Budgeting for CRO: Why You Need To Set Aside a Budget and How To Create One

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is still under-prioritized at many companies and is often the last, sometimes even neglected, marketing investment. However, omitting CRO from your marketing strategy means you’re assuming that acquiring new users is more geared to ROI as compared to maximizing your existing base – whereas, in reality, your user base is already…

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is still under-prioritized at many companies and is often the last, sometimes even neglected, marketing investment. However, omitting CRO from your marketing strategy means you’re assuming that acquiring new users is more geared to ROI as compared to maximizing your existing base – whereas, in reality, your user base is already available for conversion to actual revenue.

Even though the outcome of SEO and Pay-per-click ads can be quantified more easily, and the true impact of CRO only shows over time, CRO should be prioritized. This is because not optimizing your website could eventually push back your SEO and PPC efforts too. If you cannot convert your visitors into customers, you are not doing justice to your brand and traffic spend. Without CRO, you also run the risk of focusing on vanity metrics and lose money due to lost opportunities and conversions. Besides, your decision-making around website updates, if not conversion-focused, can end up costing the company too. 

Rutger Kühr, Head of CRO at Pricewise, says,“CRO is not just about getting the golden nugget of a 20% uplift, but also about preventing bad ideas from going live”.

Rutger believes that while it could work differently for different companies, without CRO, any change in eCommerce is basically a gamble.

Despite this, many companies still do not set aside money specifically for CRO. Also, those starting to understand its importance might not know how to budget for it. If they spend on CRO at all, the funds are likely to be drawn from a shared marketing pot. Having worked with thousands of brands, at VWO, we’ve realized that many companies struggle to transition from this shared budget, where CRO is not a priority. Hence, we want to demystify the CRO budgeting process for you.

Accelerate Your Growth With VWO

In this guide, we share our findings providing an actionable framework with real-world insights.

Budgeting for CRO

What are the benefits of creating a dedicated CRO budget?

Budgeting for CRO generally means you are looking at either hiring an agency or investing in bringing CRO in-house. 

Here are some common benefits of creating a separate CRO budget:

  • You can hire dedicated staff or an agency to run tests. Dedicated staff can coordinate with other departments allowing for a CRO strategy that aligns better with overall goals.  
  • If you have the budget to hire a dedicated CRO Manager, you can create a robust CRO testing roadmap.
  • You are not fighting for funding against other marketing functions.

“To us, it’s just as important to spend on CRO as it is to spend on our advertising or our creatives”, says Harry Cederbaum of Twillory eCommerce company. 

Rutger from Pricewise puts forth the perspective of flexibility to this. Though a staunch advocate of CRO, he does not agree on attaching a specific number to it.

“If you put aside a fixed amount for CRO, you’re probably missing out on potential opportunities outside of that amount”, he says. 

What constitutes the budget for CRO?

Here are four of the main categories that you must consider within your CRO budget:

Human capital

Human capital is likely to be the highest cost as a proportion of your budget. Human capital costs include the cost of your existing staff spending time on, or any new team members hired, to meet your CRO objectives. It also includes fees for external consultants or agency teams, if you’re using them. 

Building an in-house team (it is unrealistic to combine all required skills into a single role) usually costs a lot more than outsourcing your CRO program to an agency. If you do opt for building a team of experts, you would ideally need at least one specialist each in the area of project management, strategy, UX design, data science, and front-end development. Even a conservative estimate of the team’s total compensation would fall at nearly half a million dollars annually(1).

Hiring a digital marketing agency to run your CRO program can cost you in the range of $3k/month up to $9k/month. If you choose to get a freelance CRO practitioner on-board, you tend to pay them $10/hour to $400/hour, depending on the level of expertise. The other alternative is hiring a specialized CRO firm – the top ones can cost you around $16k/month, but you can also find some of the smaller ones charging approx. $3k/month to $5k/month(2).

Tool cost

Tool Cost

Alongside staff costs, you’ll also need to consider the cost of any tools or equipment you need. Tool costs will depend on the providers you use and the features you require.

On average, companies spend nearly $2,000 a month on CRO tools(3). The tools available in the market can be evaluated based on your requirements at each stage of the CRO journey – research, hypothesis, prioritization, testing, and learning. If you’re a beginner in CRO, there are free tools with basic features that can give you a headstart. Depending on your level of CRO maturity, you can also choose a single, integrated tool for all your optimization needs.  

Harry from Twillory explains how decisions around acquiring a new tool are based on reviews in their company. 

“If we are considering a new tool like VWO, for instance, we have a review for whether we want to invest in it. We are a bootstrapped company and don’t have VC money to spend, so our decisions are usually based on reviews”, he says.

Opportunity cost

Opportunity cost refers to revenue lost as a result of the choices not made. 

CRO helps you identify the best call-to-action (CTA). In the period when your website runs with the lower performing CTA, you are incurring an opportunity cost. 

For example, if you decide to use CTA Option 1, you lose the potential sales you would have gained using CTA Option 2. If Option 1 is less successful, you have incurred an opportunity cost during the period CTA 1 was run. 

Once a winning variation is identified, it takes time to deploy it on the website. There is a cost associated with the time lapse between testing and implementing a winning idea.  What you need to bear in mind though, is that A/B testing is an important part of the CRO process. What it essentially does is prevents you from making changes to your website that don’t improve conversions and implementing ideas that could potentially damage conversions.

Request a demo with VWO and start A/B testing your website for improved conversions.

Experimentation regret

During any test, one version will perform better than the other, however small or sizable this difference may be. If the variation performs better than the control, the overall performance of your website will be better than the status quo. Experimentation regret, on the other hand, is if the variation happens to perform worse than the status quo, therefore resulting in an overall decreased website performance. 

When you create your CRO budget, aim to strike a balance between highlighting potential issues and focusing on the potential benefits.

Does a CRO budget fit into your current needs?

How A CRO Budget Fits In Your Current Needs

Before you go any further, consider whether a budget is right for your needs at this time. 

According to Rohit Dey, Optimization Consultant & Sales Head North America at VWO, clients start thinking about budgeting for a CRO service when typically one of these two things happen:

  1. They’ve started acquiring traffic through paid mediums and they understand the composition of this traffic along with the conversion rate for each of these traffic mediums. Now they want to see an ROI on it.
  2. They are reiterating their design philosophy i.e. taking major design decisions that they need to validate and make sure that they impact conversion rates positively. 

Rohit also believes that a lot of organisations are realizing that analytics, by itself, is not enough.

“Analytics gives the answer to ‘what is the problem on your website’, but does not explain the ‘why’ of it. Getting to the solution for the problem requires a hypothesis, which in turn needs research and data. Organizations look for CRO services for this”, he says.

How to prepare your CRO budget

How to prepare your CRO budget

If you’re preparing a budget for CRO activities, it means you’re convinced that these activities will impact your bottom line positively. But you need to convince your management on this too (more on how to do this in the coming sections). If everyone is on-board with the idea that the resources required are worth the end-goal, budgeting should be a smooth process for you. 

Start with calculating your lead value. If your average lead value is $5, and you’re generating 5,000 leads every month, you know you can set aside less than or equal to approx. $25,000 for setting up CRO tools, and a team. As your lead value increases, you can consider increasing your CRO budget too. Likewise, if an A/B testing tool costs less than the lead amount it generates, you can go ahead and purchase it. 

Rutger from Pricewise says, “It depends on the tool you’re using and where you’re storing results. For instance, client-side testing can be done in-house with developers but would be more expensive for us than using a tool”.

There could be some tools and talent already within your organization that you could maximize for CRO. It’s a good idea to scope the projected use of these in your budget. 

Set conversion goals in your budget that circle back to quantifiable, profitable returns for your company. Calculate your present conversion rate to determine a baseline and set benchmarks for the tests you’re committing to in your budget. 

According to Alan at ClickThrough Marketing, it typically takes 10-14 months to see a good ROI and actionable learnings from CRO experiments. So you’d want to start with an annual budget that allows you sufficient time to test your ideas and analyze the outcomes.  

Based on your specific reason for investing in CRO, you can create a budget and build a CRO test-case that aligns with your goals.

What you need to be mindful of is that demonstrating value early on in your CRO journey is very important. Without that, getting a budget sanctioned in the future may not be possible. To get early results, make sure you scope for and focus on experiments that don’t require a lot of development work or occur on low-traffic pages, hence slowing down your testing velocity. VWO’s Bayesian-powered stats engine, SmartStats, enables you to conclude tests faster and more accurately.

Take a free trial with VWO to improve your testing velocity.

How to decide if you should use an agency or an in-house team

Should You Use An Agency Or Build An In House Team?

One of the most significant decisions you will make as you draw up your budget is whether to hire a CRO agency or manage your campaign in-house, and the right choice will depend on your company and your needs. There are numerous considerations. 

First, consider the skills and capacity within your existing marketing team. How much do they know about CRO? Companies with a strong marketing team that already understand CRO might consider directing existing staff time towards the process rather than hiring a new person or bringing in an agency.  However, this may not be a good idea in the long-term. The skills needed for nailing CRO are wide and deep, and many marketing teams might not have the required knowledge of say, statistics, psychology, or user research. The question then would be if you’re willing to spend considerable time to upskill your existing pool of resources, or use an agency. 

You can start with a smaller budget focusing on those low-cost, high-reward options we mentioned earlier. Just keep in mind that CRO can fail if you don’t have the right person for it in-house. Something as simple as not knowing when to conclude a test can damage your position to get further buy-in for CRO from the management. 

Also, hiring is expensive. As mentioned before, putting together even a small team of specialists would cost more than what many companies, particularly smaller businesses can afford. 

For this reason, it may make more sense for small businesses and newer companies to start out by working with an agency. 

Here are some of the benefits of working with an agency: 

  • Shorter project-initiation times. Hiring a new team member and getting started can take weeks or months, whereas a project with an agency can be initiated in a matter of days. 
  • Greater flexibility.
  • Smaller upfront budget commitment.
  • Shorter-term financial burden.
  • Strategic experience in experimentation and building a testing culture so you get the ROI needed to convince stakeholders.
  • A wide range of expertise in different areas that would prove very expensive to achieve in-house.
  • An unbiased approach to conducting research. 

Working with a CRO agency can cost anything from $5,000 to $16,000 per month as mentioned earlier, depending on your project’s size, complexity, and the velocity of testing you opt for. 

Another option for companies is to start their CRO journey with an agency and transition in-house when the timing is right. Agencies are equipped to help companies build and run an in-house program. Also, your CRO program does not end when your contract with the agency ends, it makes sense to use the agency when extra resources are needed or for help to resolve specific challenges. Therefore, the options need not necessarily be mutually exclusive. 

