How to get winning testing ideas with conversion research?

How do I optimize my website’s conversion rate?  Should I just try different ideas based on my gut feeling?  Should I optimize the loading speed?  Do I need to refresh the visual identity or rewrite the copy?  What should I A/B test? Without investigating the root causes that keep your customers from buying, registering, or…

How do I optimize my website’s conversion rate? 

Should I just try different ideas based on my gut feeling? 

Should I optimize the loading speed? 

Do I need to refresh the visual identity or rewrite the copy? 

What should I A/B test?

Without investigating the root causes that keep your customers from buying, registering, or reaching whatever goal you’ve set, you’ll be just making uneducated guesses. 

And if science has taught us anything, it’s that uneducated guesses rarely win. 

So, if having a wild guess won’t save your website, what will? 

The answer is Conversion Research.

What is conversion research?

Conversion research is the process of investigating the opportunities on your digital properties (website, mobile app, etc.) and gaining a more profound knowledge of your target customers. It’s the starting point that will fuel your conversion optimization ideas. 

A thorough investigation would provide you with the knowledge you need to achieve the following goals:

  • Write copy that aligns with your customers’ needs, treats their objections, and reduces their fears, uncertainties, and doubts. 
  • Catch the existing technical and UX problems.
  • Understand your users’ behavior (and where the leaks in the funnel are).
  • Create a user-friendly design that will help your users reach their desired goals. 

To reach all these goals, the conversion research process should contain all the following pillars:

  • Heuristic analysis
  • Technical analysis
  • Behavior analysis
  • Qualitative & Voice of Customer (VoC) research

But before diving into these pillars, we need to understand the initial strategy that we’ll be applying at least at the start of the process.

Gathering the low-hanging fruits

While conversion research will enable us to have a large number of insights that we act upon, our first direction should be focused on trying to find any conversion killers that can be implemented right away without having to test them. These could be some bugs in some devices or browsers, serious loading speed issues, mobile responsiveness issues, or design and usability issues. If the issue is not easy to implement, has a low impact on conversions, or has to be tested, then document it and you can get back to it at the end of your research. 

To start the process, we conduct a heuristic analysis. 

Heuristic analysis

A heuristic analysis is the evaluation of your website based on industry standards and best practices. What makes this different from just an opinion is that it’s based on collective knowledge in different industries. So the more you or your expert knows about these standards and best practices, the less opinionated your review becomes. 

Conducting a heuristic analysis means reviewing the website based on:

  1. Usability principles
  2. CRO best practices
  3. General copy principles
  4. Visual design principles

Usability

The expert evaluating the website could use Jakob Nielsen’s 10 usability heuristics for example. One of the principles, aesthetic and minimalist design, could be used to judge whether the pages contain much more information than the users need or irrelevant content. 

Let’s take an example:

Although this website is being praised and featured on awwwards.com for being visually pleasing, the aesthetics here are interfering with usability. The priority here should be on displaying the content and the functionalities in a user-friendly way. 

To evaluate the usability of your website yourself, here’s a checklist you can use:

  • Is your website look consistent with the user’s expectation of what a website should look like (the position of the navigation bar, headline or call to action, the shape of a button, etc)
  • Are your website elements (buttons, headlines, links, etc) consistent across different sections and pages?
  • Are you showing relevant, sufficient information with no excess that could cause the users a cognitive overload (too much information)?
  • Are you preventing your users from making any errors such as misunderstanding the function of some elements?
  • Is the text on your website readable (size and contrast)?
  • Do you have any distractions keeping your users from consuming the content (eg: background videos, useless animations, cookie alerts, pop-ups, other promotions, etc)
  • Do your action elements have different states (default, hover, clicked, and active)

CRO best practices

When multiple experts test a certain pattern and find that it’s helpful, a best practice is born. For example, GoodUI has published a pattern called “Gradual reassurance”. The idea is to add relevant and easy questions to your form in the beginning before asking for any personal information. 

This pattern has been tested 7 times by different people/brands and has proven to create an average uplift of +21.8% in sales. This pattern doesn’t mean that you’re 100% sure that there will be an uplift. You should A/B test it with VWO. Take an all-inclusive free trial and see how VWO makes A/B testing easy! 

However, testing an idea like this will have a higher probability of success than a random idea based on someone’s opinion. Many CRO experts are publishing their wins and we should learn from them and even duplicate them. 

The other part of best practices comes from either psychology concepts such as the decoy effect or some lessons we learn from the marketing godfathers like David Ogilvy. 

Copy review

Based on research conducted by Unbounce, based on 40k landing pages, a copy is twice as influential as design in conversions. So reviewing your copy should be an important task you should invest in. 

Here’s a checklist you can go through to analyze your pages. 

As an exercise, choose an important landing page that you want to optimize and go through the checklist below. Rate each question with a number from 0 to 10. 

Note: Reviewing your copy also includes reviewing your offer too. Rewriting your copy is great. Elevating your offer is even greater. That’s why some of the checklist items will be related to reviewing your offer. 

  • Does the headline explain your product/ service value right away?
  • Is your headline language familiar to your target audience? 
  • Does your above-the-fold copy attract the attention of the users to continue reading beyond the fold?
  • Are your claims supported by proof like testimonials, ratings, authority figures’ endorsements, number-based outcomes supporting the transformation after buying your service/product, the total number of customers, etc? 
  • Are you going through the users’ objections and responding to them?
  • Are you offering any incentives (free shipping, money-back guarantee, free trial, etc)
  • Are you using any form of urgency as a motivation? 
  • Do you have only one main call to action?
  • Are you going through all the main product/service benefits? 
  • Can your audience self-identify as the target for your offer?

Visual design principles

To create a visually pleasing user-friendly interface, you need to follow a set of simple but powerful design rules. These will help you:

  • Create a great reading experience
  • Create a visual hierarchy for your elements to communicate what’s most important
  • Get a positive first impression
  • Create a professional and coherent look 
  • Help the user navigate the different elements with ease
  • Help create a story with the design that goes hand in hand with your copy

Qualitative & voice of customer research

It’s business/marketing 101 to understand who we’re serving so we can market better. The goal here is to understand the users’ pains, needs, goals, and objections. Qualitative research will enable us not only to document important information about our audience but will also help us understand how they’re framing their needs, objectives, fears, uncertainties, and doubts using their own words. That will be a gold mine when we start experimenting with different copy ideas. 

To collect this information, we can:

  • Collect your audience quotes from online forums, Reddit, Facebook Groups, and even YouTube comments. This is where users are expressing freely their needs, problems, agitations, goals, or even sharing their wins.
  • Conduct user interviews
  • Analyze emails and chat transcripts
  • Create and analyze surveys

Learn how to capture and action the voice of the customer with a free recording of Ali Good’s webinar.

Technical analysis

The reason your funnels are leaking could be simply technical. It could be bugs, responsiveness problems, loading speed problems, or cross-browser compatibility problems. 

An expert could review all these pillars. But in case you want to do this analysis on your own, here’s how you do it:

Cross-device testing

Go through the user journey from the starting point (generally the landing page) to the ending point (generally the thank you page). Start with your device and see if you have some bugs such as unresponsive buttons or any strange behavior. You can start by manually doing that with real devices like your laptop and phone. But since you don’t have tens of devices, different SaaS apps can help you with that. Apps like Browserstack and LambdaTest can give you the ability to test on different devices and different browsers. And that brings us to cross-browser testing.

Cross-browser testing

Not only devices could affect how your website looks and behaves, but browsers matter too. In 2022, cross-browser compatibility has come a long way and it’s in its best state. That said, there are still issues, especially with old browsers. To investigate the priority for each browser, you can explore the report using Google Analytics by going to Audience > Technology > Browser & OS. 

Not only can you see which browser matters most, but you can also explore the conversions per browser.

If you notice a suspiciously low conversion rate (which can be 0 sometimes) where the sample size is not that low, it’s time for investigation.

Here’s a scenario: 

You notice that IE 10 has a 0.03% conversion rate for a sample size of 3280 sessions. You also notice a 9.34% conversion rate for Opera mini for a sample size of 3040. You check the average conversion rate for all browsers and it’s around 9.5%. With that information, you know that there has to be something broken on IE 10. No big difference for Opera mini though so you can let it off the hook. 

You open the website with BrowserStack and conduct a walkthrough. Aha! The call to action doesn’t work somehow. File this issue to your developer and it’s fixed. No need for testing as we fix bugs, we’ve just gathered a low-hanging fruit.

Page speed optimization

This is indeed a domain of its own, but I believe that most of the problems websites have are easily preventable. So before we tackle optimization, let’s see the most common possible problems:

  • Non-optimized images. With big images come big opportunities. 
  • Non bundled CSS and/or Javascript files
  • Absence of a lazy loading strategy
  • Not using a CDN to serve static assets
  • Overloading your website with multiple CSS and Javascript libraries (way too many Shopify apps or WordPress plugins can cause that)

Other problems may affect your page speed but mainly, the mentioned problems have the biggest impact. 

