CRO Testing Mistakes To Avoid

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Do you want your website to convert more traffic into leads, sales, and customers?

In today’s world, online traffic is highly inconsistent. If you’re unable to get visitors to enter your conversion funnel in the first go, the chances of them coming back and performing the desired action are quite low.

This is nothing but an opportunity lost for your business.

The best way to improve your chances and get more conversions is by running effective conversion rate optimization campaigns. To do that, carrying out a CRO test is necessary for marketers to implement a reasonable digital marketing plan for business.

Keep reading this post to the end to know how to launch CRO tests.

What is Conversion Rate Optimization?

To start with, let s say the basic aspect of this: conversion.

Conversion is simply an action that you like someone to take when they are on your website. This action could be filling out a form, buying a product, or subscribing to

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is the process of increasing the number of conversions, from visitors to customers, on your website, or online channels. Conversions are recorded when new website visitors turn into subscribers, customers, click on your ads or fill out forms/surveys. Conversion rate optimization is a process through which a company raises its web traffic, product/service sales, newsletter opens, etc. Overall it is about eliciting some interaction from website visitors or target audience.

Benefits of Conversion Rate Optimization: Why is it Important?

CRO enables you to optimize your website’s functionality while helping you understand the whys and hows of visitor behavior. The fact is, your site never reaches its maximum potential until it’s rigorously experimented with. Broadly the benefits of a CRO program can be categorized into two:

Improving Marketing ROI

A well-structured and well-thought-out CRO program based on strong analysis can go a long way in improving return on almost all your marketing activities by:

A. Improving the quality/speed of experiments run on your website: CRO allows you to analyze the performance of your site by running tests and look for the best possible variations which promise conversions. By experimenting with different elements on your landing pages, you can not only check the areas which are giving the best results but also use the gathered data as a fundamental benchmark for your next round of tests/experimentations.

B. Better revenue with the same traffic/incremental business returns: One of the prime benefits of running a CRO campaign is that every change you implement on your site, which eventually increases your conversions, is an incremental win for your business.

For instance, an online eCommerce company planning to enhance its customer experience in a way that it makes purchasing products easy and convenient for its customers can immensely benefit from CRO. How?

By running an A/B test, if it’s able to enhance its conversion rate even by 3%, it means that it’s getting 3% extra revenue day in and day out. Meanwhile, if it has a high volume of sales, 3% improvement can effectively translate its sales into hundreds and thousands of extra dollars for its business

Enhancing UX

Benefits of a CRO program spread well across just marketing ROI to give an improved user experience across all lifecycle stages of a visitor whether they’re a first time visitor or they’re a customer through:

A. Personalizing Experience for Your Site Visitors: In today’s time, visitors are too impatient. Unless you’re offering them a site that’s easy to navigate with fewer clicks and makes the entire process an easy breeze, they won’t stick around and will eventually look for alternative options. By helping personalize sections of your site based on the visitors’ geography, device, local time, or past browsing history, you can make the website that much more relevant to them.

B. Better Insights Into Your Visitor Behavior: The CRO process begins with understanding customer behavior through tools like heatmaps and clickmaps. Such tools tell you which site sections visitors spend more time on. Other CRO tools, such as user session recordings and session replays, help understand their overall experience. They shed light on the exact journey visitors took to accomplish a set goal on your website and even highlight the friction areas that caused them to drop off and abandon your site. Meanwhile, form analytics and website surveys also help understand a visitor’s overall site-wide experience. Such qualitative data is enough to create a good UX, further pave the way for conversions.

Who is Conversion Rate Optimization Useful For?

Conversion rate optimization is beneficial for all types and sizes of businesses irrespective of their industries. Here are some interesting business use cases defining the pervasive nature of conversion rate optimization.

Conversion Rate Optimization for B2B/SaaS Companies

Lead generation is the initiation of grabbing the interest of your customers by engaging them on your site, gathering their information through various means (forms, sign-ups, surveys, etc.), and contacting them to convert them into loyal, recurring customers. As a B2B/SaaS business, it becomes your duty to help your customers find what they’re looking for, capture their interest, and support their buying decision.

Conversion Rate Optimization for eCommerce Companies

Shopping cart abandonment serves as one of the major challenges to the eCommerce companies, costing billions in sales revenue generation every year. Hence, building a user-friendly eCommerce site with a great design, exclusive products, and nominal shipping cost that not only solves cart abandonment problem but addresses other drop-off issues such as complex payment process, lack of basic information, and so forth, is crucial.