Here are some benefits of bringing CRO in-house: 

  • An in-house team will be focused solely on your business, as opposed to having multiple clients. 
  • An in-house team can work out more cost-effectively if you are dedicated to CRO as a permanent business function. 
  • In-house staff can get to know your business best. 
  • Stronger opportunities for collaboration between teams. 

The team associated with each business unit works closely together to share best practices, monitor progress, and fix anything that isn’t working. With CRO specialists entrenched in the company, they can operate in an agile fashion, planning on a month-to-month basis with an eye on the long-term goals and overall KPIs.

An in-house CRO team can be structured around 3 models depending on your company size, CRO budget, and metrics: centralized, decentralized, and center of excellence (COE). Centralized teams focus on developing long-term optimization strategies and have localized expertise within the team. Decentralized teams have responsibilities distributed among team members across departments. The COE model utilizes a combination of centralized and decentralized approaches. Each model has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, so figuring out which one works best for you is important. 

One final aspect that you might consider as you make your decision around hiring is your average order value. 

Alan at Clickthrough says, “if the average order value for a website is high, then [an agency’s] capability to get that return on investment is much greater”.

Creating a proposal and making a compelling case for CRO

Before you begin constructing your proposal, there is some critical information you will need to gather. 

  1. What is the current conversion rate on your website and how is it being measured?
  2. How does your company currently define conversion? Which important actions is it aiming for visitors to perform?
  3. What is your maturity level compared to others in your segment? 
  4. Which tools do you currently use to manage your website and analyze its performance?
  5. Who are the important stakeholders, and who are the people you need to liaise with on an ongoing basis for the CRO program to work effectively?

Once you have this information in place, create a proposal that incorporates the following:

  1. Your explanation of what CRO means and how it will improve the business. 
  2. Your conversion goals and how you will measure them. 
  3. The process you will follow to achieve the goal in terms of audit, action, and reporting. 
  4. The existing resources that you will need access to; both tools and talent.
  5. The cost of planned CRO activities bundled in an easy-to-consume package.
  6. The expected outcome and ROI.

If you’re bent towards hiring an agency, you will most likely receive such a proposal from their side. If you’re considering CRO in-house, you will need to create one. 

In either case, each of the proposal elements should focus on the company’s benefit. The proposal should clearly articulate how the CRO goal of getting more visitors into the sales funnel will be achieved.  Rohit from VWO explains that an agency’s focus during the proposal stage is to help the client understand that CRO is a process, it would take 6-12 months for a successful CRO program to yield results, and what a projected uplift in conversion rate would mean for the client in terms of say, gross sales or number of leads.

Request a proposal from the experts at VWO Services and leverage VWO’s insights, testing, and deploying features.

“We focus on the ROI, and then justify the investment in the CRO program. We also focus on learnings – we don’t say every experiment will be a winner but there will be a learning in each experiment”, Rohit says.

As a follow up to the proposal, many companies also present a business case to the senior management highlighting specific financial details of the budget. For instance, considering your current traffic and conversion rate, how much an X% increase in a particular metric could drive in terms of revenue, how it could make paid campaigns more profitable, or allow you to spend an additional X amount of money into ads to scale your business.

Navigating the proposal process

The proposal process is likely to include the following steps: 

  • Generating buy-in from relevant team members. 
  • Getting support from the Head of Marketing (or equivalent). 
  • Running test-cases and gathering data. 
  • Creating your proposed budget. 
  • Presenting your proposal to the Board or C-suite. 
  • Answering questions about your proposed project. You’ll need to show you have thought through the possible risks and taken steps to manage them. 
  • Possibly refining your proposal or providing more information, if required. 

If you use a financial justification for CRO, present specific numbers and robust data at every stage of the process to support your case.

“Associate CRO to one lever in the organization – whether it’s UX, financial, or operational. Explain what an un-optimized form means for say, an insurance provider. What does the loss of conversion look like in terms of revenue loss?”, Rohit from VWO explains.

Often, focusing on the negative can get you the buy-in you need. You could stress on something like – CRO will get you a 10% uplift (which is very tough to predict in the first place) – or you could show how bad UX will create a negative brand image. The latter could prove to be more effective.

How to design an initial test case that builds buy-in

Test Case For CRO

A test case is a set of actions designed to prove a hypothesis – in this case, that CRO matters and is worth the investment. Your test-case should be low risk and high reward. In other words, the investment cost in time or money should be minimal, while the outcome will help either decrease cost or increase earnings.

You will need to design a simple experiment and establish a framework of trackable KPIs to demonstrate the outcome. Focusing on compound annual earnings when measuring success can help. In other words, how much additional revenue are you likely to generate for the next year based on the results of a successful test?

For example, let’s imagine that you design a test case based on changing the layout of your sales page to improve the customer experience. Now let’s further imagine that this change brings in a 5% increase in conversion rate. That number might sound small, but project it out over the next one year. What does that small increase in conversion rate mean in terms of annual revenue?

A great test-case should have the following characteristics: 

  • Low cost – both in terms of the financial cost and time.
  • Easy to implement.
  • Easy to replicate or re-run if necessary.
  • Controlled for other variables. For example, don’t run your CRO test on Black Friday when your revenue increase can be easily attributed to the sale instead of your CRO efforts.
  • In addition, you should consider the long-term potential (or lack thereof) for a test and result. Alan at Clickthrough told us about a test he ran using the “dark mode” on Apple’s iOS system. Though the initial results were promising, he noted that they likely wouldn’t last. “Those results are likely to be short lived because dark mode was a trend”, Alan says.  

There are numerous test-cases you could run, but the important thing is to start with research or user insights and identify the low-hanging fruits. Based on your observations, you could formulate a hypothesis around some of the examples mentioned below : 

  • Changing the wording, color, or placement of your call to action. For example, in one test VWO ran for a client, a simple change to the CTA button yielded a 62% increase in conversions
  • Improving product image quality. 
  • Adding customer reviews or testimonials to your sales page. 

If you ensure your test case meets all the criteria we outlined above (low cost, easy to implement, easy to re-run if necessary, and controlled for external variables) and is based on user insights gained from research tools like heatmaps, you’ll ensure that you present a results-oriented and detailed case for CRO budgeting. If this sounds tricky, you can always get in touch with our experts at VWO for a detailed audit of your website.

Common problems that might sink your budget (and how to avoid them)

With any project, things can go wrong. If you’re the person in charge of the project, the blame will land at your feet. The best way to avoid this is to be aware of the areas that could cause your CRO project to go over-budget or identify tests that might fail and mitigate those risks.

Some of the most common budget-sinking problems you should be aware of are:

  • Delays. Preventable delays are the biggest cause of project overspend. 
  • Testing ideas that are based on gut rather than user data; which is likely to lead to failed experiments.
  • Incorrect prioritization of hypotheses i.e. the high impact ideas are not tested first.
  • Lack of patience to see the first (and regular) “successful” tests.
  • Inability to interpret test results correctly, so you don’t know what to do with them – implement or take learnings
  • Incomplete buy-in/support from management/relevant teams you want resources from.

The best way to manage these strategies is to have a clear plan and be aware of what you want to achieve. For instance, you can avoid delays by creating a clear and realistic timeline for the project, with numerous smaller deadlines and check-in points along the way. 

In addition, when an experiment fails, or you don’t see the results you wanted, ensure you take the time to learn from them. Every failure teaches you something that will enable you to increase revenue, improve customer experience, or streamline your processes next time. 

Experiment the right way with VWO. Take a free trial to leverage all available features

How to strategically scale your CRO program and increase your budget

CRO is still undervalued in many companies, with senior executives preferring to use their budget for traffic acquisition rather than increasing conversions. To overcome this, you need to demonstrate the value CRO can add. Low-risk, high-reward tests, and a strong project proposal and budget, are the tools that will allow you to do this. 

The trick to a scalable strategy is to build a company culture that values experimentation and sees the value in CRO. 

You need to be forewarned with the knowledge that CRO investments tend to go down the path of diminishing returns if not treated wisely. A boost from 1% conversion rate to 2% will generally cost less than a boost from 2% to 4%. You then need to adapt your strategy as your website gets optimized – test bolder ideas and test more broadly throughout the business.

As Alan from Clickthrough Marketing says, “CRO is not cheap, but if you do it well, it pays more dividends than you can hope for. You need to be open-minded and think long-term”.

Build A Culture Of Experimentation With Vwo

5 Ways to Use Visitor Behavior Analytics to Increase Your Conversions

Conversions are one of the topmost pain points for most businesses today. Why? Because they’re highly unpredictable and yet are the most critical aspect affecting every business’s growth. The unpredictability of conversion stems from the unpredictable behavior of us, humans. Just the change of the color of a CTA button or adding a single word…

Conversions are one of the topmost pain points for most businesses today. Why? Because they’re highly unpredictable and yet are the most critical aspect affecting every business’s growth.

The unpredictability of conversion stems from the unpredictable behavior of us, humans. Just the change of the color of a CTA button or adding a single word to your landing page headline can bring about a drastic change in your conversion rates. 

For example, Cocohanee, an eCommerce website, increased their number of transactions by 40% simply by adding their USP on the product pages and redesigning their menu! Who would have thought about that?

If only there was a way to understand and decode user behavior and use it for optimizing landing pages, right?

Use user behavior analytics to improve conversions

Though we cannot completely analyze and predict user behavior, user behavior analytics can help us speculate at least some parts of it and increase conversion rates.

You too, can use user behavior analytics to bring about a drastic improvement in your conversion rates and increase the ROI of your business (check out VWO Insights). Let’s have a look at how you can do that.

1. Use heatmaps for your landing pages

Heatmaps are a system for data visualization where you can view users’ behavior using a color-coded system. Using heatmaps, you can precisely visualize human behavior. The colors indicate the number of clicks on any part of the webpage.

Using heatmaps for your landing pages can be an excellent way to understand how your visitors are interacting with your webpage. You can understand where the users are focusing their attention.

VWO Heatmap

Using heatmaps for landing pages, you can find data about your landing page content, the images and videos that you have added, and the call to action button clicks. This way, you can find room for improvement and use it to improve your conversion rates.

You can also use scrollmaps to identify the ideal length of your landing page. Using a scrollmap, you’d know the ideal position to place your sign-up form and CTA to get maximum conversions.

You can use a mouse-tracking heatmap to track mouse movement. This way, you can identify the places where most of your visitors are hovering over. You can set goals for your heatmaps and document important observations. Based on these, you can come to accurate conclusions that will help you bring about drastic changes in your conversion rates.

Once you’ve found how your visitors are interacting with a particular element on your landing page, you can use A/B testing to test different variations of the same element. This way, you’ll be able to optimize your conversions.

A great example of the use of heatmap would be the case study of Paltalk, a B2C chat service based out of the USA. Using heatmaps, it was observed that users were not able to effectively view the different categories of virtual gifts. With a change in design for the virtual gifts menu, Paltalk increased their conversion rate by 11.32%!

