We’ve been working in digital for a long time now and have seen waves of innovation change the landscape several times. However, some aspects of digital practice have been resistant to change, and one of these is the approach to ‘progress’.
Businesses tend to view their digital products as following a cyclical process. They build them, manage them, and then rebuild them from scratch. It’s understandable why this happens. Technology ages, business requirements change, and new opportunities present themselves.
But this approach of storing up the change and then making it all at once is risky. Much of the value, insight, and behavioural understanding from the current product is lost. What’s more, it’s a leap of faith whether the new product is going to perform as well as its predecessor.
Not a great strategy I’m sure you’ll agree. But there is another way, and it’s called digital optimisation.
So what is conversion rate optimisation?
Conversion rate optimisation takes the fundamental view that it’s better to build on what you’ve already got, than to risk throwing out the baby with the bathwater.
It applies the principles of continuous improvement to your digital products. Developing understanding of your existing products and customer behaviour and then using that insight to iteratively improve your products.
Keep what works and learn from what doesn’t. Ultimately over time you can safely iterate your way to a digital product that performs significantly better.
What is the process for conversion rate optimisation?
On the face of it, it’s a pretty simple process: gather insights, design improvements, test them, rinse and repeat.
However what’s different is that digital optimisation draws its conclusions entirely from data. No opinions, no HIPPO’s, no ‘I told you so’ - only data. Conversion rate optimisation unearths changes to your products that actually deliver results and return on investment.
Although a simple process, as is often the case the devil lies in the detail. It’s all too easy to design experiments that are testing the wrong thing, never find a winner, or simply fail. And it takes experience and expertise to be aware of when that’s happening.
The key to conversion rate optimisation success is a robust process.
At DigitalLitmus, we always start by understanding your business goals and success criteria. We develop an optimisation strategy and carry out a comprehensive research phase to understand your customer and product. We use this insight combined with our expertise to develop ideas for experiments.
We prioritise and then pick the top priority hypothesis and design the experiment. This includes choosing the right type of experiment (e.g. A/B or multivariate - more on these in another post), audience segmentation, designing variations, and much more.
We deploy the experiment to live and then manage it through to conclusion. We analyse the data and draw further customer and product insight. The process is then repeated for the next priority. This iterative process aligns conversion optimisation with your business goals and delivers the most value to your business in the shortest possible time.
Interestingly, having a coherent strategy for conversion rate optimisation isn’t as commonplace as you might think. This is highlighted by the EConsultancy’s 2015 Conversion Rate Report word cloud below.
What do you think would make the biggest difference to your company in improving conversion rates?
What can be conversion optimised?
Pretty much any area of your digital product that has a key performance indicator or conversion rate associated with it.
To give you an idea, here’s a few examples of areas that can be optimised:
- E-commerce - getting users to buy more / more often
- Onboarding - bringing users into your product more successfully
- Landing pages - optimising marketing efforts bringing new users into your product
- Lead generation - capturing customer leads more effectively
- Engagement - delivering more customer value
- Retention - making your product more effective at bringing users back
When should I start optimising?
As you can see from the EConsultancy’s 2015 Conversion Rate Report analysis below, companies believe that testing is a high value activity with relatively easy implementation.
It’s pretty clear that there are big benefits to optimising your digital products. But what’s surprising is how few businesses are seizing the opportunity for growth. According to the EConsultancy’s report, only 53% of digital marketers consider conversion rate optimisation crucial to their business.
The reality is that conversion optimisation is crucial for 100% of businesses who want to improve their digital performance.
So if you’re looking to create more revenue, leads, sales, profit, or engagement, it’s time to start conversion optimising. And don’t delay - for every day that you’re not optimising your existing products you are losing out.