But before you start investing in page speed optimization, you need to make sure that the improvement will be worth your investment. 

A 10ms improvement could mean a lot for a company like Amazon. Every 100ms in added page load time cost them 1% in sales. So that 10ms improvement in sales means an uplift of $380 million (0.1% of Amazon sales). 

For other companies, that 10ms improvement could mean only an additional $1000 or less per year. So depending on your company’s scale and your page loading speed, you can judge whether the optimization is needed or not. 

If you find that it’s worth it, make sure that you:

  • Eliminate any render-blocking resources. Javascript scripts, CSS files, or images that are not being used in the fold can be deprioritized and lazy-loaded. 
  • Optimize your images and lazy load them.
  • Use a CDN like Amazon S3 to serve your static files.
  • Compress your Javascript and CSS

As a rule of thumb, you’d be targeting a loading speed of 1-2 seconds, especially for your key pages. 

Behavior analysis

Funnel analysis

Conversion optimization is not a random process where we can start anywhere on the funnel. We need to understand where our optimization efforts should be focused first. Funnel analysis is one of the best ways to understand not only the user behavior across the different steps but also where should we start the optimization effort. The closer the users are to the checkout, the more impact our efforts will have on conversion. 
With VWO, you can easily get a funnel visualization to see where the biggest drop-off is. For example, if you see a suspiciously big drop-off on the checkout page, you can prioritize investigating that as this has a big potential for a conversion rate uplift.

Heatmaps

Heatmaps are a way to visualize the users’ behavior on a certain page. You can answer questions like:

  • What attracts the users’ attention most?
  • Where do users tend to lose disinterest? 
  • What important information that the users aren’t reaching?

Not only will a good portion of the insights be pulled from heatmaps, but these visualizations are very useful when presenting your insights to a manager, a stakeholder, or a colleague. It’s very hard to argue with heatmaps and that will make your conversion optimization process much smoother. Opt for an all-inclusive free trial with VWO to experience the benefit of heatmaps.

Session recordings

Before the session recordings concept was invented, experts were using controlled testing environments where they bring people into a lab and hide behind an opaque glass to see how users interact with their products. Or they can even be present which, in either case, will affect the behavior of the users. No to mention that this method is so expensive and far from being scalable. The alternative is session recordings

This way you can capture the real unfiltered behavior of hundreds of people.

Form analytics

Forms can be hard to optimize. While applying CRO and usability best practices to your forms is important, it’s even more crucial that you understand how your users are interacting with your form. Session recordings are good for this task but an even more important and complementary tool is VWO’s form analytics. This tool can help you understand which fields are causing more friction, where users are leaving, how many people have reached the form, how many people have interacted with it, how many people submitted it, etc. 

What makes this a better tool than traditional user testing and user recordings (which have their benefits and use cases) is that it quantitatively offers the data. Seeing few users quit after reaching a certain field in user testing is way less accurate than seeing a 65% drop-off rate for a sample size of 9000 people. 

Form Analytics

Take a free trial to try it out for yourself and explore its capabilities.

On-page surveys

Tools like Google Analytics are very important to explain what’s happening. For example, if you have a high exit rate on a landing page and you want to understand the reason behind it, Google Analytics or any similar tool won’t give you the answer. It’s your role to investigate that. On-page surveys can help you understand that by asking your customers directly. You can even target different behavior such as an exit once landed, an exit once reached half the offer section, etc. That way, you can get a piece of much more accurate information based on user behavior. 

Conclusion

Conversion optimization isn’t just about A/B testing. This is one of the most common misconceptions. A/B testing is a very important pillar. But to have experiment-worthy ideas, we need conversion research. This is how we can generate ideas that have an excellent potential to improve the conversion rate. With different tools and approaches, conversion research will give us not only the information needed to run an experimentation program but can also affect other areas such as product/service design. 

Now that you know how to conduct conversion research, it’s time that you understand what comes next: A/B testing.

How to Increase Conversion Rate for eCommerce Websites: 44 Tactics

Learn how to improve your eCommerce conversion rate with our extensive list of CRO best practices and test ideas to try.

Conversion rate is where the rubber meets the road for your eCommerce site. You can bring in traffic all day with SEO, Google Ads, social media, and more — but if you can’t convert that traffic, your business won’t be profitable. 

Most eCommerce sites have a relatively low conversion rate (the 2022 average conversion rate being about 1.3%). The flip side: More than 98% of your website traffic holds potential, meaning even small increases in conversion rates can have a huge impact on your bottom line. 

In today’s guide, we’ll discuss every page type of your website as it relates to conversions. Obviously, this is a big job. So, we’ll further break it down by steps of the conversion process, helping you narrow down which of the below strategies might work best for you. 

However, if this list overwhelms you, don’t worry. Our team is happy to help you develop a custom strategy based on the unique needs of your site. 

We’ve helped many eCommerce websites find their “conversion killers” and dramatically increase their conversion rates to improve their bottom line. Find out if we can help you

What Is an eCommerce Conversion Rate?

First, let’s review the basics. An eCommerce conversion rate compares the number of people visiting your site with the number of sales you are making. 

There are two different ways to calculate this number: session-based and user-based. (Learn more about each, and which method we recommend, in our guide.) 

Conversion rate is an imperfect measure of success, only one of several metrics you should use to track your site’s success. If you bring in more traffic, it’s likely that your conversion rate will drop, at least initially. To balance your understanding of conversion rate, incorporate other numbers (like traffic, CPA, etc.) into your data, too. 

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) isn’t the only way to increase your revenue, but it’s a critical place to start. 

After all, a conversion rate of 5% is considered outstanding — but, even then, a website is still letting 95% of its traffic go. The potential to capture even a fraction of that unrealized traffic makes CRO a powerful tool for your eCommerce website. 

A Note about eCommerce Conversion Tactics

In writing this article, we assume that your eCommerce site is already drawing good traffic levels from multiple sources. From that traffic, you’re getting conversions, but at the not-quite-sustainable or barely sustainable levels. By reading this guide, you want to increase the profitability of your eCommerce business. 

If you aren’t getting enough traffic to your website, you need to look at search engine optimization (including technical SEO), PPC marketing, organic social media, and paid social media to improve your site traffic before messing with CRO.

But how do you know whether traffic or conversion rate is the biggest problem for your website? 

A good starting point is the 2% rule. Take your current monthly website traffic (users are better than sessions, but both work) and multiply by 2%. Multiply that number by your current average order value (AOV). 

Traffic x 0.02 x AOV

If that number is a reasonable revenue goal for your business, then you’re in the right place. Improving your conversions is definitely the right next step. 

Otherwise, revisit ways to improve your traffic. Bonus: Many CRO strategies also improve SEO. We’ve helpfully labeled these as “twofers” in our list below.

However, if you have low traffic and your AOV is zero, you’ll need to focus on conversion strategies instead. Once your site is getting some conversions, then you can re-evaluate where your efforts are best spent. 

Note: A general CRO strategy will also likely increase your AOV, but if AOV is your main priority, consider a specific upselling or cross-selling approach instead.

How to Improve eCommerce Conversion Rate: 44 Strategies to Try

A solid eCommerce conversion rate optimization strategy covers your entire website. Potential customers can be lost at any point in the buying cycle, from your acquisition to checkout. 

To make our CRO tactics more useful, we’ve divided them into sections:

Not sure where to start? Spend some time with Google Analytics or review other data on your site visitors. Try to understand your users’ paths through your site and where they stop moving toward a purchase. 

If you don’t have enough data to come to a conclusion, reconsider the traffic question we posed above, or simply start with the top of the list and go through it in order.

For best results, we recommend continually testing your website and the changes you implement. Consumer behavior is constantly changing, and some strategies fall victim to their own success, so use constant A/B testing to make sure you’re using the optimal marketing strategy for your target audience. 

In our opinion, the best way to get results is to work with a CRO testing team that can identify your biggest opportunities for improvement and determine the best path to achieve those results. If you think your business is ready for that kind of program, please contact Inflow today.

Entire Website

If you don’t know where you’re losing your customers in the shopping journey, start with these CRO test ideas.

Some of these changes will impact all website visitors — and can make a big difference to your conversion rate. In fact, many of the strategies below are ones you should already be deploying to give your visitors a positive user experience. 

How to Increase eCommerce Conversion Rate: Sitewide Strategies. 1. Confirm your analytics are properly connected. 2. Use a responsive site. 3. Use a global header element. 4. Have a strategy for your live chat. 5. Use a hamburger menu. 6. Use sticky navigation bars. 7. Use breadcrumb navigation. 8. Test your site speed. 9. Resolve any linking or URL errors. Logo: Inflow. Attract. Convert. Grow.