Take a full-featured free trial with VWO to leverage heatmaps for your website.

2. Personalize the experience based on the user journey stage

Not every user of yours would be the same. Some would be new and unfamiliar to your brand. Some might have heard your brand’s name but don’t really understand your offering. While some others might have been stalking your website for a while.

This means users at different stages of their customer journey would have different perceptions about your brand and your offering. So, is it fair to target them with the same messaging and expect them to convert? Absolutely not!

Instead of targeting all your users with the same landing page and messaging, you can try to segregate your users based on their customer journeys and then target them with different landing pages. This strategy can be extremely effective in improving your conversion rates.

For the segregation of your customer data based on their customer journey stages, a potent Customer Relationship Management tool such as SuperOffice can be powerful. SuperOffice will gather all your prospect and customer data along with the information about the touchpoints with each of these users.

Using a CRM tool such as SuperOffice, you will be able to create customized target lists of users based on their customer journeys. 

You can then target each of these lists with different landing pages, email campaigns, advertising, and messaging. You’ll definitely see a massive increase in your conversions this way.

Here are some other ways to personalize user experiences:

  • Visitor data collection – Collect prospects’ data and use it to offer ultra-personalized experiences to them. You can collect visitor data by cookies, web beacons, email activity tracking, or even asking the visitors directly.
  • Visitor profiling – Based on the customer and prospect data collected, you can create your ideal customer personas to offer personalized experiences to each of these personas.
  • Set your goals – Before implementing personalization, it is good to set goals for the same. What do you want to achieve using personalization? In this case, it would be increased conversions but you can set a few other goals too.
  • Plan and implement – Next, you can start working on your strategies for personalization. You can use A/B testing to try different variations of your personalization strategies. This way, you’ll get much better results.
  • Measure success – Finally, you should keep track of your metrics and understand if your set goals were. This way you can keep improving your conversion rate over time.

3. Find the reason behind increased bounce rate

If you are experiencing increased bounce rates on your website, especially on your landing pages, then this is not something that you should ignore. Increased bounce rates can be a major indicator of the fact that something might be going wrong.

So, get down to the root cause of it. You can use heatmaps and session replays to understand the reason behind increased bounce rates. There can be multiple reasons for this. Some of them being:

  • Inconsistent branding and messaging can drive away your website users. Hence, ensure that you use consistent branding and messaging along all the touchpoints.
  • Slower page load speed can be a major reason why your users are bouncing.
  • Your headline and the entire landing page copy may not be enticing enough for the user to stick around and convert. So, make sure to add a more benefit-driven copy that directly hits the pain points of the users.
  • Add some more engaging elements such as an image, an illustration, a video, and some form of social proof. Adding these elements will persuade the user to put their trust in you and fill-up your form.

Once you’ve found the most probable reason for the increased bounce rate, you can use A/B testing to confirm the reason. For instance, if you think that the headline of your landing page is the reason for increased bounce rate, you can try split testing by varying your headline and optimize your conversions this way.

4. Vary your landing pages based on the traffic sources

Most businesses have multiple traffic and referral sources for their landing pages. Some part of your traffic may be coming from emails, some from social media advertising, while some from SEO. 

The users from all these traffic sources would have come across different messaging. For example, your Facebook ad might read “Free landing page optimization tactics,” while another referral traffic source might have read “Free checklist for increasing conversions.”

Though these two messaging might be indicative of the same, it is better to stick to the exact same messaging throughout. Hence, you can consider having different landing pages for different traffic sources. 

Doing this will ensure that your landing pages are appropriately customized for every user segment. And this will definitely lead to an increase in the number of sign-ups.

5. Use session recordings to optimize your landing pages

You can also use session recordings of your landing pages to analyze the user behavior with great detail. 

VWO Session Replays

With each session recording, you can look for details such as the mouse movement, user clicks, scrolling patterns, and the area of your landing page where the user is spending the most time. 

Using session recordings, you can improve the performance of your website’s core metrics by improving the site navigation, site design, form design, and form flow. You can run experiments and reduce bounce rates, ultimately leading to increased conversion rates.

Increase Conversion Rates Using Session Recordings

Using session recordings of your landing pages, you can understand common browsing patterns and distractions that are keeping the users from clicking on your CTA button. 

There may be a huge number of reasons for reduced conversion rate such as a misplaced CTA, a distracting ad, or a lengthy form. Whatever the reasons may be, you’ll be able to analyze that through session recordings and make appropriate amendments.

Using this data from session replays, you can try to change your landing page structure, which will ultimately lead to increased conversions for your business. 

For example, suppose you find many of your users are stopping at a particular point in your landing page. This may be because the users find this part more interesting and want to stop and read through it. So, you can consider placing this part above the fold to make your landing page even more impactful.

You can then use A/B testing to test if your observations based on session recordings are working as expected. Request a demo with the experts at VWO for valuable insights on your website.

A good example would be A/B testing done on the Locations Hawaii website. Using 3-variation A/B testing where the CTA button was changed in each variant, the number of leads was increased by 23%

The Control And Variations Of The Locations Hawaii Property Detail Pages

Start using user behavior analytics to improve your conversions

You now know the various tactics you can use to analyze users’ behavior and come to precise conclusions based on it. 

Using behavior analytics can be a major turning point in your business’s growth. So, start implementing these strategies right away and watch a massive boost in your conversions.

Retargeting: An Incredibly Powerful CRO Tool

“Ads are creepy!” “People don’t like to watch ads!” Such notions regarding ads come around often, leaving beginners in marketing freaked out for multiple reasons. However, the reality lies in data, which suggests that 47% of consumers are happy to sacrifice their privacy to get a better deal while shopping online.[1] Yes. That’s right! This…

“Ads are creepy!”

“People don’t like to watch ads!”

Such notions regarding ads come around often, leaving beginners in marketing freaked out for multiple reasons. However, the reality lies in data, which suggests that 47% of consumers are happy to sacrifice their privacy to get a better deal while shopping online.[1]

Feature Image Retargeting An Incredibly Powerful Cro Tool

Yes. That’s right! This might surprise you, but consumers would not mind getting their behavior tracked in exchange for tangible benefits. For example, loyalty cards! So here is the good news for marketers—privacy is important, but if you’re abiding by the regulations, privacy concerns should not demotivate you from firing up a retargeting campaign to get your lost visitors back

Warm audiences are a favorable lot for achieving conversions since they already have some previous experience with a brand. Let’s understand how this works.

What is retargeting and how is it different from remarketing?

Visitors who abandoned a shopping cart, browsed your site, or purchased an item from you are tagged with a retargeting cookie in their browsers. This enables marketers to use the cookie’s information to target these visitors with relevant ads based on their interactions once they leave your website. 

Third-party platforms like Google Display Network or Facebook allow your ads to trigger on other sites that your visitors land on, thus helping you drive more leads and customers in your conversion funnel. This digital marketing tactic is known as retargeting.

When combined with A/B testing, your retargeting campaigns are more likely to perform better and drive conversions. For example, you can run A/B tests on your ad copy for CTA and form length, or design for different channels to evaluate the effective variation that brings you traffic and thus revenue.

Remarketing and retargeting are often synonymously used because they share similar, overlapping goals. Both strategies are focused on lead nurturing, building lasting brand awareness, and top-of-the-mind recognition, since it makes sense selling to people who have already shown some interest in the past over pitching it to somebody new. However, the two strategies are different. 

While retargeting focuses on roping prospective customers into your sales funnel predominantly through advertisements (banner and social media ads), remarketing strategies remind users to re-engage through emails or push notifications.  

Since platforms like Google Ads and Facebook have an added targeting capability that utilizes email customer lists, remarketing strategies such as email marketing to re-engage users and retargeting through ads can’t operate in silos. Instead, they work hand-in-hand as per your CRO roadmap to drive more leads and conversions, keeping a consistent message across channels.

Truth bomb: Retargeting doesn’t “creep” people out!

Studies[2] show that 30% of consumers have a positive or very positive reaction to retargeted ads, while only 11% feel negative about them.

People might hate irrelevant ads because they are distracting, but that doesn’t mean they don’t notice relevant and targeted ads that subconsciously nudge them to buy the product they left in a cart. Email marketing and push notifications are a few remarketing tools to win back a prospective customer. 

Conversion Increase With Ad Exposure
Image Source: [1]

A case study[3] suggested that using retargeted advertisements is a very powerful tactic in the complex B2B sales world to woo lost customers back. Postano, the company on which the case study is based, conducted an audit and assessed that Adwords and banner ads should be their retargeting focus.

They created banner ads in different sizes and variations tailored towards marketing directors and CMOs in different industries, such as, Sports, Fashion, Events, Ad agencies. They experimented to optimize these banner ads for relevant messaging and effectiveness.

Banner Ad For Retargeting
Image source: [2]

All the website visitors got cookied and went into the retargeting campaign for 60 days. They saw banner ads on the website as a part of Google display network. 

On further testing, they dropped the non-performing ads and showed only the ones that brought them leads.

They concluded the campaign after the first 60 days of the retargeting effort and achieved a 364% increase in clickthrough conversions and a 278% increase in conversion rate (measured by requested product demos.)

Crucial retargeting concepts for CRO

Retargeting visitors, who have relatively higher intent to convert than the organic first-timers, to pull them back into your sales funnel is just half the job done. Conversion happens with sales.

SEO and retargeting practices can help you get relevant traffic in anticipation of conversion. That’s where CRO begins to play its role

Best practices for retargeting success

To make the most out of your acquired traffic via ads, remarketing and SEO combined, CRO helps you address the apparently ‘not-so-glaring’ gaps methodically and optimize your conversions.

Observing your visitor behavior and hesitations

The first step in pursuit of maximizing your conversions is understanding your visitors—what actions are they taking on your website. Tools such as VWO insights’ heatmaps, session recordings, and funnel analysis enable you to observe what happens when a visitor lands on and leaves your page.

While behavior analysis tools can address your drop-off rates, you should also use on-page website surveys which are a powerful tool to understand your visitors’ hesitations and get first-hand qualitative feedback on why they abandon your website without taking a desired action.

Vwo Free Trial For Visitor Behavior Analysis

Deriving insights and planning

Heatmaps and session recordings help you gather data to derive crucial insights. Based on insights driven from these analyses, you can generate A/B testing ideas on your high-traffic landing pages. The best practice is to test the crucial elements on your page, such as:

  • Messaging (headline, page copy, social proof)
  • CTA and form length
  • Design and page navigation
  • Value proposition

For example, on the VWO website, we use sign-up numbers from the previous week on one of our landing pages as social proof. We also have a single-field form to reduce friction for visitors. Both of these were A/B tested using VWO before being deployed on the website. 

