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Conversion Rate Optimisation: Why it’s set to move out from programmatic’s shadow

Conversion Rate Optimisation: Why it’s set to move out from programmatic’s shadow Ivan Imhoff

Programmatic advertising is the technology of the moment, and not without good reason, with its ability to deliver hyper-targeted messages across multi-platforms.

It’s a key factor why most digital marketing spend currently goes on driving consumers to a website (80%). But this leaves just 20% to be spent on improving the user’s journey through the website. This split is wrong-headed. By holding consumer interest until purchase point, a process called Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO), brands could boost sales by 20%, 30% or even 60% per year. 

For this reason CRO should be one of the most talked about performance methods in the marketing industry, yet many marketers do not know what it is or understand its complexity.

To deliver an effective CRO strategy involves understanding: how people think, the cogitative mechanics they go through towards a purchase, how they interact with the site, their individual issues which need resolving, and finally, how visitors arrive at decisions. Only then is it possible to sculpt persuasive content, design conversations and test their validity.

This means marketers must see the world through the eyes of their consumers, which isn’t easy when you consider that your visitors know nothing or very little about your brand. This leads to marketers making assumptions, based on their in-depth knowledge of the brand, and what makes an attractive website. As a result, these assumptions are more than likely to be wrong.

This is why it’s critical for marketers to outsource their CRO to a business without pre-conceived opinions or a vested interest – one that employs a wide range of experts: from designers, user experience experts and specialist developers.

Then, once the team is in place, it’s really down to fundamental methodology, psychological science, heuristics and conversion skills. This is the process for investigation, research, and problem solving through strict experimental methods. This means delivering ongoing testing to make sure the site resonates with consumers. A good CRO team will test over and over using feedback from personalised messages, always looking for what works and what doesn’t. This information can then be used to create multiple journeys, each designed around a different behavioural pattern.

Improved technology means the tests and multiple journeys can be generated by CRO without changing the original website code. All the changes can take place within the user’s browser rather than at an architectural level meaning they are very cost efficient and quick to implement.

Testing also allows for the brand story to be tailored, to take an audience segment from the website’s homepage to the point of purchase. The path should be informed by the device in use, the design solutions product, the user behaviour and psychology, and the channel or campaign.

Remember with CRO consumers have one thing in common, they are seduced by convincing brand storylines. The website should always tell a provocative and persuasive story. The issue here is that businesses are often siloed places, leaving no one person to manage the integral user journey; resulting in gaps and lack of seamless messaging. This must be rectified.

Also, avoid causing anxiety by offering excessive choice on your site, which could cause consumers to log off. A site should present a small number of suitable alternatives and provide explanatory content that reflects the visitor’s knowledge level and resonate with their needs.
CRO is a vital function and it’s certainly not about gimmicky colours and button testing, it’s about gaining deeper understanding of your target customer through processes which are driven by sophisticated technology to bring persuasive frameworks to life, fast. Simply by understanding what consumers really want, can help them get to exactly where they need to be, in order to make a purchase.

With new technology allowing quick, cost effective testing and delivery of CRO, combined with marketers gaining a greater understanding of its value, CRO is surely poised to take top spot from programmatic in the digital marketing debate.

Ivan has extensive digital expertise and has spent many years delivering effective conversion rate optimisation (CRO) for blue-chip brands. Ivan began his marketing career at Hilton Worldwide. From there he went on to head up two online businesses...

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