By Phillip Klien
Owner and Chief Innovation Officer, BTBuckets
When people learn that I work with conversion rate optimization (CRO) they immediately always ask me “what is the first (or most important) thing I should optimize on my web site“? Most people in the #measure industry probably get this a lot too. Now, you are probably asking yourself the same question and maybe a little curious about how I will respond. But before I answer this question, let me examine if this is really what we should be discussing.
The question actually makes me reflect back of 2004, when the web was changing into the “Web 2.0“. This term, coined by Tim O’Reilly, was used to describe how interoperability and user-centered design caused the www to evolve. I believe that we are going through a very similar transformation in web site testing & optimization nowadays. I am very impressed by the results gained by CRO today – but I think that we are only scratching the surface of how it should really be done.
I think that the tools, procedures and best practices in testing are currently focused on web page elements — when we should really focus on the user. Last year I spoke at the Conversion Conference NY about Cialdini and his “Six Weapons of Influence” (blog post here), and how analysts should include instinctive behavior responses in their optimization tool belt. This is just an example of how to change the site-centric optimization strategy to a user-centric one.
Is your strategy CRO 2.0 ready? In my point of view, three of the most important CRO 2.0 properties are:
- Segmentation. Every test hypothesis should be built and applied to a specific user segment – never to the population. Each user segment has specific expectations and desires, if I reached your home page based on a specific organic keyword, I better see the word itself (or something directly related to that), quickly.
- Social Profiles. The $100-billion Facebook is quickly approaching one billion users, and there is no reason why we should not learn and optimize more about each user’s tastes and habits through their social graph. Even simple personalizations based on age and gender can completely transform the user experience.
- Flows versus Landing Pages. We should look at the complete user flow instead of the specific landing page interaction. If a user has visited your site previously and interacted with specific content, when they do arrive through a campaign treat them differently than a user who’s first impression of your brand is being constructed just then.
If you are not using any of these, maybe you should re-consider your CRO strategy. Just like when the Web 2.0 surfaced, the time is right – the technologies and tendencies exist. It’s a matter of how we embrace them.
I would love to discuss how you are working your optimization strategy implementing these, or other user-centric aspects. I will be speaking at the Conversion Conference in Chicago about a case on how we are using CRO 2.0 to optimize a behemoth e-commerce web site. Please comment about what you think will define CRO 2.0 and how we can improve our efforts.
And finally, answering the question at the beginning of the blog of what’s the first thing I would optimize: come see me in Chicago and I’ll tell you personally 🙂
About the Author
Phillip has an active role with web analytics and adserving in Latin America. He is also co-founder of Predicta, an adserving and web analytics software/service provider in Brazil that was selected by Fast Company as one of the most innovative companies in 2012. Phillip is also a tutor for the award-winning UBC Award of Achievement in Web Analytics and helped develop measurement guidelines for the IAB. He is the founder of BTBuckets – a free on-site behavioral segmentation and targeting platform and SiteApps – app store for websites.
See Phillip Live!
Phillip will be sharing more techniques for increasing conversions using persuasive messaging at Conversion Conference 2012 on June 25th and 26th in Chicago. Join him in his session on “Channeling Cialdini: How Persuasive Messaging Increased Click to Cart by 40%.” See the full agenda and read more about this session. You can also follow Phillip on Twitter for some pre-conference networking.
Save $100 when you register with Phillip’s discount code CH12322. Take advantage of regular prices before they go up on June 22 – Register now!