post. It could be because of a broken CTA on your landing page you are not paying attention to or they seem non-engaged because of lack of any visual media or may be too many spam-like visuals! But these are just hypotheses you must test before jumping to fix them following your gut instinct. 

3. Goal funnel visualization:

This is one of the crucial conversion reports that GA offers you for your CRO program. You can analyze how much traffic is dropping off at each step of your conversion funnel. To understand and analyze why this traffic behaves in a certain manner, CRO tools such as VWO insight’s Funnels empower you to make data-based decisions to optimize broken elements of your funnel. Find this report under Conversions > Goals > Funnel visualization.

Goal Funnel Visualization

4. Horizontal funnels report:

If you have an enhanced eCommerce set up, look for these horizontal funnels under Conversions > eCommerce > Shopping Behavior. You can leverage many data-backed insights for CRO across multiple dimensions such as city, devices, browsers, etc., using essential CRO tools like VWO Funnels. Before implementing these insights, just A/B test them!

Horizontal Funnels Report

5. Conversion by browser and OS

Browser reports and device reports are great to look at for easy insights that can fetch you conversions with the right set of CRO tools. Looking at these data, you can figure out which browser is not driving substantial conversions, and then you can drill down further by clicking on the same to see which version is impacting the overall conversion rate.

Conversion Report By Os And Browser
Os And Browser Report

How to set up GA reports in your CRO tool

You can set up these reports by integrating GA in your experimentation tools like VWO to make the most out of your CRO efforts. 

For example, if you are optimizing content on your landing page, integrating VWO with GA will allow you to view your website data in GA for the variations you create for the test. You can also filter data based on the metrics that you define in GA. 

You will need to:

Enable Intergration In Vwo

You can also integrate GA for your existing tests by logging into your VWO account and choosing the test you want to work with.

Smart Stats

If you are using more than one GA account, you can enter the Account Prefix you want to integrate with VWO. You must leave the field empty if you are using a single account.

  • Create custom reports: Custom variable slots are used for visitor information. VWO-GA integration uses these slots to send information related to the tests, variations that your visitors access. You can find the setup instructions here.

Conclusion

A thorough understanding of analytics reports and GA integration with effective CRO tools is the fundamental recipe to succeed at your CRO game, but with patience. With tools like behavior analysis and A/B testing, you will be able to hit a treasure trove of insights with all the data you have collected, which in turn will generate actionable, tried and tested ideas (quite literally!) for driving conversions that put money in your pocket. 

Request Demo Banner For Cro Analytics