Screenshot Of Creating A Free Trial Account For Vwo

Experimenting to optimize conversions

Running A/B tests to optimize the conversions on your website elements scientifically approves or disproves your hypothesis, and helps you make decisions backed by data and not by instinct! However, don’t consider A/B testing as a one-time elixir shot to sustain your conversion game. 

You ought to create a CRO roadmap for this continuous process, to observe, test, implement, and repeat the cycle, if you want consistent improvement in your conversion rates. 

For example, you can segment your visitors in your marketing platforms like Google Ads to show ads and messages to visitors based on your funnel stage. Marketers can download and assign existing audience, where on the basis of the type of campaign you want to run, you can target audience under life events, interests, remarketing lists categories. Among all, Google Ads’ remarketing list for search ads (RLSA) feature enables you to create your search campaigns depending on if a visitor has visited your site and pages. 

Google Ads allows you to run A/B tests and set up ad clusters for your campaigns. You can utilize them to optimize your ads and figure out how effective their performance is.

Retargeting in B2B space

Retargeting lays its origins in the eCommerce industry, but it has outgrown its confines to a multitude of industries, and B2B is no exception.

B2B sites are limited on the number of users as compared to eCommerce or other B2C spaces. A few tactics like ‘Omnipresent Marketing’ enables B2B companies by selectively targeting high-intent users by showing them Facebook ads, banner ads across channels and devices, wherever their visitors go. By constantly staying in the sight of potential customers via emails, and push notifications (if they have opted-in), the chances of their conversion soar.

Here are a few ways that can help you acquire potential leads and thus revenue:

  1. Use industry-targeting: Craft relevant and specific messages for different industries in your remarketing campaigns to bring back a lost customer. Figure out what pages your visitors surf and pitch in your ad. For example, you can resurrect your dormant subscribers who haven’t engaged with you in a while through email, wherein a relevant message that speaks their language can certainly steer them back into your sales funnel.
  1. Be mobile-first: More than half of the traffic on social media comes from mobile devices. Optimizing for mobile should be a priority/focus area for you. For example, you can target users on any device using paid social media to bring back a user who did check out your product and pages but did not convert.
  1. Use email addresses for remarketing campaigns: Run your retargeting ads not only for your website visitors but also to specific users. For example, Facebook custom audiences enable you to run Facebook ads based on the email addresses of the users. Also, you can identify the funnel stages of your specific visitors to craft a personalized copy for your ads.
  1. Segment your visitors in the funnel: Platforms like Google Ads allow you to show ads and messages to visitors based on the pages they have interacted with. You can estimate the funnel stage of your visitors using tools like funnel analysis that enable you to create advanced custom segments as per your needs.

VWO Engage as a remarketing tool

Among many popular retargeting tools, VWO Engage stands out. It enables you to keep your visitors engaged with automated marketing campaigns through web push notifications and Facebook Messenger. While web push notification is a much faster tool as compared to emails to rope in that lost customer, Facebook messenger allows you to talk to your customers on a platform they are already using, without even dragging them to a specific page to communicate. 

In addition to that, you can also bring back lost customers through a personalized cart abandonment campaign, enticing them with irresistible offers.   

VWO Engage helped Ubisoft, a publisher and distributor in the gaming industry, to increase the number of returning visitors on their website using web push notifications which resulted in an average CTR of 17%. VWO helped them achieve what was double and even quintuple of what Ubisoft’s initial expectations were.

Conclusion

A cutting-edge technology, retargeting is underutilized and mostly misunderstood with the traditional acquisition of new customers. When done wisely, retargeting (or remarketing) enables marketers to build a holistic and sustainable CRO ecosystem that caters to lost visitors at every stage of the funnel. 

Having retargeting as an integral strategy in your CRO plan would not only ensure steering your lost customers back but also allow you to optimize your marketing campaigns for better conversions. And that’s how you can make the best out of visitor traffic.

Sign up for a free trial of VWO Engage tool to win back your lost customer. 

Vwo Engage Banner For Blog Bottom

eCommerce Homepage Best Practices for Conversion Optimization

After comparing conversion features across top eCommerce sites, we identified 9 homepage best practices you must have on your site in 2021.

Best in class ribbon for homepage design

Author’s note: This post was originally published in 2019. It’s been updated to reflect eCommerce homepage best practices for 2021. Many of the same practices can be found in the best homepages in 2021, but there’s a few new ones we want you to know.

When it comes to your eCommerce business, your homepage can make or break your conversion rate. Finding the right attributes to include and the perfect design for your audience can take a lot of trial and error. Too much of the latter, and you’ll lose out on a huge amount of revenue and customers.

We want to end that guessing game. That’s why, for several years, we’ve compared the conversion optimization features and tactics used on more than 20 of the top eCommerce sites, testing the most promising out on our clients’ websites. 

In this post, we’ll break down exactly what we’ve learned in our conversion optimization best practices research, including:

  • Why your eCommerce homepage is so important
  • 9 eCommerce homepages best practices we recommend (with examples)
  • And why you should always test what’s right for you

Your eCommerce Homepage = Your Online Storefront

Before we get any further, we have to state the obvious. For many users, your eCommerce homepage is their first introduction to your site, your products, and your brand. It needs to be stellar, engaging, and easy to navigate to keep them coming back for more.

Lots of eCommerce clients focus on optimizing and promoting individual category and product pages, but we argue you should spend just as much (and even more) time designing and optimizing your homepage. 

It doesn’t have to be a complete redesign, either. A few simple changes can make all the difference to your conversion rate. (Trust us: We’ve done the tests.)

We offer a few ideas for you below.

9 eCommerce Homepage Best Practices

1. Display categories outside of the menu, especially on mobile.

You probably already have your product categories listed in your mobile menu and/or header area. But you need to take it a step further: Show selected categories on your mobile homepage, too.

Let’s look at a few examples. Both Anthropologie and Room & Board expose their shopping categories on their main mobile homepage. Shoppers don’t have to use the hamburger menu to get to where they want to be.

Anthropologie's Mobile Homepage Room & Board's Mobile Homepage

You have limited real estate on a mobile homepage; making your categories easy to access outside of your menus can prevent frustration in shoppers. 

For what it’s worth, we’ve found category navigation from a homepage to test incredibly well on both desktop and mobile. Something else we’ve discovered: Many of the best eCommerce homepages in 2021 have made these category or product elements swipeable on a mobile device, as well (Room & Board being one of them).

2. Swap your hero image auto-slide (“carousel”) for a static image.

A hero image slider will automatically slide through images on your homepage. It may seem like a great way to display attractive product images, but its effectiveness on mobile and desktop varies greatly.

In our research, we’ve found that many eCommerce homepages no longer show these carousels on mobile devices. Our extensive A/B testing demonstrates why: The static image wins about 70% of the time. If you’ve still got a carousel rotating on your mobile homepage, consider switching it out with an equally engaging single image.

You might even consider swapping out your carousel on desktop, too. Take J Crew. Both their mobile homepage and desktop homepage employ static images, even though the appearance is slightly different.

J Crew's mobile and desktop homepage use of static images

My opinion: A slideshow’s efficacy depends entirely on the quality and effectiveness of the slides. If you can communicate your value proposition in one image and/or have a great promotional calendar, the single static image will often work better than a slideshow.

3. Display individual products on a device-wide standard.

It seems like a no-brainer, but showing examples of your products on your homepage can be a huge eCommerce homepage design best practice. Key word here: “can.”

You’ll want to look at your different display options — mobile and desktop — when deciding whether to implement this standard. And, if you do display individual products, make sure to deploy the feature across all of your eCommerce site homepages.

On Mobile Homepages

We typically recommend clients test showing individual products before implementing it on their mobile homepages. Product widgets like “best sellers” are a popular place to start.

As an example, here are eBags.com’s product features on mobile:

eBags.com’s product features on mobile device

On Desktop Homepages

Whatever you choose to do on your mobile homepage, we recommend implementing on your desktop homepage, as well. With Google’s mobile-first indexing and the necessity of mobile/desktop parity, having different content on your desktop and mobile sites is a very bad idea.

Here’s what eBags product level links look like from their desktop homepage:

4. Use a responsive site.

A responsive site is one that displays the same content on mobile, desktop, and devices in between. It differs from a discreet m. site and from adaptive sites that hide certain content on mobile.

A responsive site is the perfect solution to Google’s mobile-first indexing. It allows for mobile parity in a sleeker and more efficient way than an a m. site or other types of adaptive sites we’ve seen in the past.

Check out how Adidas’ homepage responds to the device being used to present a unified but identical (at least, content-wise) experience to the user.

Adidas’ responsive homepage design

Pro tip: A responsive site is a perfect solution to the quandary we presented in suggestion #3.

5. Use global header elements.

A global element appears on all pages of the site and is usually a header, footer or floater element. (It’s a great place to promote your latest sales or offerings.) Entry and exit offers can also appear on every page, although (as you can probably guess), they only appear when certain targeting is fired by the visitor.

Here at Inflow, we’ve extensively tested these elements and found both to improve conversion 90% of the time. If you’re not using global header elements, you’re missing a huge opportunity.

Backcountry uses both a global promotional area and slide down entry offer to grab their shoppers’ attention and alert them to the latest deals and sales:

Backcountry's use of global elements on Desktop and Mobile

6. Implement a live chat function, if it proves its worth.

A live chat is definitely one of our recommended eCommerce homepage best practices for 2021. In our testing, adding a live chat feature has never lost to the control group — but it can end up in tied performance fairly often.

Remember: Manning a live chat costs money. Unless you have customer service agents available to you, the ROI of adding an agent just for a live chat is not proven. Instead, we recommend you A/B test a live chat function first. Measure any lift in conversions against the cost of hiring an agent or service to man it.

We also advise against using a chat bot as a cost-saving alternative. In our testing, removing chat bots overwhelmingly leads to lifts in conversion rates. They’re just too poor a user experience to be worth including.

The screenshot from eBags.com below is from 2019; today, the site doesn’t host a live chat function. It could be for the very reason we mentioned above — the ROI for the function simply wasn’t there.

eBags.com use of Live Chat on mobile

7. Use a hamburger menu.

It seems minor, but the hamburger icon is one of only a few icons that has near universal recognition. (Another one? The shopping cart icon.) Using this icon just makes sense; it improves conversion by speeding people through the buying process. 

Using random icons on your eCommerce homepage, on the other hand, is guaranteed to slow down a user. Why should a user be forced to learn your unique icons just to make a purchase? Sure, you could add a label, but our tests have only produced positive results 30% of the time.

JCPenny uses a hamburger menu with labels, and labels their other icons, as well. However, imagine if they didn’t. How irritating would it be to figure out what each icon meant? Irritating enough that you’d probably meander to Kohls.com, I’d bet.

JCPenney's expanded hamburger menu

8. Expose your search icon or field outside of your menu.

We know that users who search your site should convert at least 2.5x as well as users who don’t. (If they don’t convert, something is wrong with your search function.) 

