The 6 most frustrating things people say about CRO

Ok, so this is more of a rant than a blog post, but I’m making a serious point. There’s still a lot of misunderstanding about Conversion Rate Optimisation, what it is and how you do it properly.

This is a collection of the more frustrating things we hear people saying fairly frequently and our responses (with the swearing removed). Enjoy.


“We have CRO in-house – our designer does it.”

No. No, they don’t. Unless they’re one of those unicorn-type designers that can fit user research, web analytics data analysis, usability testing, user experience design, consumer psychology, value position development, visual design, programming and quality assurance analysis into their day, your designer is not doing CRO.

Yes, there are individuals who can single-handedly deliver scientifically tested conversion improvements month on month, but they tend to earn rather a lot of money. Most CRO teams need several specialists to focus on their particular area to deliver consistent results.


“We’ve done A/B testing before. It doesn’t work.”

Did you try A/B testing in the past and fail to get a winning variation? That’s because you didn’t use data-driven research to determine what to test. Having a meeting and deciding what you don’t like about a website isn’t scientific and won’t yield real results. This is probably why it didn’t ‘work’ for you.

If you want winning variations, you have to solve genuine problems, not perceived problems. The things you dislike about your website won’t be the same things users dislike. That’s why conversion research is so important and best practices should only ever be a starting point.


“Wow, £Xxxx per month? That’s expensive!”

If I offered to sell you £100,000 for £15,000, would you think that was expensive? Out of all the things you spend money on, CRO is one of the easiest on which to determine the return on investment. Provided you have enough data and you A/B test properly, you’re going to make more sales if you get winning A/B tests. It’s as simple as that.


“We did CRO last year so we’re not doing any this year.”

That’s a bit like saying, “I worked out last year, so I’m fit now and I don’t need to go to the gym anymore.”

Ultimately, if you have the data, you should always be testing. Every test is an opportunity to learn and grow. Every month that passes without a test running is a waste of all that beautiful data and insight.

Also, your audience is evolving. Their needs and expectations change over time and you need to know what they are so you can serve them better than your competitors do.


“All of our budget is tied up in PPC.”

And you’re not actively trying to improve your conversion rate alongside doing PPC? That’s insane.

Example alert: If you’re spending £10,000 a month on PPC and generating 1,000 sales, that’s £10 per sale. Imagine if your PPC landing page conversion rate increased by 50%. That’s 1,500 sales for the same price, and now that’s £6.66 per sale. Do you see where I’m going here?

Your PPC agency will be working their asses off to hit your acquisition target by continually optimising their campaign. You should also have a CRO agency working their asses off to improve conversion rate, especially on the PPC landing pages.


“Our conversion rate is higher this month than it was last month. We’re CRO geniuses, yay us.”

How do you know that increase is anything to do with the improvements you’ve been making to the website? It could be better quality traffic, seasonal shifts, a competitor going under or price discounting that’s caused the upward shift.

The only scientific way to know if a change has improved your conversion rate is to A/B test it against a control. Assessing your website’s conversion performance by comparing the average conversion rate from one month to the next won’t tell you if the changes are helping or hindering users.

You have no idea where you would have been if you hadn’t made those changes, so there’s no use celebrating when you don’t know why your conversion rate is higher this month than it was last month.

Ok, rant over. And breathe. I feel better already.

If you’d like to talk about CRO and how it can help you make more money, please call 0161 713 2434 or email [email protected].

Nina Mack

8th January 2017

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