1. Confirm your analytics are properly connected.

How can you even be sure what your conversion rate is if you aren’t getting good data from Google Analytics? 

Unless your Google Analytics accounts are properly connected, you could be receiving inaccurate data on traffic numbers, the source of traffic, page visits, or other vital metrics. 

Start by using our guide to audit your Google Analytics accounts and ensure you’re getting clean, efficient tracking data. 

2. Use a responsive site.

A responsive site reads data from each visitor about the device they’re using to view your website. It then adjusts its display to (ideally) ensure each visitor gets the same content, just arranged better for their particular device.

You want to make sure that visitors are able to use your site whether they’re online shopping with a smartphone, a desktop, or even a smart TV. Responsive sites let you do this, though you should make sure to test your site on as many devices as you can to be sure it’s working properly. 

As a side benefit, this twofer will also improve your site’s Core Web Vitals score, which can help improve your organic SEO. 

3. Use a global header element.

Your global header appears on all pages of your website, which means there’s no better place to promote sales or special offers. 

Remember the age-old “Rule of 7”: A customer needs to see your message at least seven times before making a purchase. People can reach those seven sightings a lot faster if it’s on each page of your website. 

Although the Rule of 7 isn’t scientifically validated, we’ve seen the value of offers in the headers; entry and exit offers will improve conversions 90% of the time. 

4. Have a strategy for your live chat.

Live chat is a potentially useful conversion tool — or it can be a cold mess that leads to poor customer service, even virally bad incidents. 

If you want to use live chat, have a plan for staffing it with customer service agents. (Live chat AI chatbots are not advanced enough to improve conversions.) Contractors can provide these services. Evaluate their offerings carefully, then choose one you trust to do the job right. 

Chat screenshot as follows. Bot: Awesome, thank you, Tim! Can I also get your email in case we get disconnected? Tim: tim@goinflow.com. Bot: Perfect! Now let's see how I can help you today. Would you like to schedule time with someone who can tell you more about our services? Below two buttons labeled Yes and No.

If you can’t invest the time and money to do this right, it’s usually best to remove this from your website until you can. 

5. Use a hamburger (drop-down) menu.

A drop-down menu helps clean up your navigation by putting some navigation items out of sight when not in use. We often call this a “hamburger” menu because the common icon for it (three horizontal lines) looks kind of like a hamburger. 

While designers have said hamburger menus are outdated for nearly a decade, the data support that these are still widely used by website visitors, especially by mobile visitors on sites where browsing behavior dominates, like clothing stores and home and garden stores.

Use this universal symbol, or one of its variants (döner, bento, kebab, or meatballs), and place it prominently on the upper left or upper right of your header. You can increase menu engagement by up to 50% by putting the word “menu” near the icon. 

6. Use sticky navigation bars.

The current trend is toward longer pages, which are generally better for conversions. The more engagement you get from users, the more likely they are to scroll down on your website.

However, when people scroll down, they don’t always like to scroll back up. You can keep these users on your site more easily if you have a header and/or navigation bar that scrolls with them. 

Otherwise, there’s always the “back” button on the browser or phone, which is more likely to take them from your site, perhaps never to return. 

A gif of a website scrolling. At the top a navigation bar stays fixed in position with information about the product including the price and the six sections of the current page: product overview, product information, technical details, delivery & returns, Reviews, Questions & Answers.

7. Use breadcrumb navigation

Another important tool for helping users navigate your site is breadcrumb navigation. This shows the path between your home page and categories, subcategories, and product pages. 

This not only helps with navigation; it can also improve product discovery by providing extra visibility for categories relevant to users who enter your site via a product page.

8. Test your site speed.

Site speed is another twofer: It improves conversion and SEO. 

Users hate clicking on a search result that loads slowly, so if your site has a long load time, Google will demote your site. Because users hate slow-loading sites, you can also lose many potential sales when your pages just aren’t loading fast enough. 

You can use PageSpeed Insights to check your site’s performance. 

Some quick tips for improving your site’s speed:

  • Enable caching, which is especially important for returning visitors.
  • Optimize your images.
  • Evaluate plugins and remove slow loaders.
  • Change the loading order so the most important elements load first.
  • Streamline your code.
  • Reduce redirects.
  • Use a content delivery network (CDN).

These can help your site load as quickly as possible, so you don’t lose hard-won traffic. 

9. Resolve any linking or URL errors.

Look, another twofer! 

Linking and URL errors will affect your eCommerce store’s ranking in the SERPs. Redirects slow your site, so reduce them to a minimum. Remember: You can easily lose a potential customer if they click on the product they want and come up with a broken link. 

Homepage

Consider your homepage the storefront of your online store. Customers won’t always enter your site through the homepage (you will often direct them elsewhere first), but while browsing, most customers will find their way here sooner or later. 

We have a detailed guide to eCommerce homepage best practices you can read, so we’ll be brief here. 

How to Increase eCommerce Conversion Rate: Homepage Strategies. 1. Make your categories visible outside the menu. 2. Use a static hero image. 3. Show examples of products. 4. Highlight personalized, trending, or popular products. Logo: Inflow. Attract. Convert. Grow.

10. Make your categories visible outside the header or hamburger menu.

Categories are important for navigation and critical to conversions, so make sure potential customers can find these easily on your website, especially when browsing on mobile devices.

A screenshot of Anthropologie mobile homepage. A photograph at the top of a woman modeling clothes, beneath which is a short text describing Anthropologie's clothes. Below this are six categories of products.

11. Use a static hero image instead of a carousel.

Carousel headers can dilute your brand image and obscure key offers

Our research shows that on mobile devices a static image performs better 70% of the time. On your desktop site, a single well-chosen image works slightly better, too. 

12. Show examples of products on your homepage.

If nothing else, this strategy helps users understand that you are an eCommerce site that sells products. It might seem obvious to you, but to a visitor who doesn’t know your brand, it can be hard to determine whether you’re a retailer and what products you sell. 

Having products on your homepage shortens the path for visitors from the first visit to purchase. By cutting the number of clicks to conversion, you make purchasing easier. 

13. Highlight personalized, trending, or popular products.

Ideally, display products on your homepage that are relevant to the user. Populate the display based on user data, such as previous visits or entry paths. 

Without data, display products that are currently trending or popular overall.

Ebags desktop product page screenshot. Products are displayed under two categories titled: Customer Favorites and Top sellers from additional brands.

Site Search & Filters

Your internal site search function helps customers find the products they’re looking for. It’s popular on desktops and the preferred method for mobile users to navigate your site.  

It also provides you with valuable information that you can use to improve SEO and CRO

14. Make your search option visible outside of your menu bar.

Don’t bury your site search in your hamburger menu. Instead, make it a highly visible independent element. 

How visible? Since many users prefer it over categories, start by making it as visible as your product categories. 

15. Customize your internal search engine.

Make sure your internal search engine is serving your users’ needs with autofill, category suggestions, and recommended results that pop up even when a user’s search returns no results. 

16. Use faceted navigation.

Faceted navigation lets customers narrow down your products to quickly find what they’re looking for. Some examples are letting customers sort by price, availability, color, and more. Make sure customers can select more than one product filter at a time. 

Wedding dress category page for CoutureCandy.com. Applied filters include "Adrianna Papell Platinum" and "Above $500." Filter choice is highlighted, with a red arrow pointing to the page URL parameter, which adds "?_+pf&pf_v_designer=Adrianna%20Papell%20Platinum&pf_p_price=500%3A."

For more information on how to deploy this, see our complete guide to faceted navigation

Category Pages

Category pages are the workhorses of your website. Browsing customers will frequent these pages often to weigh their options and narrow their consideration to a few different products. 

As a result, these pages can often make or break your CRO efforts. 

How to Increase eCommerce Conversion Rate: Category Page Strategies. 1. Add descriptions. 2. Link to related categories / subcategories. 3. Promote personalized or best-performing products. 4. Don't overwhelm with choices. 5. Provide additional product details. Logo: Inflow. Attract. Convert. Grow.

17. Add descriptions.

A brief description of what the category is can be a powerful twofer. First, it can improve SEO for category pages; we’ve seen it increase organic traffic to category pages by nearly 50%!

Secondly, a category description also helps users understand when they’re on the right page, since this isn’t always clear from the category name. 

18. Link to related categories or subcategories.

In your breadcrumb navigation, make sure you include not only the current category page but also related categories and subcategories. 

It’s also helpful to put subcategories and related categories in the page description. 

19. Promote personalized or best-performing products and promotions.

Don’t sort category pages randomly. Instead, sort by the products you think your customers are most likely to want. 

If you have information on a user, put personalized product suggestions first. Otherwise, lead with best-performing products and those you are promoting. 