Common reasons why people leave a site are as follows:

  • Distractions: Too many pop-ups or forms to fill can distract your customers.
  • Difficulty of checkout: The site may not offer a friendly check-out option, which may complicate the purchasing efforts of first-time users.
  • Hidden costs: Most visitors get intimidated by hidden costs such as additional shipping charges, other taxes, and more.

Running a CRO campaign helps to identify and address such bottleneck issues and significantly contribute to improving the site’s conversion rate.

Conversion Rate Optimization for Media/Publishing Houses

For businesses like media agencies and publishing houses, reaching a larger audience base and keeping them engaged on their platform is crucial for their growth. Here, CRO can help them with this as well as test various site elements such as email sign-ups, social sharing icons, recommended content, and other promotional options to capture more attention.

Conversion Rate Optimization for OTAs or Travel Agencies

Compared to other industries, travel companies usually face greater difficulties in getting conversions. Consumers in the category tend to take longer than usual to decide whether or not to make a purchase. They browse through various sites, compare deals, interact with their peers, and only then take a call. Further, complex booking behavior also adds to the industry’s challenge. Running a CRO campaign can effectively help travel companies analyze their potentials and drawbacks and enhance conversions.

Conversion Rate Optimization for Agencies

Talking about various sectors that have benefited from CRO, agencies like digital marketing, web development, and dedicated CRO consultancies are no exception. Running conversion rate optimization campaigns for their own websites or their clients can significantly add to their conversions and uplift revenue, which can lead to better ROI for their work and help in retaining clients and giving an overall good experience for their business.

Digital marketing agencies engaged in offering multiple services to their clients, such as social media promotion, web content development, brand building, and so forth, can pitch CRO services to their clients as a way to get more out of their existing traffic. This can not only help them pitch more clients by offering an additional service besides their usual services but also enhance their overall business impact.

CRO Test

Conversion Rate Optimization Test refers to the different types of testing methodologies used in the CRO to identify the best possible version of a certain e-commerce site. The best possible version of an e-commerce site is the one that brings in the most valuable traffic. This traffic can later be converted into leads generated from the e-commerce website. The process of improving this conversion rate is called conversion rate optimization. Both of these definitions are interlinked with each other.

There are two different types of CRO tests that are most commonly used by businesses—the Multivariate testing and A/B testing.

Multivariate testing

This is a conversion rate optimization test that modifies several different variables in order to test a certain hypothesis. While using the different variables, the Multivariate test determines the best combination out of the ones used. The total number of variations tested is always a product of the number of variations in element A and a number of variations in element B.

A/B Testing

Also commonly referred to as split testing, this CRO test compares two separate versions of the same website in order to find out the version that brings the most qualified leads. Basically, both versions are shown to the users. It is then statistically analyzed which versions brought in the most converted leads. Another testing technique called the A/A technique is also used which helps in determining the natural variability in similar user experience.

Split testing

Split testing, or otherwise known as split URL testing is used when:

  • Design requires heavy modifications against its original version that creating a new, separate page with an altogether different URL is easier.
  • Back-end changes are needed, such as testing a pricing page that is linked to multiple tables at the back end.
  • To test pages that already exist on different URLs.

Why Is It Important?

The reason why CRO tests are important is that they allow marketers to test the best possible alternative that has the potential of bringing in the highest possible conversion rate. Testing this allows businesses to save quite a bit of money that can potentially be lost if they implement a certain method that is not as effective.

9 Mistakes to Avoid When Running a CRO Campaign

Indeed, CRO is one of the best practices to optimize your site and increase conversions. Most individuals/companies jumping into the pool are unaware of CRO’s lengths and breadths and end up wasting a lot of time, money and efforts in the process. Drafting a fool-proof strategy and effectively following it is the key to CRO.

Here are the top four mistakes every CRO beginner must avoid:

Mistake #1: Making Changes Based on Opinion Than Statistical Data

Just because your site’s design looks cleaner, modish, and features better content than its previous version doesn’t mean it will churn out better results. At the same time, getting inspired from other businesses who ran a similar A/B test as yours on their websites and saw an uplift in their conversions, doesn’t really mean that you’ll see the same results on your site as well. This is because there’s no one-size-fits-all conversion optimization strategy. What may work for one business will not necessarily work for the other as well.

Resist the urge. Be patient. If you do intend to make changes or get inspired by A/B tests run other businesses, make sure it’s backed by a reasonable hypothesis that assures that your experiment will perform better.

A successful marketer isn’t the one who predicts which test will win basis opinion or inspiration, instead the one who doesn’t let biasness win over statistical data.

Mistake #2: Writing Copy That Doesn’t Match Your Business Goals

Carefully drafted and SEO optimized content can do wonders. But, if it’s distorted and doesn’t match your business’s goals, it becomes useless. Build unique content that adds value to your site.

