A/B Testing Rated Preferred CRO Method; Lack Of Resources Barrier To Mainstream Adoption

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Conversion rate optimization (CRO) has been gaining popularity over the last 12 months as more companies worldwide recognize that this digital marketing practice can increase profitable without raising the cost of site traffic acquisition. To find out more about what CRO methods and tools marketers are using and what challenges they are facing implementing and executing CRO, we analyzed the aggregated data from three recent reports in this subject.

Conversion rate optimization uses a range of scientific methods to increase the percentage of website visitors who take a direct action on a webpage. CRO can essentially be used to improve any metric of a website, but is usually associated with increasing the number of sales orders and web registrations.

Methods Used To Improve Conversion Optimization

A recent survey by conversion optimization agency ConversionXL, among 722 global digital marketers who work in the conversion optimization field, revealed that A/B testing is the most widely used method for improving conversion optimization rates. Their “2016 State of Conversion Report” stated that 70% of survey participants preferred A/B testing, 23% favored multivariate testing and 6% Bandit testing. Despite of all the hype around personalization the survey found that nearly two-thirds (64%) of the survey participants didn’t not pursue any website personalization. The most likely reason for this is that many digital marketers struggle with the implementation of this conversion optimization technique.

A September 2015 survey, among 900 digital marketers by Econsultancy, corroborates the findings from the ConversionXL survey. Econsultancy’s “Conversion Rate Optimization Report 2015” revealed that A/B testing of landing pages was the primary CRO technique, used by more than half (58%) of the survey participants.

With A/B testing the effectiveness of one version of a page or element on a page (the control) is tested against another version of the page or element (the challenger). Only one element is tested at a time. In multivariate testing ‒ another testing method often used for landing page optimization ‒ multiple elements are tested at one time.

In general, multivariate testing isn’t used as often as A/B testing, but the Econsultancy survey data indicated that digital marketers were looking to change that. More than one-third (35%) of survey participants said they are going to use multivariate testing in the future. Online surveys and customer feedback (55%), as well as copy optimization (54%) were also methods that more than half of the survey participants used to improve conversion rates. Even with all the excitement lately around personalization only 22% of the survey participants said they use website personalization to improve conversion rates, but 56% said they are planning to use it in the near future.

Conversion rate optimization trends

Conversion Optimization Tools

Optimizely is by far the preferred tool for CRO, according to the Conversion XL survey, with nearly half of survey participants using it. Less one-quarter of participants were using Visual Website Optimizer and 16% was using Google Analytics. All other CRO tools has less 5% user share.

Most Effective Landing Page Optimization Methods

Landing page optimization is one of the most importance components in the conversion process. A/B testing of landing pages ranked as the most effective testing method for landing page optimization and it was also the least difficult to implement, according to market research firm Ascend2. Their April 2015 “Landing Page Optimization Survey Summary Report” revealed that slightly more than half (52%) of digital marketers felt they were able to successfully implement and execute A/B testing. Segmentation/targeting (44%) and copy optimization (43%) were also cited as effective methods for landing page optimization, although they were more difficult to implement and execute than A/B testing.

Challenges To Conversion Optimization Success

Digital marketers working in the conversion optimization field are currently facing many challenges. Many optimizers have to work with limited budgets or no budgets at all. They also lack resources, formal education opportunities and time to sharpen their technical skills and learn about best practices. A large part (53%) of the participants in the ConversionXL survey said that there was no documented budget for CRO in their companies. For companies that had a budget the annual budget amounts ranged from $100,000 to $3 million. A lack of in-house skills was one of the biggest issues for participants in the ConversionXL survey.

Slightly less than one-third (31%) of the participants in the Econsultancy survey said lack of budget was a major obstacle to effective conversion rate optimization. A lack of resources to boost in-house skills was also a big issue for participants in the Econsultancy survey. 45% citing limited internal resources as a major obstacle to CRO success, while a fully 25% said they were struggling to come up with a conversion optimization strategy.