20. Don’t overwhelm with choices.

When faced with too many choices, customers can experience choice paralysis. If your category pages are overwhelming to customers, reduce the number of choices by grouping choices into subcategories and/or hiding the least popular choices under a “more options” button. 

21. Provide additional product details.

Most customers rely on ratings to make their eCommerce buying decisions. Providing this information on the category page can help users narrow down their options faster. 

Three products in a product gallery. Each has a star rating and the number of reviews.

Also take this opportunity to flag items with labels — like “new,” “low stock,” or “best value” — to create a sense of urgency.

Product Pages

Product pages are where the plow meets the earth, to keep with our workhorse metaphor. This is where most people make the decision to buy. 

If you’ve done everything right up to this point, it might only take a gentle nudge to push them to convert. But it’s still important to give that nudge and get rid of a few big stones that might be stumbling blocks. 

For more ideas about how to implement these suggestions, review these product page design examples

How to Increase eCommerce Conversion Rate: Product Page Strategies. 1. Use product recommendations. 2. Expand your product page content. 3. Use unique product images and videos. 4. Include user-generated content. 5. Match campaign messaging. 6. Let customers save products for later. Logo: Inflow. Attract. Convert. Grow.

22. Use data-driven product recommendations.

Product recommendations can help you capture customers who think the product they’re looking at is “not quite right.” Analyze your user data to provide the most relevant suggestions or suggest relevant and associated products. 

"Other Customers Were Interested In" product recommendations of home science kits. "You Might Also Like" product recommendations of home science kits.

Learn more about this strategy with our complete guide to eCommerce product recommendations

23. Expand your product page content.

Expanding content on your product pages is a great twofer. It can improve your organic SEO traffic, especially for valuable long-tail keyword searches. It also lets you add more persuasive content and calls to action (CTAs) that can help people make purchasing decisions.

Add more content to your:

  • Product descriptions
  • Product features
  • Technical specifications
  • Customer reviews
  • FAQs
Mountain House webpage product description. On the left, a photograph of a person lying on a hammock holding a chicken teriyaki pouch. On the right, a two-paragraph text titled More about Chicken Teriyaki.

Find more actionable strategies in our complete guide to product page SEO.

24. Use unique, attractive product images and videos.

You always want to use images that make products look appealing to wear and use. If you must, manufacturer’s images are better than nothing — but whenever possible, capture your own high-quality images to distinguish yourself from other retailers who might be selling the same product. 

Provide several angles on the product, and include images that provide scale and/or show the product in use. 

Screenshot of a product detail. Five photographs of the product in a vertical column on the left. An arrow pointing to one of them is labeled: Mousing over a thumbnail changes the image displayed.

Speaking of scale, it’s not always clear from specifications which dimension is the length, width, and height. If that’s the case, provide an image that includes the dimensions on it. 

Use descriptions and alt text on all images. (This is mostly for SEO, but it kind of counts as a twofer.)

25. Include user-generated content.

User-generated content (UGC) is a powerful selling tool. It gives social proof of your product’s value. 

Of course, you should include product reviews on your product page, but that’s just the beginning. Reuse images of your product from customers, testimonials, videos, and more.

Verb website. A carousel near the top of the page titled: share with us! #verbproducts.

Review our team’s tips for obtaining and using UGC

26. Match messaging.

You can kill conversions from an ad campaign if the central benefit isn’t featured or is hard to find on your product page. 

When you have an ad campaign focused on certain benefits, either rework your product page to highlight those benefits, send visitors to a custom landing page for that campaign, or direct them to the part of the page showing that benefit.

27. Let customers save products for later.

Having a wishlist function lowers the commitment threshold for users to mark a product and can reduce cart abandonment. It also means abandoned carts reflect higher customer commitment, which can help focus your cart recapture efforts. 

Wishlist function for Bras n Things, showing two featured pajama products saved to customer's account.

Checkout Flows

Some customers wait until they’ve made a decision to add items to their cart. Others use the cart and checkout as part of their decision-making process. 

These strategies will help you maximize conversions from both types of online shoppers, improve customer loyalty, and increase profitability. 

How to Increase eCommerce Conversion Rate: Checkout Flow Strategies. 1. Show product attributes in cart. 2. Show final pricing in cart. 3. Offer free shipping. 3. Minimize distractions during checkout. 5. Provide a virtual candy rack. 6. Auto-fil personal information. 7. Provide shipping and delivery dates. 8. Give customers multiple checkout options. 9. Send abandoned cart reminders. Logo: Inflow. Attract. Convert. Grow.

28. Show product attributes in cart.

Always make product attributes (such as size, color, etc.) visible in the shopping cart. This helps shoppers confirm that they’ve made the right decision. 

Two screenshots of items in a cart. In the top screenshot titled Details in product title, the product title is All-clad Stainless-Steel outdoor fry pan. In the bottom screenshot, titled Details in product description, The product is a sandal. Beneath are two lines: Color: Natural and Size: 7.5.

Consider adding a small product image, as well. You’ll have fewer returns and more happy customers. 

29. Show final pricing in cart.

Do your best to incorporate all coupon codes, promos, taxes, fees, and shipping costs as soon as possible in the checkout process. The later these items appear, the more likely customers are to abandon their cart and have the feeling that you were trying to “lowball” them to make a sale. 

30. Offer free shipping.

Costly shipping is the number one reason why shoppers abandon carts on eCommerce sites. Therefore, free shipping is a powerful enticement to get shoppers to buy. 

In our best-in-class research, more than 90% of leading sites offer free shipping. Amazon has leveraged this to great extent.

You might not be able to offer free shipping on all orders, but it’s worth your time to consider what order values might make it worth it to you. Test different setups and promos to find the sweet spot for improving your profitability with free shipping. 

31. Minimize distractions during checkout.

You want to make sure customers stay focused when they’re in the process of checking out. To do this, display their order summary (including details and a picture) throughout the checkout process. Hide your overall site navigation on checkout pages. 

32. Provide a virtual “candy rack.”

The only reasonable distraction customers should have is the ability to add more items to their cart. Take advantage of the opportunity to cross-sell and upsell customers with items related to their purchase and/or popular items you think they might like. 

An order total page. Under the total is a horizontal row of products titled You may also like.

Use headers to make it clear which is which to make snap judgments easier. You don’t want customers to get choice paralysis here.

33. Auto-fill personal information.

Make checkout as easy as possible by auto-filling fields in your form. Take information from a customer’s account, social media integration, or cookies. 

Just make sure to test these integrations so you know they’re working! 

34. Provide accurate shipping and delivery dates.

It’s important to provide shipping information to your customers, as this can influence their decision. Confirm that the dates you’re displaying are accurate and reasonable, given your current workflow and timetables. 

35. Give customers multiple checkout options.

The second most common reason why shoppers abandon carts (after shipping costs) is being asked to make an account to complete their order. To avoid this, give customers a guest checkout option, as well as payment options to create an account or sign in to an existing account. 

H&M checkout page. Returning customer: Lovely, welcome back! Sign in for faster checkout. Email and password boxes. New customer: Become a member today — it's fast and free! 10% off your first purchase. Flexible payment options. Free online returns. Guest checkout: Not ready to become a member just yet?

Try to integrate multiple payment methods, including credit cards, PayPal, Apple Pay, and buy now, pay later (BNPL) functionality. 

36. Send abandoned cart reminders.

Research shows that, on average, about 70% of carts are abandoned on eCommerce sites. Even the best-performing sites have about 50% cart abandonment. 

To minimize this, develop a cart recapture strategy, including emailing potential or returning customers when you have an email address. These emails should focus on the common reasons why your shoppers have abandoned their carts, and offer enticements to encourage customers to finish transactions. 

Strategic Content

Strategic content can be a powerful twofer, but it’s also a high-investment strategy. 

When you’re at the CRO stage, focus first on content that analytics show to be terribly low-performing (pages where a lot of customer journeys stop). Then, create a comprehensive plan for strategic content going forward, so that you can educate your customers and bring in more converting traffic. 

How to Increase eCommerce Conversion Rate: Strategic Content Strategies. 1. Audit your existing content. 2. Start a blog. 3. Create an FAQ page. Logo: Inflow. Attract. Convert. Grow.

37. Audit your existing content to remove low performers.

As we mentioned above, start with a quick review of your analytics to determine which pages might be dragging down your conversion rates. 

Over the long term, it’s worthwhile to put in the time and effort for a comprehensive site audit. Utilize our eCommerce Content Audit Toolkit for a better idea of how to improve your site’s content. 

eCommerce Content Audit Toolkit. Download. Now.

38. If you don’t have a blog, start one!

Strategic blog content is a twofer strategy we almost always recommend for our eCommerce clients. 

Having a high-quality blog helps you to build links and generate traffic to help your organic SEO efforts. It also gives you the opportunity to educate potential customers about the value of your products, customer service, or other unique selling propositions. 