Because of this, make your search option as prominent as possible (within reason). Don’t bury it in your homepage menu. 

Below, you can see how LuLuLemon exposes the search function completely. Modcloth chooses to expose their search icon, which can be expanded for usability.

Lululemon and ModCloth's use of Site Search

If you haven’t in a while, check your desktop search stats. If your searcher revenue is significant, go ahead and expose the search function on your mobile site, too.

9. Improve your site speed.

There is only one absolute rule in conversion optimization: The faster your site, the better it will convert. Mobile sites are slower than desktop sites for a variety of reasons (primarily, bandwidth and hardware), so it’s crucial that you optimize your eCommerce site and homepage for mobile display.

Google keeps moving the goalposts on what is considered “good” page speed. When using Google pagespeed, we usually look for a score above 60, an FCP above two seconds, and a cumulative layout shift in the green.

You may have achieved a good score in the past, but this algorithm is updated about every year or so — making it harder to score above 60. Because improving site speed (especially on mobile) is hard, my recommendation is to stop every single other effort on your site and focus exclusively on site speed to try and achieve a score above 60. 

As of this update, there’s an additional deadline of May 2021 to fix your cumulative layout shift — or be penalized in your SERPs.

Our Final Suggestion: Test Everything

If you read through this entire blog, you probably saw this coming. 

In our research, these eCommerce homepage best practices have generally proved useful, but every site is different. We recommend you test each one before rolling them out across your site. What works for some of these sites may not be best for your business and shoppers.

Follow the scientific method: Test one conversion optimization at a time, and be patient to get accurate, usable results.

If you want a testing partner, our CRO team is happy to help. We’ll implement these eCommerce homepage design best practices to your site, identify what works, and lift your conversion rate to its full potential. Request a free proposal anytime to learn more.


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

Top 13 A/B Testing Tools to Consider When Entering the Experimentation Arena

Gone are the days when businesses only focused their energies on sustaining the market heat. Today, the scenario has significantly changed and nearly 89% of businesses are heavily investing in customer-focused services including personalization[1], optimization, and experimentation to increase their conversions and overall revenue gains. If you want your venture to perform better and show…

Gone are the days when businesses only focused their energies on sustaining the market heat. Today, the scenario has significantly changed and nearly 89% of businesses are heavily investing in customer-focused services including personalization[1], optimization, and experimentation to increase their conversions and overall revenue gains. If you want your venture to perform better and show results as intended, it’s time to re-think your business strategies, build and inculcate a culture of experimentation and invest in a good A/B testing tool that helps move your key business metrics in the positive direction. 

ab testing tool

VWO is an all-in-one, cloud-based A/B testing and conversion rate optimization platform that enables you to run multiple tests on campaigns, products, features, apps, and websites. You can easily conduct qualitative and quantitative research work, create test variations using its powerful visual editors, and map the performance of your tests via the robust dashboard. 

VWO also has a SmartStats feature that uses Bayesian statistics and assists you to run tests faster. This capability gives you more control of your experiments and helps you arrive at accurate conclusions sooner. At present, the platform is used by more than 5,000 enterprise brands, including eBay, Warner Music Group, Hyundai, Chargebee, and more. You can try it out for yourself with an all-included 30 day free trial.

VWO's A/B Testing Tool

Besides VWO, we’ve also listed 12 additional paid and free A/B testing, split URL testing, and multivariate testing tools for you to choose from to improve customer experience, increase conversions, and for overall revenue gains. Let’s take a look:

1. Optimizely

Optimizely stands amidst the industry’s top three A/B testing and conversion rate optimization platforms. With a comprehensive suite of CRO tools, it specifically and dedicatedly entertains enterprise-level customers who’re very serious about testing and personalization. 

At the root, Optimizely majorly focuses on offering web experimentation and personalization services. However, you can use its capabilities and services to run experiments on mobile apps and messaging platforms, as well as optimize the entire customer experience across all touchpoints. With Optimizely’s web experimentation product, you can also simultaneously run multiple tests on the same page and be assured of accurate results. 

Price/month: Optimizely pricing is available on request.

2. Adobe Target

Adobe Target[2] is an enterprise-grade tool that provides rule-based A/B testing and personalization services. It offers easy integration with Google Analytics and generates reports that you can use for UX testing, personalization, and altering marketing offers.

The platform basically takes you through a three-step experimentation setup process wherein you can easily create variations, target audience segments depending on your experiment hypothesis, and customize goals and settings for the test.

Adobe Target is a great A/B testing platform for medium and large businesses with large-scale and high-powered testing needs. 

Price/month: Pricing available on request.

3. Oracle Maxymiser

Oracle Maxymiser[3] is an advanced A/B testing and personalization tool that helps you design and run sophisticated campaigns. The tool comes loaded with many powerful features and capabilities such as funnel optimization, predictive analytics, and advanced targeting and segmentation that makes it a perfect match for data-driven marketing teams with in-house IT support. 

Additionally, Oracle Maxymiser allows you to build rules directly while using its visual editor to target profitable customer segments and displace highly personalized content. It also automatically develops customer profiles by aggregating data through various means and uses this information to create unique visitor experiences. 

Price/month: Pricing available on request.

4. AB Tasty

If you’re looking for a reasonably priced and simple A/B testing tool, then AB Tasty[4] is a perfect option for you. Trusted by many renowned brands like Sephora, Walmart, Virgin Media, L’Oreal, and more, AB Tasty offers a holistic range of exclusive testing features. 

Besides the usual A/B, split, and multivariate testing options, the platform also offers an interesting funnel testing feature that enables you to experiment with changes across many pages at once. To validate test results, the tool also provides real-time view of your tests and their respective confidence levels. 

Price/month: Pricing available on request.

5. Google Optimize 360

Google Optimize 360[5] is the paid or premium version of Google Optimize. Besides encompassing all the basic features of its counterpart free version, such as A/B testing, native Google Analytics integration, URL targeting, Geo-targeting, etc., Optimize 360 takes things one step ahead. With Optimize 360 you can:

  • Rest up to 36 combinations while running a multivariate test
  • Run more than 100 experiments simultaneously
  • Make more than 100 personalizations simultaneously
  • Get access to Google Analytics 360 Suite administration

Price/month: Pricing available on request.

7 Free A/B testing tools

1. Google Analytics and Google Optimize

Google Optimize is especially recommended for experience optimizers who’re starting their experimentation journey. A Google product, this tool allows you to create and test different website versions and analyze which one performs better. 

Since it’s powered by Google Analytics, you get the advantage of a robust research tool in your arsenal as well. With Google Optimize, you can run simple A/B tests, split URL tests, and multivariate tests. But, if you’re looking to run some complex tests, then it’s better to switch to its paid version – Optimize 360, that offers many more testing capabilities and services.

Price/month: Free 

2. Wasabi A/B Testing Platform 

Wasabi A/B Testing Service[7] is a real-time, 100% API-driven, enterprise-grade project that enables you to use your own data and run experiments across the web, mobile, and desktop. It’s fast, easy-to-use, feature-rich, and its instrumentation is minimal. Wasabi is the experimentation platform for TurboTax, QuickBooks, Mint.com, and other Intuit offerings.

Price/month: Free 

3. Five Second Test 

Five Second Test is a free A/B testing tool

With this tool, you can test any website element, such as a logo, graphic design, wireframe, app design, prototype, or a copy, and get insightful quantitative and qualitative visitor feedback. You can further use this data to optimize your page design and move your business metrics in the direction as planned. 

Price/month: Free

4. Vanity

Vanity[8] is an experiment-driven, datastore agnostic development framework for Rails. It’s a free A/B testing tool that works well for organizations using Redis as their database, cache, and message broker. While running an experiment Vanity picks two alternatives and calculates a z-score to determine the probability of a variation performing better. It also presents you with the probability of the right time to stop the experiment and draw conclusions.   

Price/month: Free

5. Genetify

Genetify[9] is an A/B testing and optimization software that enables experience optimizers to accelerate their business’s development cycle. It’s based on an open-source JavaScript framework for A/B  testing and quite simple to implement. 

Price/month: Free

6. Django-lean

Django-lean[10] is a split testing framework that enables you to implement tests in JavaScript, Python, or Django template code. It also gives you administrative views for analyzing the results of those tests.

Price/month: Free

7. Petri

Petri is a free a/b testing tool used by Wix
Image Source: [1]

Wix is one of the best and free website building tools and Petri[11] is its experimentation system. It covers an entire lifecycle of product experimentation including A/B testing and feature toggles. With Petri, you can easily collect user behavior data, define filters to determine which segment of users to include in your experiment, and use feature toggles to control inner implementation details and gradually roll out features.

Price/month: Free

Best among the rest – Our recommendations

In the list above, we’ve covered the top 13 free and paid A/B testing tools for just about every company’s testing, optimization, and personalization needs. While each of these platforms are great in their own way, offering testing, optimization, and personalization services, if you ask us, our recommendation drills down to only three platforms – Google Optimize, Optimizely, and VWO.

If you’re an organization that’s just entering the arena of testing and optimization and wants to take baby steps at the moment, then Google Optimize will best suit your needs and requirements. A product from Google’s arsenal, it’s been smartly and strategically designed to offer ease and infuse confidence in people stepping into the testing and experimentation sphere. 

Meanwhile, if you’re an enterprise-level business that’s majorly focused on driving results and doesn’t have a budget constraint, then we’d recommend you consider Optimizely for your testing and optimization needs

Using its robust A/B and multi-page experimentation tool, you can parallelly run multiple tests on the same page, and rest assured of accurate results. At the same time, you can also run experiments on dynamic websites, various dimensions such as ad campaigns, geography, and cookies, and even across myriad segmentation parameters, including devices, browsers, and campaigns. However, Optimizely does require much expertise and a fully dedicated experimentation team of product experts, marketers, developers, and designers to drive the vehicle.    

While Google Optimize is a free tool and Optimizely a high-priced one, there’s one tool that covers the middle ground and serves as an ideal tool for all types and sizes of business. VWO is a full-suite CRO tool, quite similar to Optimizely, but doesn’t carry the enterprise price tag. 

With VWO, you get qualitative and quantitative research tools, a visual editor to build experiment variations (without coding), and advanced targeting and segmentation options. You can easily target audiences in a way that you can simultaneously run multiple tests on the same page and get error-free results as well.

Hush Blankets, a Canada-based company, used VWO’s A/B testing tool to optimize its website experience and conversion rate. It used VWO services to find frictions on two of its most important pages – cart page (mobile) and product display page for Hush Classic (desktop). It revamped the two pages using VWO”s visual editor and ran an A/B test for 15 days. The exces at Hush Blankets saw an uplift of 5.67% in their conversion rate (visits to checkout page), further a 33.15% uplift in checkout rate and an overall revenue gain of 51.32%.