  1. Focus on your brand’s USP.
  2. Use simple language. Let it be crisp, precise, and to-the-point.
  3. Write for scanners, not for readers.
  4. Bullet points and ordered lists work better.
  5. Write catchy headlines.
  6. Add keywords that rank better.

Mistake #3: Going for Small Tests Before Big Ones

When it comes to CRO, most people believe that running small tests is better than big ones. The fact is, small tests will only have a minor impact on conversion rate. Bigger tests with significant chances, wherein more than two elements are optimized will leave a lasting, noticeable impact off the table. These changes may include:

  1. Redesigning the page above the fold
  2. Redesigning the entire home page
  3. Redesigning the navigation menu
  4. Moving important elements to improve visibility
  5. Changing headlines, which is catchier and more impactful than before.

Psychographic segmentation is a crucial element here. It can significantly help to understand the needs and demands of your potential clients and make necessary changes to lure them to enter your conversion funnel.

Mistake #4: Running Too Many Tests and Pop-Ups at the Same Time on the Same Page

Running multiple tests at the same time can significantly affect the analysis accuracy of each test. Every new element experimented may influence the test results others. Furthermore, running numerous pop-ups and site designs in the same user session disrupts their overall experience. In fact, it’s quite possible that such pop-ups may annoy and confuse users, making them abandon the site, and never come back.

Running multiple tests with altered variable, known as the multivariate test, usually works for high-traffic sites. Yet, not necessarily promising excellent results. Go step by step. Analyze your results; make the necessary changes; observe; then run another test.

Mistake #5: Not Paying Much Attention to Basic Design Elements

A. Giving More Importance to Automatic Image Sliders

For most marketers, adding automatic image sliders on their homepage may be one of the best ways to showcase what’s new and/or upcoming on your website, but almost all conversion experts suggest that these sliders can significantly reduce your conversion rate.

Image carousels do not allow users to explore the site at their own pace. Instead, they hinder a visitor’s experience and create banner blindness. Popular conversion experts, like Peep Laja strongly recommend that businesses must give a deep thought to adding automatic image sliders.[4] Here are some reasons to back this theory:

  1. The human eye strongly reacts to movements. If images scroll faster than the human eye can see or read, it will definitely miss out on the important stuff.
  2. Too many messages mean no message at all. Instead, focusing on adding the primary message on your banner images and the required action is always more effective.

Therefore, it is always recommended to replace automatic sliders either with touch carousels or static ones to get more engagement and conversions. However, it’s always recommended to run an A/B test here to see what works best for your business. For a reason that what did not work for a company may work wonders for your business.

B. Using Cheesy Stock Photos

Practically, there’s nothing right about using them on your website except their quality. They may give your web page a good, heavy look, but they significantly reduce the credibility of your brand. Remember that the purpose of a website is not to look pretty, but to achieve certain objectives. And, of course, people like to deal with humans, not websites. A case study by Market Experiments also demonstrates the same. A financial investment consultation service providing company improved their signups by 35%[5] simply by replacing a cheesy stock photo on their homepage with a picture of their Founder.

C. Not Giving Much Weightage to Videos

Show your product in action. Make instructional videos if you offer something complicated. Believe it or not, but adding videos pays off well. And, there are a plethora of businesses that have actually benefited a lot from this very addition.

Dr.Muscle is one such example to quote here. The website integrated a video on their sales page, which significantly increased the number of visitors who clicked to their price/guarantee page, by 46.15%.

Incorporating videos on your website and other connected platforms can help you convince your users better, and, hence, boost conversions. Furthermore, video marketing also helps you educate your visitors about your product(s) or service(s), without forcing them to go through tons of text.

However, as a marketer, you must ensure that your videos contain a clear call-to-action (CTA). With an absence of CTA, your visitors won’t know what step to take next. In fact, when your visitors are already enjoying your video, they’ll be happy to follow your CTA, and possibly convert into a customer.

Mistake #6: Undermining the Importance of Call-to-Action Buttons

As stated above, call-to-action buttons make for one of the most important page elements which persuade your website visitors take a desired action and start the conversion process. But often marketers do not give weightage to CTAs and lose out on a lot of potential conversions. Below mentioned are some mistakes which you, as a marketer or website designer, must avoid.

A. Using the wrong color combinations

The internet is flooded with case studies which suggest that one particular color, for instance, red, converts better than another, say green and so on. But this doesn’t stand true in all cases. Rather, it’s all about which color pops up better on the background of your banner or web page. RIPT Apparel, a Chicago based online retail shop, increased their conversion rate by 6.3% simply by changing their CTA color from black to green. In addition to this, many optimizers also suggest that using a CTA color that hasn’t been used anywhere on your web page can also help draw the necessary attention.