39. Create an FAQ page.

FAQ pages are powerful twofers. You can use them to target specific common searches and bring more traffic to your site. Doing this right can win you coveted search positions above the normal first ranking, like featured snippets and “People also ask” placement. 

FAQ page from MountainHouse.com. Categories are General, Shipping & Returns, Adventure Meals, Just in Case, Pro-Pak, Simple Sensations, and Classic.

However, this is also an important resource for customers on your site, removing doubts and concerns that might keep them from completing a purchase. 

Pop-ups & Interstitials

Pop-ups and interstitials are high-risk, high-reward strategies. When they work, they can really work — but when they don’t, they can tank your conversion rates and even your organic performance. 

Test these thoroughly and follow our best practices for pop-ups to avoid negative effects. 

How to Increase eCommerce Conversion Rate: Pop-Ups & Interstitial Strategies. 1. Confirm pop-ups work with design. 2. Give incentives for email captures. Logo: Inflow. Attract. Convert. Grow.

40. Confirm pop-ups work with website design.

You don’t want a pop-up to hide important website information and navigation elements. Try it on different screens and devices to be sure it’s compatible with the devices your customers are most likely to use. 

Don’t forget to talk to your SEO team to confirm the pop-ups you’re using don’t impact your Core Web Vitals scores or technical SEO efforts.

41. Give incentives for email captures.

The most valuable emails to capture are from future customers. However, you can put people off and turn them into never-customers with an overly aggressive attempt to get emails or make people create an account. 

Mountain House exit discount pop-up. Under a photograph of a person eating a bowl of food outdoors, text states: Delicious food that's ready in minutes? Yes, please! Join our newsletter and save 5% on your next order. Plus, stay up to date on news and promotions. Below a text field states: Enter your email address. Below the textbox a button is labeled Join Newsletter.

Soften the request with a little incentive. Audiences will consider different things worthwhile in this context, so test various offers to see what works for your potential customers. 

Customer Accounts

While you don’t want to force potential customers to create an account, remember that these accounts can be the backbone of your customer loyalty efforts. 

Your return customers are more valuable than new ones, so give your shoppers a good reason to become members and come back to your site again. 

How to Increase eCommerce Conversion Rate: Customer Account Strategies. 1. Test your login system. 2. Give customers access to all data. 3. Focus on loyalty. Logo: Inflow. Attract. Convert. Grow.

42. Test your login system.

It should be easy for customers to log into their accounts. Make sure the login buttons are visible and that your login system integrates properly with popular password management apps and plugins. 

A savvy way to ease login is to integrate email accounts and/or social media with your site. Not only does this make it easier for customers to log in, but it also gives you more data to leverage in your personalized offers. 

43. Give customers access to all important data.

When customers log in, they should have access to all their important information. Make sure they can access their:

  • Recent orders
  • Current orders
  • Personal information
  • Notification settings
  • Email subscriptions
  • Reward club points

Basically, any information they might want to check, review, or edit should be available for them to view. This will make customers happier with their account on your site and more likely to use it again. 

44. Focus on loyalty.

Use the information you have on customer accounts to improve their loyalty. When reaching out via email or social media to previous customers, make sure to target them in ways that appeal to heart, head, and hand loyalty

Remember that marketing to previous customers costs one-fifth of what it costs to get new customers, and repeat customers spend as much as 67% more than new customers. 

Build Your Customized Conversion Optimization Strategy Today

Whew! That’s a lot of strategies. But we’ve tested them all and know that they all work for some eCommerce sites. 

However, what works for one site may not always work for another. Identifying which ones will work for your website can involve a lot of trial-and-error testing. Expect to experience additional costs and lose some customers along the way, though it will eventually pay off in the long run. 

Want to save yourself all that trial and error? Let Inflow’s CRO experts deploy our experience to find the strategies that are likely to work for your eCommerce site. Start by requesting a free audit and proposal today.

Not ready to hire a digital marketing team? Download our Conversion Optimization Testing eBook for more helpful guidance as you start testing these conversion strategies on your site. 

Report titled Stop wasting your time when testing eCommerce Sites. How to get the most accurate tested results. Logo: Inflow.

Why you should test your SEO ideas before you ship them

Your conversion rate optimization (CRO) strategy fundamentally runs on two wheels—Search engine optimization (SEO) and A/B testing. When you optimize your landing pages consistently to improve user experience by engaging visitors on your website, it signals to Google that your website fulfils the user intent. As a result, Google incentivizes you with a high ranking…

Your conversion rate optimization (CRO) strategy fundamentally runs on two wheels—Search engine optimization (SEO) and A/B testing.

When you optimize your landing pages consistently to improve user experience by engaging visitors on your website, it signals to Google that your website fulfils the user intent. As a result, Google incentivizes you with a high ranking in the search.  

SEO has evolved from being a traditional keyword-oriented model to a full-blown strategy as Google keeps changing its algorithm. User intent has become one of the top factors for ranking, but at the same time, it has become challenging for marketers to predict visitor behavior while making any changes in their SEO strategy. 

The logical resolution to the problem of figuring out what Google and visitors want from your website is rigorous testing of your SEO efforts.

This is good news because a) it is possible to run A/B tests without impacting SEO negatively and b) Google encourages A/B testing as long as it is done bearing in mind recommended best practices. 

In this blog post, we have covered the basics of SEO testing and how A/B testing can help you optimize your SEO efforts. 

What is SEO testing?

SEO testing enables businesses to optimize their website performance on the search engine result pages (SERPs). If you have ideas to optimize SEO for your website, you can do so by testing your ideas before you execute them at scale, which otherwise might pose a negative impact on your business if you ship the changes untested. Well-informed decisions also facilitate planning a smooth CRO roadmap in terms of both—strategy and budget. 

The big advantage here is that Google encourages you to A/B test your SEO changes. You may test pages such as product pages, category pages, and elements like meta tags, copy format and relevancy, headline, call-to-action buttons, and other SERP features. These modifications are crawled by Googlebot and help Google learn new information and assess the implications of changes on your website for ranking. 

SEO testing is different from A/B testing, as explained in the following sections.

What is Googlebot?

Google defines Googlebot as the crawler that visits web pages to include them within the Google Search index. In simple words, it is computer software or a bot that keeps learning new information on your web page and indexes the changes in Google’s database. It supports the latest JavaScript features that help them render the web pages to make ranking decisions. 

Google declared the bot as the new evergreen Googlebot. And yes, there is just one Googlebot and it doesn’t like crawling duplicate pages as duplication confuses it. Let’s understand its function in bot-based testing.

Bot-based testing

With SEO bot-based testing, you run the split URL test and assess the control and variation response in a given period. It is done either to accept and deploy the changes to similar pages on your website or reject the changes before moving on with your next experiment. 

For example, if you want to test your call-to-action (CTA) buttons to rope your visitors in organically, you can compare the copy and positioning of your CTA on your website by running a split test. The bot in such a test will be presented with unique web pages with unique CTAs that you want to test. It will crawl down the web pages to index the new information which you have presented through the test, thereby mitigating the chances of confusion for the bot. You will get the winner once the test signals a significant influx of visitors into the sales funnel, which eventually will be reflected in SERPs. 

On the contrary, if you want to run an A/B test for CTA copy and positioning, you present a control version to a set of users and a variation to another set of users. Here, the bot may not be able to distinguish between the two pages (until you use link attributes to your original page, as discussed in best practices below), and it may confuse your testing situation with cloaking—a practice lethal for your SEO.

A/B split testing for SEO
Image source: Semrush

How do A/B testing and split URL testing impact SEO?

Simply put, they don’t. SEO is not negatively impacted by testing activities as long as you’re not deliberately trying to confuse Googlebot. 

Also, A/B testing and split URL testing are not the same. Your visitor will land on a variation or control purely by chance in an A/B test, whereas in split URL testing, they will land on statistically similar groups of pages as tests are hosted on different URLs. So, in A/B testing, you split users to test experiences, and in the latter, you split pages with distinct experiences. 

For example, if you want to test your title tags which are key to SERPs, you can compare your title tags with SEO split testing, which will allow you to create groups of pages, say product pages, where you want to ship your changes to. These pages are categorized into unique testing groups and hence appear alike to visitors and Googlebot. This type of testing is straightforward and effective for SEO. Whereas, it gets a bit tricky in A/B testing if you don’t follow the best practices. 

Split URL testing is preferred for SEO when you need to test major changes like content format, navigation, design, etc. However, you can A/B test your SEO efforts as well keeping in mind a few factors that we will discuss in the following sections.

Automation Page Graphics V4 0 Implent Seo Testing Final
Image source: SEO clarity

Best practices for A/B testing SEO activities

Google advises stringent guidelines on SEO A/B testing if you don’t want to hurt your SEO:

  • Avoid cloaking

According to Google Webmaster guidelines, cloaking is showing one version to humans and others to bots. It’s deceptive to the search engines, bringing more harm to your website. Try always to serve the original content, otherwise, Google can demote your website.