All-in-all, if you’re looking for a near-enterprise level A/B testing and optimization tool that’s user-friendly and comes at a fraction of the price compared to its counterparts, VWO is your go-to tool. 

Conclusion

We hope we’ve pointed you in the right direction and our list of top 13 A/B testing tools will help you make an informed decision. Let us know if you’re interested in knowing more about testing and optimization. Sign up for a demo or free trial today!

How to Choose a CRO Agency That Fits the Bill Profitably

Despite being a complex process, CRO is essentially web design done right to maximize your conversions. Online businesses are adopting CRO and an experimentation culture with open arms like never before to multiply their revenue with minimum investment costs. Nevertheless, a constant battle for businesses remains—deciding whether to build an in-house CRO expertise or to…

Despite being a complex process, CRO is essentially web design done right to maximize your conversions. Online businesses are adopting CRO and an experimentation culture with open arms like never before to multiply their revenue with minimum investment costs. Nevertheless, a constant battle for businesses remains—deciding whether to build an in-house CRO expertise or to outsource the same through an agency. 

Having a team running your CRO in-house might sound idealistic, but as they say, idealism is the highest form of reason. Can you reason it well? Do you have the resources, technology, knowledge, and most importantly, the bandwidth to train your team in a way that they can yield results faster? The answer to this can vary based on the size, goal, and resources of your business. 

If you’re looking to start with CRO by placing it in safe hands, have tried it in-house without getting the desired output, or are looking for advice to scale your CRO program, an agency can certainly bring in quick CRO solutions by offering experience and expertise at no training cost and in minimum on-boarding time. 

illustration of CRO agency

In this blog post, we will discuss how CRO agencies operate, how they can help you achieve your conversion goals, and most importantly, how you can sense quackeries by asking an agency the right set of questions before deciding to choose one that fits the bill profitably.

What is a CRO agency?

A CRO agency is an establishment having a team of experienced and skilled professionals who are equipped to fix your CRO issues. They understand your website well and ensure to provide step-by-step guidance for an identified issue in your specific conversion rate optimization efforts.

A typical CRO agency has a dedicated team consisting of:

  • CRO strategists: An optimization strategist is skilled in serving end-to-end optimization management for clients. The CRO strategist sits with clients to understand their issues, ideate the solutions, and build a testing roadmap for them. Generally, they are kept as the main POC for clients in an agency.
  • Data analysts: A data analyst analyzes client data and does qualitative and quantitative research to gather insights and identify optimization opportunities by ideating with clients, as the first step. He/She is a Google Analytics and excel/Google sheets pro who can guide you through implementing the insights from the data for your A/B testing process, and helps you run your campaigns. 
  • Designers: Agencies can cater to your design requirements with their designers, who ensure that the look and feel of the website is maintained with every change as per the brand style.
  • Developers: Developers in agencies typically have vast experience with different technologies and languages (Javascript and HTML). They can find robust solutions to work around complex development challenges.
  • Quality assurance person: Agencies have a dedicated quality assurance person who has a great eye for detail and who checks the quality of campaigns before deployment.

However, many prudent businesses do prefer hybrid CRO to save on overall costs. They have in-house CRO teams to which CRO agencies either act as a second pair of eyes or share the divided workload amongst themselves. For example, the in-house team can control the design and bring in the business/brand context, while the agency is outsourced for the execution of A/B testing. This ensures that these two bodies work in a collaborative manner towards the same goal, that is, getting results in minimum time.

If your website’s conversion rate is running sub-par as compared with the industry standards, a CRO agency is equipped with skills, CRO tools, and expertise to assist you in generating ideas, improving your website elements’ performance, assessing and evaluating these ideas, to utilizing A/B testing to maximize your desired outcomes.

VWO Services, for instance, takes a data-driven approach to designing and implementing a robust optimization strategy for your organization. They leverage the principles of research-hypothesize-experiment-measure to implement changes that positively impact your top-level KPI. Speak to our specialists and try our services for yourself.

However, before you decide to opt for a CRO agency, you must evaluate your requirements.

Why do you need one?

Knowing your imperative to hire an agency for CRO should be the first step. Your business can be stuck on multiple levels –

  1. You have low traffic: Perhaps, you have a great website design that has everything in the right places. But nobody lands on your website. In such cases, you would need an agency that would help you bring in more traffic through ads, PPC, impacting your conversion rates.
  1. You have low conversion rates: In this scenario, you may have a wealth of traffic on your website but these visitors are not converting, resulting in a stagnant or in the worst case, declining conversion rate. Such cases call for a typical CRO agency who can identify your current conversion rates (CRO audit) and find opportunities to optimize your low-converting landing pages. 
  1. Your testing velocity is low: Many businesses start off with experimentation but gradually, fail to keep up with it. The reasons could be many—limited knowledge around CRO, lack of time, workforce, software, and motivation to form a dedicated in-house team. Outsourcing testing tools and services is certainly for this group. 
  1. You want to build an in-house CRO team with limited knowledge and experience: You learn by assisting. Having an in-house CRO team is a dream to many. However, bogged down by the reasons mentioned in the above point, people give up because they have jobs to be done at work that keep their plates full most of the time. If you aspire to create your own CRO arsenal, you need to know how they operate and approach problems. 

Generally, in-house teams have their plates full. They have long-term financial commitments and north-star goals to achieve they might want to focus on. 

In such cases, it gets unrealistic to expect that they should channelize their energy and time into the nitty-gritty of experimentation, analyzing the conversion metrics of the website or behavior analysis of the website visitors, etc., besides doing the work they are knee-deep in. 

That’s where a CRO agency can enter to solve a specific problem at hand, with the in-house team remaining focused on what they are doing best. 

What does a CRO agency do?

A typical CRO agency offers a multitude of marketing services, such as SEO, CRO, Paid Ads, etc. However, the best practice is to opt for the one which can offer dedicated services, with a laser-sharp focus to uplift your top KPIs metrics. Most agencies have a team of specialists that assist clients with ideation from data-backed insights, create testing roadmaps, run campaigns, implement the changes, and assure to manage end-to-end optimization of the website to bring the KPI metrics up, directly impacting the conversions. 

Since agencies are an expensive affair, ensure they fit your budget and are worth establishing a healthy and fruitful professional relationship for the long haul by asking them relevant yet important questions (covered in the following section.)

For example, if you are an eCommerce company, and you are not reengaging with your users when they abandon shopping carts, you might miss out on a very profitable activity. In this case, an agency can help you run a full-fledged campaign to re-engage your users, utilizing their tools such as push notifications and email marketing.

Paltak, a B2C video chat service based out of the USA, increased their revenue by delivering optimized experiences using VWO Services. Their objectives were:

  1. To reduce cognitive load and increasing purchases
  2. To improve Average Order Value (AOV) 
  3. To increasing Average Revenue Per User (ARPU)

They ran 3 separate tests using VWO’s testing, heatmaps, and session recording capabilities and saw staggering jumps in the AOV and ARPU, besides reducing the cognitive load on the landing page. The variations won in all three tests.

How do you choose one?

There are numerous CRO agencies you might come across during your research to find the right one. It’s a best practice to choose experts who solve specific problems. 

First and foremost – get clarity on your goals and budget. If your business is stuck on traffic, go for an agency with expertise in SEO and paid ads. If you have low testing velocity, choose an agency that has a skillful resource base in testing and great experimentation experience (you can figure that out in your research.) 

You can start by asking yourself basic questions such as what the most profitable aspect of the business is that you are not leveraging right now, where you are stuck in the funnel, would you be able to afford a top-notch agency to get the stuff done, etc. It can be overwhelming to think of all of it at once. Therefore, the compartmentalization of these questions is necessary:

  1. Budget and pricing: These factors play a critical role while you get into a long-term relationship with an agency. Typically, a CRO marketing agency can cost you between USD 3,000 and USD 9,000[1]. Ensure that you can afford them for the long haul, have confidence in them, and keep your expectations low at the beginning and realistic all the time. No one can double up conversions overnight! 
  1. Dedicated resources: If you have low-conversion rate issues, you can go for someone who can do a holistic assessment of your website and conversion funnel. From there, they can take on the responsibility to upgrade your website to deliver better conversion rates. Ensure that you are assigned a dedicated team who would work closely with you and can deploy the changes you both collaboratively agree upon.
  1. Great communication: Ensure that you communicate with the dedicated team regularly. Keeping one point of contact reduces the stress of whom to call, saves time, and clears roadblocks as and when required efficiently.

Apart from doing self-analysis, it is recommended to have a set of questions relevant to your business ready when you get on a call with a potential agency. 

Ask them:

  • About their focus area of expertise and the range of services they offer.
  • Whether their process is data driven or instinct driven.
  • About their understanding of CRO as a process and how they implement it.
  • If they handled cases where they analyzed visitor behavior and derived insights. What was their methodology? 
  • If they have any case studies, highlighting the results.
  • For a business proposal for evaluation. 
  • Whether you can try their services (trial) before committing. 
  • If they have any questions for you to understand your issues better.

Responses to the above-mentioned questions will give you a fair understanding of the capabilities of the agency, thus, smoothening your decision-making process.

List of agencies

It is easy to get hold of the right software and tools, but the right tools in the wrong hands are lethal for your conversions. It becomes awkward for both parties if you opt for a software provider with the best CRO tools but can’t explain the statistical significance of your tests. Fortunately, there are CRO agencies that have adopted the latest software and are proper in their knowledge and technicalities pertaining to the complex process of CRO.

Here are a few examples:

  1. VWO Services:

Known for its flagship A/B testing tool, VWO Services offers a data-driven approach to tackle your website issues and implement changes to positively impact your top business-impacting KPIs. They are a team of optimization strategists, conversion-centric designers, and content creators, who ensure a smooth onboarding by providing dedicated resources to help you through the process.

VWO services' offerings
VWO Services

2. Conversion Kings: 

Conversion Kings[2] is an Australia-based dedicated CRO agency that offers expert CRO services with industry-leading A/B testing strategies and tools such as VWO. Besides CRO services, they handle CRO auditing, UX prototyping, analytics, development, and training to deliver results.

Conversion Kings Home Page
Image Source: [1]

3. Catchi: 

With an expert optimization team having 40+ years of combined experience, Catchi[3] operates with methods that work well for high traffic and high volume online businesses or organizations with high turnover to improve their online performance.

They claim to have a proven customized framework for their clients that delivers tangible results. 

Catchis Home Page
Image Source: [2]

Find the list of VWO Partner Agencies here.

Conclusion

Having clarity on your goals is the top thing you need to sort even before starting your research. It makes the process smooth when you know what services you require from an agency. Ensure the chosen one ticks all the boxes in your CRO agency checklist, including budgeting, pricing, and communication.