B. Not Using Power Words in Call-to-action Button Text

Instead of saying something like, ‘Submit’ or ‘Sign-up,’ use power words to grab the attention of your users. Some popular CTA text copies are as follows:

  1. Save Your Seat. Book Now!
  2. Are You In? Let’s Get Started!
  3. Yes! Let’s Start My Free Trial.
  4. Grab Your Free Copy!
  5. Insights Delivered Daily to your Inbox!
  6. Where Should We Send Your Free Copy?
  7. Add this Summer Dress to Your Wardrobe!

ADT, a Tyco International company that provides safety solutions for commercial and properties corrected its CTA copy – from ‘Book a Free Survey’ to ‘Get a Free Quote’ – and saw a 60% increase in their conversion rate.

C. Placement of CTA Buttons

Besides color and text, the placement of your CTA button also plays an important role in getting more conversions. While some marketers emphasize on placing your CTA buttons in the first fold of your web page to make them prominently visible, many others argue that placing the same below the fold can yield equally good results. The reason being, it all depends upon how motivated your prospect is to click on your CTA button. How desirable do they find your offering that they’re compelled to click on your CTA wherever it’s placed. The more exclusive your offerings are, the more the chances of your prospect clicking on your CTA button irrespective of your placement on the web page.

D. A CTA Text Link or a CTA Button? Which One’s better

Text links are often lost amid the rest of the text, making them difficult to spot on the web page. Meanwhile, button CTAs are more prominently visible to the eyes and increase the chances of more clicks. Here’s an example to showcase the difference.

Mistake #7: Not Creating a Sense of Urgency

Not many marketers realize that creating a sense of urgency can actually increase conversions manifold. When you offer your visitors a limited-time incentive and give them a good reason to believe why they should bother to take the desired action now rather than later, they will convert. And, a plethora of companies have actually benefited from this – adopting the very ‘Principles of Persuasion.’

Mistake #8: Not Establishing Business Trustworthiness Upfront

No matter how persuasive your call to action is or how simple your website is, if you do not give the impression of trustworthiness to your visitors or give them confidence in your website, you are not very likely to improve your website’s conversion rate. Your visitors need to know that you are not a fly-by-night operation and you are here to remain. There are a plethora of ways to increase visitor confidence in your website and products. These are as follows:

  • Assure your visitors that you value their privacy and that you have a secured site. Add HackerSafe (or similar) badges that showcase that your business takes website security seriously.
  • Add client testimonials. These aren’t just pieces of content praising your business offerings, they’re, in fact, an ideal means to establish your brand’s credibility amid website visitors. They can also do a lot of selling for you.
  • Display your privacy policy wherever you ask for personal information from the visitor.

Mistake #9: Complicating Conversion Funnels

The conversion funnel is a set of pages (like the checkout process or registration form) that leads to your conversion goal (like a product purchase or subscription). Most web analytics tools (including some free ones) can be configured to allow you to visualize where your visitors are leaking from your conversion funnel. You may be surprised to know that most visitors abandon at Step 2 of your conversion funnel because your entire process is too complicated for them to complete. A complicated conversion funnel must be simplified in order to push the traffic through to the final conversion page. Below mentioned are some tips and tricks to simplify your funnel and increase conversions:

  • Remove all extraneous links from pages within the conversion funnel
  • Remove all unnecessary steps from the conversion funnel
  • Don’t put too much focus on up-selling other offers
  • Only ask for information that is completely necessary for completing the conversion process. Visitors are hesitant to reveal their information if it unjustified
  • In the case of shopping carts, clearly let the visitor know about postage and packaging costs, taxes, and your returns policy as early in the process as possible
  • And make sure that you remind your visitors what they’ve added to their cart by placing a link back to the product/service

Even though most marketers believe that using conventional conversion rate optimization strategies still work wonders for their businesses, adopting new and enhanced techniques such as website personalization is the need of the hour. And, a report published by Exact Target also mentions that only 29% of marketers are investing in website personalization.

Whether you have an eCommerce store, a SaaS website, or just a blog, offering personalized content to your visitors will improve the user experience and, hence, the conversions. Businesses offering website personalization report a 14% uplift in their sales.

In order to offer website personalization effectively, you must be aware of all the types of users that visit your website. For instance, the Hubspot Blog offers content specifically catered to three major segments of its visitors: marketers, sales professionals, and agencies.

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