  • Use 302 redirects

Always use a temporary 302 URL rather than 301. You may need to redirect some of your URLs to consolidate similar content pages into one or move your site to a new address.

  • Use rel=“canonical” to avoid duplication 

While running an A/B test for minor changes on your web page, always add a link attribute to your alternative URLs for your testing pages. This linking enables Google to distinguish between the original and the variation. For example, Google can index your homepage as a test variation if you want them to understand that you are running a test on your homepage. You can do so by identifying the page by using rel=”canonical”. It also signals to Google that other variations are close copies and should not be confused with the original URL.

  • Experiment runtime

Figure out what you want from the changes on the website. Since Google changes its algorithm all the time, be mindful of your test’s duration as your SEO might get affected if Google updates its algorithm while your test is running. This may, in turn,  impact the metric you are testing. Such situations certainly get you skewed test results. It is advisable not to run SEO tests for long periods, unmonitored. If you want to see the positive impact of the variation, then you may want to conclude the test and make the changes live. However, if you want to gauge the scale of impact, then wait until your test reaches statistical significance. 

Blog Banner Impact Of Ab Testing On Seo

How does VWO help in running A/B tests and split URL tests without impacting SEO?

According to Google webmaster, website speed is one of the key factors impacting website ranking. The VWO Asynchronous SmartCode loads in parallel with your website, thereby having zero impact on your website load time. You can customize time-out parameters for the VWO SmartCode to execute and make sure that your visitors do not experience any inconsistent behavior while using the website. If the VWO SmartCode fails to execute within a specified time, it stops and then loads the original content of the page.

VWO Testing ensures that there is no negative impact on your website ranking while A/B testing your SEO elements. For example, if you want to A/B test some minor changes in the website, such as the copy, image, or color of a button, it usually has no impact on the page’s search result snippet or ranking. However, if you want to make changes like copy length and redesign your website, it is recommended that you follow best practices such as using query parameter rel= “canonical”.

For instance, if you have two different URLs ending with A.php and B.php, you can use the below code on B.php to avoid content duplication: 

<head>

    <link rel=”canonical” href=”http://vwo.com/A.php” />

</head>

Although Google will index both the pages, you are enhancing Google’s knowledge to consider the original A.php for SEO by adding the above code. 

Conclusion

SEO is a black box. Nobody knows the future of Google’s algorithms and how the search engine perceives your unique web pages. 

The closest you could get to understanding it is by acknowledging that Google is getting smarter every minute as you read this blog piece. The only way to keep your SEO game up and running in this competitive age is through consistent experimentation. 

Just like the COVID vaccines. There are so many other factors at play you can only say with some reasonable amount of confidence that you can expect the results to come out a certain way.

Kevin Indig, Head of SEO, Shopify

The only solution to crack your SEO efforts for revenue generation is to keep testing, keep optimizing!

Blog Banner Impact Of Ab Testing On Seo Bottom

How VWO Creates a Friction-Free Visitor Experience When Running Experiments on a Single Page Application (SPA)

A deep dive into how VWO’s native support to dynamic websites makes experimentation easy for you as you build seamless experiences for your visitors. Single Page Applications (SPAs) are used to build fast, compact and responsive websites. Such websites enable you to optimize the content that your user sees to create engaging and unique experiences….

A deep dive into how VWO’s native support to dynamic websites makes experimentation easy for you as you build seamless experiences for your visitors.

Single Page Applications (SPAs) are used to build fast, compact and responsive websites. Such websites enable you to optimize the content that your user sees to create engaging and unique experiences. A SPA framework also helps improve overall website performance. If you hear from your development team that your website is built using React, Vue, AngularJS, Ember, or Backbone, you are probably working with a SPA, and this article is relevant to you.

VWO creates friction-free experience while experimenting on SPA

In this article, we talk about how we, at VWO, make experimentation on dynamic websites effective and easy with in-built support for SPA Testing so that you focus only on your website experience optimization efforts and nothing else.  

But first, let’s talk about the problem that brought you here in the first place.

Challenges of running experiments on dynamic websites

You are probably here because when you are running experiments on a SPA, the changes you make to your landing page are not visible to the end-users. As a result, you cannot test and validate your ideas as quickly as you want and this leaves you frustrated.

Firstly, let’s understand that SPAs are different from traditional websites. The entire web page loads each time someone visits a conventional website. In SPA, however, only some sections of the page are updated. This is because, in SPAs, resources like HTML, CSS, Scripts, etc., which build the look and feel of your webpage, are only loaded once.

Based on how the user interacts with different parts of the web page, what you see on a specific section of the page dynamically changes in response to the user’s action. Say, if a user clicks a button, a pop-up opens. This pop-up is the dynamic change made by the framework as per the user interaction without impacting performance. Some more examples where there is dynamic change on a SPA are as below:

  • Items on a search result list that can be expanded to view its details.
  • In a form, some fields appear on the page only when a visitor selects a predefined value from a dropdown.
  • The website uses some components like a calendar, color picker, etc. which get re-loaded every time the user needs to use them.

While this is good for user experience, running a test campaign with changes made to any of these dynamic elements (like search result lists, dropdowns, widgets, pop-ups, banners, etc.) on your web pages becomes difficult. This is because the modifications made to a component need to get applied every time something dynamically changes on the website. 

Think of it this way – you are running a test on a webpage. Every time the webpage loads (by a user visiting the page) or the page creates a dynamic element as described above, the SPA framework shows the original state (different from the variation you want to show as part of your test).

What you need is an experimentation platform that ensures that your test variation replaces the original view so that the users see the variation you want them to see. So, while setting a test on a SPA, (say you’re testing the content within a pop-up box), you will expect the test control and variation to look like this:

How you want your test changes to reflect in SPA

But, in absence of SPA-support, the changes made on the variation will revert to control, making both look identical. Quite like this:

Test changes throw an error in SPA

This is just a simplified version of what is happening. If you are interested in understanding technically what happens behind the screen, keep reading ahead, else you can skip to the next section of the article.

Some website frameworks like GatsbyJS, Next.js, ReactJS, etc., use server-side rendering and store a snapshot of your original webpage as it should load. So, when you modify an element on the page for testing purposes, the framework detects the change as an ‘issue’ and reverts the page to its original state as it appears in the stored snapshot. This, in turn, hinders your A/B test.

Secondly, the latest frameworks like React, Gatsby, Next.js, Vue.js, Angular, etc., use the concept of state-based rendering. For example, in React, whenever a change is implemented in one of the states due to the A/B test variation, the website’s interface automatically reloads itself to its original form, so users never see the variation. This creates a sub-optimal experience for website visitors.

How VWO makes experimentation on Single Page Applications effortless

Now that we have discussed the problem, let’s talk about the solution. VWO’s advanced native SPA support in its Visual Editor, which is part of VWO Testing, ensures that modifications made in an experiment get applied in SPAs to ensure the campaigns’ reliability and give a frictionless experience to your visitors. 

Let’s take the example of an eCommerce SPA to understand how this works using VWO.

1. Testing dynamic elements on your website

While dynamic elements have been defined in the previous section, let’s look at them closely with a specific example. Consider that you have an eCommerce website. Upon clicking the ‘X’ (Close) button on the ‘Cart page’, an alert appears as a pop-up. Now, you would like to test copy changes on the action box to see if actionable messaging and Call to Action could keep people from closing the Cart page. The alert box is not initially present on the website code but gets added upon by the SPA framework when the visitor clicks on the ‘X’ (Close) button. Here, the button that opens the pop-up you are running the test on is called the target element.

VWO ensures that the change you want to test is applied to the pop-up as soon as it loads. All you have to do is enable a setting with the click of a button. You can read more about this setting in our knowledge base article.

How VWO ensures that the change you want to test is applied to the target element as soon as it loads in a SPA
How VWO ensures that the change you want to test is applied to the target element as soon as it loads in a SPA

How does VWO ensure that the changes are applied correctly?

Easy. 

VWO watches the page elements (videos, images, tables, sections, etc.) for changes made to them at any point in time. Therefore, when the target element (the Close ‘X’ button in the example above) loads, VWO detects it and applies the modification you made in the Variation. This happens even if the web page is not reloaded, but the user just interacts with a section on the website.

Let’s get a little technical and explore it further. You can comfortably skip this and move to the next point if technical details are not for you.

In a dynamic website, based on user behavior, elements are added, removed, or modified. A DOM tree is like a repository of all website components (buttons, banners, pop-ups, widgets, etc.) and keeps a snapshot of the current state of the website.

