I was recently asked by a friend of mine ‘what is the best practice for a Conversion Rate Optimisation strategy?’ and I wanted to share my response with you guys. I know that these are relatively basic principles of CRO, but sometimes we forget the basics when our focus moves to more advanced techniques.
So, first and foremost, I would say having a proper structure and evidence-based testing strategy is key to success. Utilise user research when generating your ideas as opposed to relying on your ‘gut feelings’.
Prioritising your tests is the next crucial step. Grab those low hanging fruits that are easy to implement, have a moderate to high impact on revenue and a moderate to high amount of traffic. Then focus on the high juicy fruits which tend to be moderate to implement, have a high impact on revenue and moderate to high amount of traffic.
Last but not least, make sure your CRO strategy is a continuous process. Optimising your website for the better should never just be a one-off activity!
Ok, let’s look at that whole process broken down into bitesize chunks:
Ideation (generating those fabulous ideas)
To generate ideas you should always conduct both qualitative and quantitative research. This will give you a much better basis on which to implement tests and give your optimisation efforts some much needed focus.
What research should you do?
- 1-2-1 usability testing with your target audience
- Group research
- Website analytics review
- Competitor review
- Customer journey analysis
- Exploration of past tests
- The list goes on…
Prioritisation (what’s most important to the business)
Once you have brainstormed all those ideas, you need to know which one you should test first. It’s just not possible to do all your tests at once! We prioritise based on:
- The predicted uplift based on evidence of where the ideas came from, as well as how this will impact the conversion on your customer journey
- The amount of traffic to the area of where the test is being launched. There’s obviously no point running a test on a page which rarely gets any traffic!
- The technical feasibility – how easy or difficult it is to implement the test
- The business feasibility – how easy or difficult it is for the business to approve the idea, and implement it if the variation becomes a winner
Design, build and launch (we have lift off!)
Once you have designed and built your tests you should conduct a thorough Quality Assurance (QA) of the variations using agreed devices, browsers and any additional targeting conditions. This step really is a must. It is easy to forget that a page’s appearance in one browser or device might not be true for all browsers and devices.
Your launch should happen in two phases: start with a soft launch with only 10% of the targeted traffic with equal split amongst the variations over 24 hours to ensure that the data is coming through correctly. Once you are happy with the data, press that big green button and fully launch the test with 100% traffic.
Analysing the results (exploring your amazing results)
So you have generated your ideas, prioritised them, designed, built and launched them. Now you get to see if your hard work has paid off. After a period of one week, check the results to ensure that everything is working fine and the new variation is not decreasing the performance of the Key Success Metric. Then once your test has run its course, undertake a full analysis to understand the performance of the variation.
When analysing your results, remember to consider:
- Whether the test results reached a sufficient amount of statistical significance (https://help.optimizely.com/hc/en-us/articles/200039895-Stats-Engine-How-Optimizely-calculates-results-to-enable-business-decisions)
- Whether the performance (lift in conversion or revenue) of the variations are consistent for at least a week
Don’t let your testing streak tail off, use your findings to spark ideas for your next tests.
CRO should be a continuous process of improvement – that is the key to a successfully optimised website.