Here’s a quick summation of the important points covered on CRO agencies in this post: 

  • A typical CRO agency has an optimization strategist, data analyst, developer, designer, copywriter and quality assurance person to ideate, implement, and manage CRO for clients.
  • There are multiple problems that CRO agencies fix by coming on board, namely, low conversion rates, low traffic, low testing velocity, lack of time, resources and proper knowledge about CRO, or simply to watch and learn from them while they operate/assist your business, before you plan to build your own CRO arsenal. If you’re facing any of these problems, request a quote from VWO Services to help you with the best optimization solution. 
  • CRO agencies assist clients with ideation from data-backed insights, create testing roadmaps for them, run campaigns, ads, implement the changes, and assure to manage end-to-end optimization of the website to bring the KPI metrics up, which directly impact the conversions. 
  • It is imperative to ask the right set of questions while you choose an agency to be mindful of any red flags and avoid quackery, which is common.

Choosing the Right Mobile App A/B Testing Tool to Optimize Your In-App User Experiences

In today’s mobile-first world, it feels like every other blog post on the internet talks about how you can outdo your mobile app UI and UX. Continuously optimizing mobile app experiences for improved user engagement and retention is a no brainer. But, putting in optimization efforts for your mobile apps without having the right tool…

In today’s mobile-first world, it feels like every other blog post on the internet talks about how you can outdo your mobile app UI and UX. Continuously optimizing mobile app experiences for improved user engagement and retention is a no brainer. But, putting in optimization efforts for your mobile apps without having the right tool in your arsenal is like working on the presentation of a dish without understanding which equipment you need to cook it at the right temperature. 

Choosing the right mobile app A/B testing tool can be overwhelming for product managers, app developers, and marketers alike. This is largely because zeroing in on the ideal tool or platform for your unique testing requirements depends on a plethora of parameters, some of which tend to get ignored if you take hasty or ill-informed decisions. Should you zero in on a tool that best addresses your use case or one that offers easy integrations with your other platforms? How can you ensure that the tool doesn’t impact your app performance? What about reporting – how can you be sure of the accuracy of the results your tool is producing?

In the following section, we discuss all factors you must consider before opting for a Mobile App A/B Testing tool. 

Mobile App Ab Testing Tool

If you’re looking for different tools available in the market, you can jump to this section containing the list of tools. If you’d like to understand how to evaluate a tool, read on.

How to choose the right tool?

The ideal Mobile App A/B Testing platform is robust enough to offer extensive testing functionality that allows you to optimize your end-to-end in-app experiences as well as feature management capabilities so you can manage your entire feature lifecycle. Ultimately, the aim is to figure out the right variation of in-app experiences and features in order to optimize your app for improved engagement and conversions. 

To select the tool best suited for your CRO roadmap, consider the following parameters.

Use case at hand

Mobile App A/B Testing has a myriad of use cases. For you to be able to select the right tool for your business, you need to first have a clear understanding of the use cases you want to tackle (at least the ones you wish to begin with). Once you are clear about that, you are automatically a step closer to narrowing down on the tool that offers maximum capabilities that cater to your requirements.  

Some of the most common use cases of mobile app A/B testing include:

eCommerce

Eliminating friction in key user flows

For today’s on-the-go buyer who demands seamless shopping experiences, friction in user flows, especially one as critical as checkout, can lead to frustration and loss of interest, which ultimately increases your abandonment rate. In fact, did you know that mobile has the highest cart abandonment rate (beating tablets and desktop) of 85.65%[1]? A/B testing your eCommerce app’s user flows can help you radically reduce drop-offs and abandonment rate, by paving the way for a delightful user experience.

Amazon's ecommerce checkout flow
Image Source: [1]

Mobile app A/B testing tools allow you to create two (or more) variations of your user flows so you can pit them against each other and deploy the one that leads to the maximum improvement in your key app metrics. Furthermore, your tool must also enable you to segment your users based on their purchase and browsing behavior, and other demographic attributes so you can target them with the most relevant variation and figure out what works for which group.

Optimizing for the efficacy of search and product recommendation algorithms

Should your product recommendation algorithm be based on shoppers’ purchase history, trending items, or the most popular products from a particular category? How should your search algorithm categorize products, decide their relevance to a specific search query, and on what criteria should they be ranked on the search results page?

Myntra Product Search Screen

With mobile app A/B testing, you shouldn’t have to rely on guesswork or best practices to find the answers to the above questions. While testing UI-based changes is one use case that a robust tool caters to, it also allows you to experiment with your critical algorithms, including product recommendation and search, so you can strategically improve their efficacy. By testing multiple versions of your algorithms, you can figure out which one proves to be the most effective for your store, whether it is in driving upsell/cross-sell or fetching the most relevant search results.

Gaming

Experimenting with in-app features before deploying universally 

Universally deploying a new feature in your game can be quite tricky. You could either hit the jackpot and instantly watch your app usage and engagement levels jump up, or, on a more realistic note, it may or may not drive the results you thought it would. Therefore, mobile app A/B testing tools allow you to reduce the risk associated with launching in-game changes and updates by experimenting with them and rolling them out in stages to one or more of your user segments. If it performs well, you can go ahead and deploy it for all users; if not, you can always collect feedback, incorporate it, improve, and relaunch the enhanced version with confidence.

different features in a mobile game
Image Source: [2]

Mobile app A/B testing tools also offer extensive feature lifecycle management capabilities wherein you can roll out features in stages, test them out on a particular user segment, and even use feature flags to manage them at runtime and control and/or modify who gets access to it.

Streamlining in-app pricing strategy 

To maximize engagement on your gaming app as well as revenue, you might have to experiment with multiple pricing strategies, for different user segments as the same model might not work for both disengaged and loyal gamers. Therefore, choose a mobile app A/B testing tool that allows you to test your dynamic pricing algorithm to figure out which one drives the best results for which segment.

In-App Pricing in Psych

Offer personalized gaming experiences

In today’s day and age, mobile app gaming experiences demand hyper-personalization, and rightfully so. To create an enticing gaming environment that keeps gamers hooked, you cannot possibly rely on a single strategy. Using a mobile app A/B testing tool, you can test all dynamic elements of your gaming app and deliver personalized experiences based on each gamers’ level in the game, engagement score, and other attributes. This way, you can constantly discover and deliver on what your users expect from you to keep them engaged. 

The bottom line is that whichever use case you want to achieve with mobile app A/B testing, you want to be sure of it beforehand so you can make a strategic decision of choosing the right one based on your requirements. 

Integrations and plugins offered by the tool

You want to make sure that whichever tool you opt for is the right addition to your tech stack, meaning that it integrates seamlessly with your other analytics, marketing, and sales platforms, so you don’t have a hard time accessing the required data and feeding it into your app optimization pipeline. For example, the most important one would be your analytics platform, so you can use it to generate insights around your website traffic and audience, which will then form the basis for crafting hypotheses. 

For this, create a list of tools you currently use and look for the ones supported by the experimentation platform you are evaluating. If you own an eCommerce business, you might also want to ensure that whichever eCommerce platform your store is built on (such as Shopify or WooCommerce) is also supported.  

VWO, for instance, integrates with all major web analytics tools, eCommerce platforms, CSM platforms, sales, and ABM platforms.

Size, RAM usage, and performance of the SDK

The SDK supported by the platform deserves your attention as well as it can impact your app’s performance. Here are the parameters that you must evaluate it for: 

  • The SDK must be lightweight, so it does not have any major impact on the size of your app. 
  • Should not use a lot of RAM as mobile devices anyway have scarce RAM availability. 
  • Must perform well and be easily available at all times. VWO’s SDK for mobile app A/B testing is available even without an active internet connection and is tested extensively to get rid of all bugs that might negatively impact your app’s performance.

Reporting capabilities

It’s important to pay heed to understanding the computation of A/B test results and generation of reports as it determines the impact of your experimentation. Statistics is the backbone of A/B testing, which is based upon calculation of probabilities. However, there are multiple approaches to interpreting probabilities in A/B testing – the most common ones being Frequentist and Bayesian models.

Make sure you find out whether the tool you have shortlisted uses the Frequentist or Bayesian statistical model. Traditionally, most tools used the Frequentist model wherein test results are based solely on the data from the current experiment, and does not take into account any previous data. The Frequentist model is based on running a particular test for a specific period of time and until statistical significance is reached so enough data can be collected to rightfully calculate the probability of one variation beating the other. However, it does not quantify the difference between the two variations keeping in account the uncertainty involved with the amount of data you obtained in a test. 

The Bayesian statistical model, on the other hand, provides a natural way of learning by allowing you to feed in your beliefs from similar previous experiments into the model as prior, combines it with data from the current one, and then compute the test results. The probability of your hypothesis being correct is computed based on evolving data and informed by what’s happened up to that point. 

VWO’s Bayesian powered statistics engine, SmartStats, helps you take smarter conversion optimization decisions by not only giving you the probability of one variation beating the other, but also the potential loss associated with its deployment. With SmartStats, you can move away from relying solely on reaching statistical significance or running tests for a set period of time, and can conclude tests faster and expect more accurate results. SmartStats helps you make intelligent business decisions, faster and gain a competitive edge over your competitors. 

Imagine a scenario where you are not sure whether providing an add-on offer with your service can lead to more sales. You planned to do an A/B test to test this hypothesis by allocating one half of traffic to service with add-on (Variation A) and the other half without add-on (Variation B). 

A traditional Frequentist test would only provide a yes/no answer if variation A is different from variation B. Also, the test results are valid only after you have obtained a sufficient number of visitors in your test.

However, VWO’s Bayesian powered statistics engine, SmartStats, provides you the odds of one variation beating the other and also the underlying potential loss in sales associated with each variation. Both metrics remain valid throughout the duration of the test. 

With SmartStats, you can move away from binary outputs to more interpretable metrics.

VWO's Bayesian Statistics Powered Smartstats
Image Source: [2]

Your budget

Needless to say, your budget is a huge factor to consider in choosing a tool. Based on the specific use cases you want to tackle and the features you require, you will have to look for a tool that fits the bill as well as fits well into your budget so you can drive significant ROI from your experimentation program

Especially if you are just starting out with mobile app optimization, opting for a comparatively expensive tool might not yield you a significant ROI. Instead, start with a tool that offers a free trial, so you can assess all its features comprehensively and decide whether it meets your requirements. VWO, for instance, offers a 30-day free trial that your team can utilize to run a few campaigns and figure out if your unique needs are met.

Support and assistance offered by the platform

When evaluating a tool, people often overlook the level and quality of support that the platform offers. However, it is a critical factor that plays a major role in determining the testing velocity and scale of your optimization program. If you receive dedicated, expert assistance throughout your journey, you will be able to achieve your goals more efficiently and grow your efforts with time. 

Moreover, if you’re new to mobile app A/B testing, you might need some help in setting up the first few campaigns and getting your questions answered. So, make sure you opt for a tool that offers best in class support (quick response time, maximum availability, sufficient self-help resources, omni-channel support, CSAT, and so on) so you can not only get up to speed, but also drive the intended results effectively.

