What is CRO? A guide to CRO and how it’s used in digital marketing

CRO in digital marketing is an acronym for conversion rate optimisation. This is a widely misunderstood term.

What is CRO

Many people wrongly assume CRO means using tricks and ‘hacks’ to get people to buy more. So what is CRO?

While CRO stands for conversion rate optimisation, people tend to call it conversion optimisation (without the rate) when it’s spelled out in full. This is because conversion rate is a percentage of the overall website traffic and so shifts in traffic levels and composition can impact conversion rate negatively whilst the business is still better off because it made more sales overall. It’s therefore the overall number of conversions or total revenue we’re really interested in improving.

What is CRO and the CRO process

CRO is an ongoing process where people try to improve specific elements of a website in order to increase the percentage of visitors who convert. This could mean purchase online or fill in an online form but a website conversion can be anything the website owner determines including signing up for an email newsletter or calling a phone number.   

The CRO process includes various techniques which are designed to ensure optimisers are solving real problems website visitors are having by undertaking research and analysis to understand the way visitors are currently behaving on the website and where there are opportunities to improve the experience people have making the website more persuasive. This might include user testing, web analytics analysis, user research such as surveys and polls.

CRO tricks and tactics

CRO is not a list of tricks and tactics which are executed because they are deemed to ‘always work’. Websites are contextual so a change which increases revenue for one website may have no impact on another. Most CRO programmes include in-depth research and analysis to inform changes which are split tested in order to understand the impact of the proposed change.   

CRO is not a list of tricks designed to dupe website visitors into purchasing something they don’t want or sign up for a service they don’t need. It should seek to understand website visitors and changes should be designed to help visitors focus, find what they need, get their questions answered, and convert with minimal friction so they leave the website feeling satisfied.  

CRO for different sectors

What is CRO in the context of ecommerce? CRO for online retailers is focused on revenue through increased online sales and increased average order value. CRO often has a direct impact on profitability for online retailers so it’s a sector which has embraced the CRO process and can clearly demonstrate a return when investing in CRO teams.

What is CRO in the context of financial services? CRO for financial services businesses is a little more complex because in some cases, the actual sale happens offline once a call has been made, circumstances have been considered or advice has been given. This means the online conversion we’re optimising is a form completion or a call and the return on investment is harder to track because the online conversion in Google Analytics isn’t then connected to the sale which might happen a few weeks or months later.

If you’re ready to increase conversions on your website, get in touch and get a free conversion strategy session with a senior optimiser. Call 0161 713 2434 and quote the code CM05.

Nina Mack

2nd April 2019

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