VWO’s library uses Mutation Observer – a browser interface that allows VWO to observe changes in the DOM tree of a SPA. This helps detect any new element added, removed, or modified on the page. In such an event, VWO applies the changes on the elements automatically. So whenever elements dynamically load, changes are applied before they are shown to the visitor. This improves the reliability of campaigns, ensuring that the changes in the variations are applied completely.

How does VWO manage changes hindered by framework rendering?

VWO keeps the CTA button hidden until the framework rendering is complete. VWO repeatedly checks if the rendering is done. Once the framework rendering is complete, the VWO campaign starts executing.

You can read more about these settings in our knowledge base article.

2. Testing any other page element on your website

When a page loads, modern SPA frameworks revert modified elements to their original state every time the website loads. So, if you are testing the page, all your modifications will be reverted to the original. Not just the dynamic elements, but for all elements on the page, VWO keeps track of the changes you have made to tackle the challenge of testing with the SPA framework. While applying these changes to your webpage, VWO detects all changes made on the page (insertion, deletion, and modification of DOM nodes) by the test and re-applies them to ensure regularity in user experience. 

No explicit actions are required to enable this improvement on VWO. This is an in-built feature available for all VWO campaigns built with the Visual Editor, irrespective of the framework on which your website is built.

Let’s look at some use-case examples of changes that the VWO Visual Editor handles.

1. Say you’ve removed a secondary CTA button ( say “Add to wishlist”) from your eCommerce website to test if this change affects the number of clicks on the primary CTA (say “Add to cart”). This is a testing use case where you delete an element on the website. Even though you have deleted the button, it persists in the virtual DOM created by frameworks like React and will throw an error when the website loads.

Elements deleted while testing persist in the virtual DOM created by frameworks like React and throw an error

2. Now imagine that your eCommerce website has a registration flow that shows a text input box to capture visitors’ email addresses besides the ‘Submit now’ button. When you make changes to the look and feel of the text input box, the styled-components of the website associated with it change. VWO’s Visual Editor ensures that the latest applied changes are what the users see. Watch how you can make changes to a form field in a SPA and make sure that the visitors sampled for the variation see those changes instead of seeing control.

How VWO ensures that the visitors sampled for the variation in a test see the exact changes in a SPA

How to use VWO for your Single Page Application?

To use VWO for your SPA, you simply need to add the VWO SmartCode in the head section of your website and enjoy the default support for SPA websites.

With integration as simple as this, you can get started right away. Sign up for a free trial, explore VWO’s capabilities, or request a demo with our product experts. You can also learn more about our latest, exciting product updates.

How Audience Targeting helps you build Personalized Experiences

A deep dive into how VWO’s advanced targeting capabilities, robust integration ecosystem, and sophisticated experimentation infrastructure work together to run tests on your customer segments and increase conversions. Customer buying behavior is continuously evolving. This is why converting website visitors to paid customers is becoming increasingly difficult. If your goal is conversions optimization, I am…

A deep dive into how VWO’s advanced targeting capabilities, robust integration ecosystem, and sophisticated experimentation infrastructure work together to run tests on your customer segments and increase conversions.

Are you feeding the right digital experience to your customer?
Are you feeding the right digital experience to your customer?

Customer buying behavior is continuously evolving. This is why converting website visitors to paid customers is becoming increasingly difficult. If your goal is conversions optimization, I am confident you will resonate with the fact that ‘just’ having customer data is not sufficient to build relevant experiences.

You could be sitting on a pile of data containing customer interactions, behaviors, preferences, and buying journeys across various customer data platforms, ABM tools, marketing automation systems, and other similar data repositories. But is that enough? How you leverage all this data is central to optimizing experiences, and it’s what changes the game in your favor. What you need is the ability to test your ideas and target an experiment based on patterns found in such data repositories.

Now, we make this simple for you with the VWO Experimentation Platform. We have rule-based personalization where you can target an A/B test to a specific segment of visitors based on the data you have on them. Not just this, you can also personalize the experience, i.e. make one landing page and show a different copy to different visitors using individual’s data via dynamic text.

VWO gives you the flexibility to perform advanced tests like multivariate, multi-device, multi-page(funnel), and mutually exclusive tests and also enables you to formulate a hypothesis looking at real-time behavioral insights of your website visitors. The advanced targeting and dynamic text capabilities help you go a step further to personalize your experiences and target specific customer cohorts important to your business.

Validating personalization is like spearfishing
Validating personalization is like spearfishing. Instead of casting a wider net, you target a small group based on behavior in experiments and optimize conversions.

This article will help you dive into how VWO’s advanced customer targeting can validate your personalization ideas, create relevant experiences, and boost ROI.

Let’s dive into how you can run testing campaigns using advanced targeting

Firstly, let’s discuss what capabilities advanced targeting brings to the table. With advanced targeting, you can target audiences in your tests in three ways – using

  • Pre-defined Audiences 
  • Attribute-based Uploaded Audiences
  • Third-Party Data Audiences

Pre-defined Audiences are different behavior-based visitor segments on your website created on the basis of actions like clicks on an element, time spent on a page, page scrolls, and exit intent. Attributes List helps you target VWO campaigns to a specific audience using visitor attributes. You need to create a list with visitor attributes such as Cookie values, JavaScript Variables, or any other identifier and upload it to VWO. Third-Party Audiences are custom segments you create by connecting VWO to your tech stack so that you can use data specific to your customer cohorts.

Depending on the third-party integration, this can be a behavioral segment like anonymous users, repeat users, users inactive for 90 days, or ABM metrics like revenue range, industry, etc. You can also build complex segments by combining the three using logic conditions and saving them for re-use later.

Now, let’s see how you use this capability to validate your testing ideas.

Imagine that you have customers across Europe and North America, and data tell you that 10% of your European customers have been inactive in the last six months (which say you are tracking by Lytics). As part of your digital strategy, you would like to test whether a promotional offer communicated to this particular set of customers would motivate them to reactivate their accounts. With Advanced Targeting capability, you can run an experiment to target a variation with the promotional offer to only the traffic originating from Europe and fulfilling the inactive condition. Our client-side experimentation interface makes this easy to do for even non-developers.

Watch how easily you can set conditions and pull third-party customer data (which in this case is behavioral data from Lytics) to create said customer cohorts, and run personalized A/B Test campaigns from within the VWO platform.

An example of how an eCommerce company can create a relevant promotion message for a specific audience using VWO

Our robust, easy-to-understand reporting will help you determine if your hypothesis is true. Suppose your variation is giving an uplift from your baseline conversion which is also statistically significant, don’t worry, VWO Bayesian powered Stats engine takes care of recommending the next steps. In that case, you can confidently and quickly deploy the winning variation to your customer segment and convert your testing idea to an excellent experience for your customers. 

Use-cases for Advanced Targeting

Experimentation with advanced targeting capability opens up a whole set of new use-cases that were (almost) impossible earlier using the conventional targeting methods that focus on demographics – device, browser, location, etc. Some examples of value-based use-cases are:

  • Campaign to make anonymous visitors convert by showing them a specific promotion while running a different promotion for highly engaged visitors. 
  • Delivering customized content using visitors’ company or industry type. 
  • Experiment to deliver personalized, relevant content using visitors’ company revenue range and employee range.

Let’s expand a use case in detail to see how it evolves into a personalization idea. Say you want to create a variation in an experiment for a visitor who has displayed the following attributes.

Visitor attributes for targeting

You can create a custom segment with the above attributes from within VWO. Watch how easily you can add conditions to segment your audience and target them with a personalized variation.

An example of how you can create a custom visitor segment based on specific attributes using VWO

Let’s assume your data confirms that visitors with these attributes come with the specific intent of understanding your product in more detail and exploring the pricing options available. You can then personalize the sales message you want to display on the home page specifically for these visitors. Finally, your A/B testing tool targets this specific set of visitors by showing them the variation with the personalized sales message and gives you results on whether the messaging is a hit or a miss.

Where can the data come from? Almost anywhere.

Third-party Integrations

Ideally, you should integrate your experimentation platform with your data tools to run A/B tests at scale with the unique customer cohorts from your data repositories. 

For example, if you’re managing an eCommerce store on Mixpanel, you want to run an experiment on the checkout page only for visitors who are part of your store’s loyalty program. Our native integration with Mixpanel will allow you to select this cohort as the audience for your experiment on the checkout page. 

Similarly, if you use DemandBase for your personalization needs, you can deliver personalized content to any user from a specific company’s IP address and test its impact, or run A/B tests only for targeted companies meeting certain criteria, for example, all fortune 100 companies located in the US.

The comprehensive ecosystem of integrations that VWO offers, and is constantly building upon, empowers your experimentation program. You can leverage the data from customer data platforms, ABM tools, and marketing data repositories by seamlessly importing rich data cohorts defined outside of VWO in third-party tools like Demandbase, Triblio, Clearbit, 6sense, and Lytics. You can then run campaigns on them without re-configuring the audience within VWO again.