VWO Knowledge Base

Even if you are somewhat experienced and well-versed with A/B testing your mobile app experiences, you might need extensive support immediately after signing up for a new tool. To that end, make sure you opt for a tool that offers dedicated support, quick TATs, and effective resolution to help you troubleshoot all your experimentation roadblocks.

Truth be told – you need a tool that’s all-encompassing. There isn’t one factor mentioned above that’s less important and you shouldn’t have to compromise on the quality of testing or your requirements. 

VWO Mobile App Testing – A comprehensive platform for all your in-app optimization needs

VWO Mobile App Testing is a robust solution for mobile app optimization. From experimenting with multiple variations of in-app user experiences (both UI-based and server-side experimentation) to testing key features pre and post launch, you can do it all with ease. Whether you wish to test basic UI changes such as CTA or banner copy, color, and placement, or make drastic optimizations to your search engine algorithms, game experiences, and beyond, you’re well equipped to steadily grow your app’s engagement, usage, retention, and conversions.

You can also combine mobile app A//B testing with VWO Insights that offers heatmapping, session recording, and form analytics capabilities so you can gather actionable insights on your app’s user experience and convert them into optimization opportunities.

VWO's Mobile App Ab Testing

VWO offers advanced options of segmentation and targeting that allow you to segment  your users based on their behavioral attributes and target them exclusively. VWO also integrates with all major analytics platforms so you can capture and analyze the relevant data required to make informed experimentation decisions. 

VWO’s SDK for mobile app A/B testing is open-source and light-weight (approx 200KB for Android and 285KB for iOS) that only uses about 100KB or 300KB of RAM for Android and iOS. 

Apart from this, VWO offers 24*7*365 support (& exceptional response time) with optimization experts assisting you throughout your journey to ensure you yield the desired results from your campaigns. With a CSAT of 98% (as compared to the industry average of 94%), VWO’s support team takes complete ownership of resolving all pitfalls you may come across, thus ensuring you make the most of your mobile app optimization program

If you have apprehensions about how VWO lives up to these promises, how about you try it out for 30 days for free and assess it for yourself? If you have questions regarding the same, you can request a demo by one of VWO’s optimization experts and get them answered.

Other mobile app A/B testing tools

Here’s a list of a few other popularly known tools for mobile app experimentation along with their pricing.

Optimizely

Optimizely offers a cross-platform solution for feature flagging and experimentation that allows you to run UI-based as well as server-side experiments and also mitigate risk while launching features. You get access to full-stack and multi-channel experimentation capabilities, phased feature rollouts, the option to make instant app updates, and more with Optimizely’s mobile optimization offering. They offer a free rollouts plan valid for 7 days that allows you to evaluate their basic capabilities. 

LaunchDarkly

LaunchDarkly offers feature flag management and experimentation capabilities at scale along with granular control. You can manage your entire feature lifecycle – right from its production and testing to deployment and performance analysis. You get complete control over each feature so you can minimize risk and launch it confidently. 

You can get started with a free trial or avail the starter plan at $75/month (limited to one member) to try out its basic functionalities. However, this pack does not include experimentation features, for which you will have to upgrade to a higher plan. 

AB Tasty

AB Tasty offers UX analytics, experimentation, personalization, and feature flag management capabilities that allow you to optimize end-to-end experiences on your mobile app. Using these, you can create user segments, offer unique experiences for various segments of your user base, and experiment with features before rolling them out. You can avail a custom quote from their website based on your unique users/month and other requirements. 

Adobe Target

Target is a testing and personalization platform from the house of Adobe. Primarily used for personalization of in-app experiences at scale, Target integrates seamlessly with Adobe Analytics and Adobe Audience Manager. It can be used for optimizing your app experiences based on your user behavior to improve engagement. However, Target does not offer feature management capabilities, so you might have to opt for a different tool for that. 

Firebase A/B Testing

From the house of Google Optimize, Firebase A/B Testing provides both experimentation and feature management capabilities. Since it’s offered by Google, it integrates seamlessly with all other tools from Google, so sourcing data and drilling insights for your campaigns will not be an issue. 

Conclusion

Choosing the right tool that best aligns with your experimentation goals is only the first (although extremely crucial) step towards improving your app’s key metrics. Leveraging the tool successfully means closing the optimization loop by investing time and effort in everything from benchmarking your KPIs to documenting your learnings and feeding them back into your testing roadmap. Sign up for a free trial with VWO to do this with ease. 

How Seattle Southside RTA Increased Visitor Guide Conversions

One of the most common challenges for a destination is accurately capturing a visitor’s intent to visit and ensuring that a personalized experience leads to both clicks and goal conversions. Visitor Guides, often referred to as Travel Planners, are an essential way to track intent to visit.   Like many other destinations, Seattle Southside Regional Tourism… Read More

The post How Seattle Southside RTA Increased Visitor Guide Conversions appeared first on Bound.

One of the most common challenges for a destination is accurately capturing a visitor’s intent to visit and ensuring that a personalized experience leads to both clicks and goal conversions. Visitor Guides, often referred to as Travel Planners, are an essential way to track intent to visit.  

Like many other destinations, Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority’s Travel Planner requests remain a critical goal in tracking website engagement.  In Fall 2019, the Seattle Southside RTA team saw a decrease in their Travel Planner request conversions, both year-over-year and quarter-over-quarter. Furthermore, the team found that the gap between their Targeted and Default audience increased, highlighting that this goal had become a more challenging conversion point for audiences.

With the intent of increasing Travel Planner conversions, the Seattle Southside RTA team decided to refresh their content with a seasonal focus on their imagery.  They first created two versions of Travel Planner content, both with gorgeous Fall scenery highlighting the region’s colorful season.  

Launching the content as an A/B test, the Seattle Southside RTA team was amazed at the increased engagement.  Within the first few weeks, this new content saw an 8% increase in Click Through Rates (CTRs) over their regular Travel Planner content.  Better yet, the team saw a 15% increase in Travel Planner conversions within the first month of the new content running.

Encouraged by this initial response, the team continued to run the seasonal content until the last few weeks of the year.  Quarter over quarter, the team saw a 26% increase in conversions, with a year-over-year increase of 43%!  Using the new Goal Dashboard, the Seattle Southside RTA team was able to further breakdown the conversion rate for each of the new content pieces allowing them to see that the new content pieces not only had higher CTRs, but also much higher conversion rates vs their original content. The team found a 79% increase in conversions for their Desktop content, as well as a 63% increase for their Mobile content.

Inspired by the results of their A/B test, Seattle Southside RTA plans on launching more tests for goal related content with seasonal imagery.  Knowing that the new Goal Dashboard allows for a deeper level of insight into their testing, the Seattle Southside RTA team is better equipped to deepen their visitor’s personalization journey to increase goal conversions and engagement.

Congratulations to Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority for a job well done!

 

Interested in increasing your conversions?  Personalization can help you get there.  We’d love to chat with you more about making it happen!

 

The post How Seattle Southside RTA Increased Visitor Guide Conversions appeared first on Bound.

A Well Balanced Content Personalization Diet: 3 New Years Resolutions to Increase Goal Conversions

Happy New Year, travel marketers! The beginning of January always brings its own kind of magic with resolutions and the opportunity to both reflect on the past year and look towards the next.  It’s also a time that, if I can be honest, is a little overwhelming with the pressure of setting life-changing goals. And… Read More

The post A Well Balanced Content Personalization Diet: <br/>3 New Years Resolutions to Increase Goal Conversions appeared first on Bound.

Happy New Year, travel marketers! The beginning of January always brings its own kind of magic with resolutions and the opportunity to both reflect on the past year and look towards the next.  It’s also a time that, if I can be honest, is a little overwhelming with the pressure of setting life-changing goals. And it’s not only personal goals! Working within the digital marketing space I feel that every other content piece is focused on “new year, new marketing strategy” resolutions that couldn’t be easier to implement – or so the articles read…

At Bound, we’re big believers in starting where you’re at, especially when it comes to personalization and your marketing strategy.  That’s why one of our resolutions this year is to focus on something that we know has an impact: optimizing our goal conversions

When it comes to our monthly content reports, few things give our Customer Success Managers more joy than seeing an increase in click through rates on goal related content pieces.  But as fun as these increases are to see, we are even more thrilled by increases in the goal conversions themselves. As we’ve become increasingly aware of the important relationship between clicks and conversions – and the very different stories each can highlight when they don’t align  – we’re excited to share our new Goal Dashboard and highlight three resolutions on increasing your conversions in 2020:

Read More (into your A/B tests):

When in doubt about your content, run an A/B Test!  While click through rates can certainly highlight your audience’s preferences for the imagery, copy or CTA, how do you account for the content’s impact on the actual conversion?  Within the new Goal Dashboard, you can now compare conversion rates against your campaigns, segments and pieces of content, allowing for a deeper level of insight. We recently took a closer look at an eNewsletter related A/B test we have been running with a DMO.  Month over month, we found that one content piece had consistently less clicks than the other. However, in comparing the conversion rates between the two pieces, we saw that the content piece with a lower CTR had a considerably higher conversion rate. This comparison helped us see the value of a content piece we might have otherwise removed and will help inform future A/B tests.

Exercise (your understanding of your Mobile and Desktop visitors differences):

As we’ve written about before, there are many things to take into consideration when creating content for your Desktop and Mobile visitors.  Goal conversions are no different, especially given that our Mobile visitors are often less likely to convert. Within the new Goal Dashboard, we can now dive into the conversion rates for our different segments across campaigns, allowing us to compare, for example, fly-ins served to desktop visitors and banners served to mobile audiences.  Layering in this insight can help us develop content best suited for each of our unique visitors groups.

Spend Less (time guessing how your content is performing):

Over the past few years, we’ve increasingly become fans of thoughtful “abandonment” content and the way these direct CTAs can increase conversions for visitors who have initiated, but not completed, a conversion goal.  While we often see this content with high CTRs, it can be challenging to determine how exactly this content contributes to the overall goal. Thankfully, our new Goal Dashboard takes the guesswork out of content creation and helps us see exactly which Abandonment content is best contributing to the goal. 

Our hope for your 2020 is that your conversion related content is directly increasing your goal conversions (leaving you with more time to increase engagement for your ad visitors!)   Knowing that goal conversions are a vital piece to understanding your visitors intent to travel, we’re excited that our new Goal Dashboard will bring new awareness and insight this year.  Cheers to you and your increased conversions!

Want to learn more about the Goal Dashboard or personalizing to increase your conversions?  We’d love to chat with you and hear all about your 2020 marketing resolutions!

The post A Well Balanced Content Personalization Diet: <br/>3 New Years Resolutions to Increase Goal Conversions appeared first on Bound.