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2015 CRO report key findingsThe 2015 CRO Report by eConsultancy is essential reading for anyone connected to the growing field of A/B testing and CRO. Now in its 7th year, this acclaimed industry report created in association with RedEye has had over 6,000 UK businesses participate.

While the report revealed some very encouraging signs of conversion rate optimization maturity in the UK market, unfortunately it’s not all good news. There are still many challenges and barriers preventing greater success, and it’s not just the technology anymore. CRO certainly isn’t as simple or easy as many online businesses believe it is!

Before we dive into revealing the biggest challenges from this year’s CRO report and some kick start tips for overcoming them, let’s give some perspective by summarising the key findings.

The 2015 CRO Report Major Findings

  • Conversion rates improved for 70% of the online businesses who responded. This is great news, however…
  • Only 27% were satisfied with their CRO results. Even though their conversion rates have improved, businesses realise the potential and want even more success.
  • People and process are now the biggest barrier and challenge—not tools and technology. This is clearly one of the major reasons behind the reported poor CRO satisfaction levels.
  • Customer journey analysis is now the most valuable CRO method, with A/B testing now dropping to 2nd for the first time since the report started.

  • Website personalisation is still the most difficult CRO method to implement, but remains very popular with 94% of respondents stating it was valuable.
  • 71% of respondents are now doing 2 or more tests per month. An improvement over previous years, and is an encouraging sign that businesses have put in processes to increase testing velocity.
  • Using a structured CRO approach is now 50% more common than it was in 2009. Building a high-impact CRO process and culture are key aspects of this encouraging finding.
  • Nearly 50% of respondents have 2 or more dedicated CRO roles. While this number has improved over the years, growing a CRO team remains one of the biggest barriers to success.
  • Having at least 1 dedicated CRO person increases conversion rates. Businesses with at least one dedicated CRO person are 16-20% more likely to see improvements in conversion rates.

The Top Challenges from the Report and Ways to Overcome Them

While businesses are improving their conversion rates, they are also demanding even better CRO results. One of the biggest factors limiting their success is the minefield of operational barriers. Here are this year’s most common challenges and how they compared to last year:

To help you break down some of the more common and often frustrating barriers highlighted on the chart, here are some kick-start tips to help springboard your business to greater CRO success in 2016.

Tips to Improve Your CRO Strategy in 2016

Recruit a bigger CRO team by attracting with incentives—don’t hire on the cheap

The biggest internal barrier to success is finding experienced people to fill CRO roles – this can be very difficult since CRO is still in its infancy in comparison to markets like SEO and web analytics.

To help your business or agency attract new CRO people you need to offer a competitive salary. It’s essential to understand the impact their expertise will have on the bottom line of your business.

Offer incentives when employees hit a target conversion rate result, or a certain percentage of the uplift in revenue, which is a good option if your business has limited budget for internal resources.

You can also try to train and ‘convert’ one of your Web Analysts into a CRO role—this often will work well because they have many of the skills needed to become a CRO expert (as was the case with me).

Use a combination of tools that reduce integration issues

The second most-cited barrier, ‘poor integration between systems’ is a new one. Problems between A/B testing tools and CMS platforms or web analytics tools are some of the most prevalent and frustrating integration issues.

To help eliminate this, first you should use a testing platform that integrates most seamlessly with other providers. According to the recent Forrester A/B testing tools report, Optimizely has the best integration satisfaction rating, considerably higher than other testing tools.

‘Borrow’ budget from other departments to increase CRO budget

The third biggest barrier to CRO success is lack of budget. To increase the budget for CRO, consider ‘borrowing’ or shifting a small percentage away from acquisition departments like SEO or PPC and towards CRO. if you are spending money to bring the visitor to your site, but not spending money to convert that visitor into a customer, you are wasting money.  Also mention the shocking statistic from eConsultancy a few years ago that found for every $92 spent on acquisition only $1 is spent on converting visitors.

To help you convince your boss and senior management on increasing the CRO budget, it’s also essential to show potential impact suggested test ideas have on ROI, not just on conversion rate.

Build a CRO culture and structure to improve success

Businesses who adopt a structured CRO approach and structure are much more likely to see better CRO results. There are variety of ways to do this.

First of all, it’s vital to internally educate your teams on the benefits of CRO and the impact on revenue, particularly in departments where the HiPPO’s (Highest Paid Person in the Organisation) opinion often wins. Quarterly review sessions are ideal for education. In addition, set up regular testing update emails with latest results and news to build a buzz.

Finding an executive level CRO sponsor to help evangelize CRO and break down barriers will also be highly valuable – ideally someone with a keen interest in optimisation and A/B testing.  This will also help push CRO culture from the top down instead of just pushing from the bottom up.

Start with simpler website personalisation efforts first

Website personalisation was easily the most difficult CRO method to implement, yet 94% of respondents said it was valuable.

To help you see faster results from website personalisation, start with the basics first instead of going for difficult 1-1 personalisation and combining multi data sources together for segments. An effective way to start is using homepage affinity targeted tests to show more relevant content based on visitor’s previous activity.

Here is a great example of this simple success for a client of RedEye, Haven Holidays, who personalized their homepage carousel and saw a 14% increase in revenue:

Now over to you – which challenges do you most often have?

Which of these are most prominent for your online businesses? And which ways have worked best for you to overcome them? Please comment below to start a great discussion.

Don’t forget to check out the full 2015 CRO Report to see more revealing findings and insights.

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