Target leads from Fortune 1000 companies
Configuration to target leads from Fortune 1000 companies belonging to sub-industry communications
To target anonymous profiles within your Lytics audience
For example, you want to show a specific promotion to Anonymous profiles to convert them into leads

With the integrations supported by VWO, you can:

  • Quickly build B2B audiences using the attributes imported from the integrations.
  • Use the imported audiences as targeting conditions in VWO for A/B testing campaigns.
  • Test and optimize the experience for a specific set of audiences with targeted messaging to validate your personalization ideas.
  • Create a view for capturing recordings of this specific set of audiences. This will get insights into how your key audience segments interact with your website differently.

Uploaded audiences

Let’s say you wish to target a particular campaign to all the premium users of VWO. Let’s assume there were 100K visitors; all of those would have a unique cookie value in the user_id cookie. One way is to get in touch with the engineering team to get the list of every user ID that qualifies as a premium user. It is achieved by generating a cookie for people who match the user id in the list, which VWO then uses for targeting. 

You can then upload this list of user ids to VWO. The Attributes List feature requires you to create a list (.csv or.txt) with the 100k user ids, upload it to VWO, and use it as a campaign targeting condition. All this, without the support from the engineering team. It’s that simple.

Uploading audiences
Attributes List feature in VWO

The final word

When it comes to conversion optimization, the ability to target an experiment based on user behavior or account-level attributes is a powerful lever in the hands of a marketer like you. But instead of shooting in the dark, you need to make data-backed decisions and validate your personalization efforts before rolling out new experiences for your audiences. Your experimentation platform, therefore, needs to possess two crucial capabilities:

  1. Advanced customer targeting that allows you to run experiments on customer cohorts built on complex conditions easily.
  2. Easy integration with customer data portals without the need to import the data into your A/B testing tool to run experiments.

With VWO, you can start right away. Sign up for a free trial and explore the advanced targeting capabilities. You can also request a demo with our product experts or learn more about customer segmentation and the latest, most exciting product updates.

Bayesian A/B Testing: A Powerful Reasoning Model

A/B testing goes hand-in-hand with every marketer’s CRO strategy. Being a marketer or a CRO practitioner, you can’t underrate the value of embracing a culture of experimentation in your organization. Yet, finding an optimal variation to achieve higher conversions has remained a persistent challenge for online businesses throughout. In its classical form, A/B testing operates…

A/B testing goes hand-in-hand with every marketer’s CRO strategy. Being a marketer or a CRO practitioner, you can’t underrate the value of embracing a culture of experimentation in your organization. Yet, finding an optimal variation to achieve higher conversions has remained a persistent challenge for online businesses throughout.

In its classical form, A/B testing operates as a binary model—a null hypothesis that needs to be rejected to accept the alternative hypothesis. Owing to the complicated process of deriving insights from an experiment and taking crucial business decisions based on them, CRO practitioners have been adopting the more credible and intuitive model over the classical Frequentist one. It’s the Bayesian model.

The Bayesian model proves the evidence of the reasoning behind an experiment you run. In this blog post, we have explored the Bayesian model in detail, compared it with the classic Frequentist approach, and discussed its use cases.

What is the Bayesian approach?

Bayesian reasoning is fundamentally a belief-based approach with its foundation in Bayes’ theorem. The theorem presents a mathematical framework to update your existing beliefs with the influx of new information. 

Bayesian Ab Testing The Complete Guide

Here is an example for you. A doctor can diagnose a medical problem in a patient following either one of the approaches. As a Frequentist, he would have a fixed model set up against a patient’s specific symptoms for his diagnosis. He may probe the patient for them and identify the cause based on the fixed model he has in place. 

Contrarily, as a Bayesian, the doctor would still have a model. He would probe the patient for gauging his condition and identifying symptoms, and in addition, he would like to know the history of any past pains in the patient. Hence, his diagnosis will include the current symptoms and historical symptoms in identifying the actual cause. This approach will update his existing model with new information, which can lead to faster innovation with no extra cost, time, or energy spent in the process of diagnosis. 

An example from StackExchange makes this concept even simpler.  

Say you’ve misplaced your phone, and since this happens all the time, you have got yourself a phone locator. Your phone has an instrument attached to its base, which signals it to start beeping when you press a button on the phone locator. The problem is, from where should you begin your search in the house?

If you are a Frequentist, your built-in model would be identifying the area based on the direction of the sound of beeps. Thus, you will run after the beeps to find the device’s location in the house.

Yet, as a Bayesian, you would recall the locations where you found it the last time it went missing. Did you find it on the kitchen slab or buried under the laundry? You will have reasons behind putting the phone in those places. Apart from the sound of the beeps, recalling this information will act as a prior that can assist you in making an evidence-based decision. In this case, it will figure out where to begin the search.

The critical aspect of Bayesian thinking is that it enables you to explore the pre-existing beliefs (priors) during your research, and these beliefs get updated with evidence data resulting in new beliefs (posteriors). 

In the context of A/B testing, why is the Bayesian approach more beneficial than Frequentist?

You can hear a Frequentist, who does not like to talk about one-time events, murmuring—”Did I arrive at the truth correctly?”. On the contrary, a Bayesian, who cares more about updating opinion based on data than finding the ultimate truth, can be heard out loud declaring—”I don’t know what the truth is, but I believe my initial opinion would change now since I have a new piece of information with me!” Pretty confident? Well, yes!

We ran an A/B test using VWO to check if a banner appearing on the exit intent of visitors can increase lead generation on our blog. Looking at it through the Bayesian lens, we see a varying degree of confidence in all possible conversion rates in the graphical representation. We concluded that control (no banner) is the winner, and also, there has been an overlap in the conversion rate between 0.25% and 0.6%.

bayesian a/b testing
bayesian a/b testing

On the other hand, the Frequentist approach returned a p=0.042, also concluding that the control is the winner. 

The Frequentist approach is steadfast in reaching a significant number of visitors to return a p-value, which is hard to put in a business context. What can you discern with a p=0.042 here? It’s likely to leave you confused.

As a marketer or a growth leader, you would want your tool to do the heavy-lifting when it comes to statistics and give you results that help you make good business decisions. 

Bayesian provides a more sensible and intuitive way to optimize your CRO efforts. It updates your opinions backed by evidence when you deduce your prediction and induce the learning in the experiment cycle with a knowledge update, as shown in the image below.

bayesian learning cycle
Image source: Instagram

VWO SmartStats—the Bayesian way

VWO goes the Bayesian way with SmartStats, a Bayesian-powered statistics engine for A/B testing. This engine gives you intelligent results to make smarter business decisions and reduces your testing time. 

The Bayesian approach enables you to incorporate knowledge into your experiments iteratively. SmartStats catalyzes this approach using a non-informative prior where all conversion rate possibilities are equally likely. In addition, it ensures that you stay in control and can monitor the test as it progresses and reaches its significance over a period of time before it concludes. 

Blog Banner Bayesian Ab Testing

Let’s go back to the exit-intent banner example discussed in the blog. For the test, we observed that the distributions were wider initially. However, as shown below, you can figure out that they started to shrink with more data.
The probability to beat baseline during the start of the test was close to 50%, but as the test progressed, it reached 95% confidence after reaching 1000 visitors, declaring the control as the winner.

If you look at the progress of this experiment with respect to time and traffic, it looked like this with the lowest number of visitors, showing variation leading (non-significantly):

bayesian a/b testing

And, this with ~1000 visitors, variation dropping steeply and control expanding:

bayesian a/b testing

The final graph declaring control as the winner:

bayesian a/b testing

How does Bayesian A/B testing allow faster innovation?

With the ability to incorporate belief as part of the experiment, the Bayesian approach enables you to make faster decisions with lower experimentation costs as compared to a Frequentist approach.

It is common to use a Bayesian approach where running an experiment is costlier, and you don’t have enough data to make a decision, whether it is a medical diagnostics test to discern the probability of having cancer or the email being spam.

Also, the Bayesian approach allows you to feed a posterior of one experiment as prior to another. Therefore, an A/B testing tool based on this model enables you to consistently and quickly optimize your experiments for conversions. You do not have to learn new data from your experiment every single time, instead, feed the posterior (read: update) to a prior, iteratively, to significantly determine improvement with less data.

With the exit-intent banner experiment, extensively discussed in the blog, we took a quick decision looking at the progress of the test as soon as it reached its significance. We did so to mitigate the loss of the opportunity metric that was MQLs in this case. The test was concluded with an observation that an exit-intent banner doesn’t work on our blog. This observation can act as data-backed evidence (posterior) to be fed as a prior to our subsequent experiments around blogs.

So don’t wait. Take a plunge, fail fast, learn effectively, and grow exponentially with iterative A/B testing that promises opportunities for innovation in your business to witness astronomical conversions.

End Banner Bayesian Ab Testing The Complete Guide