It’s the strangest thing.
Why, despite compelling evidence that doing conversion rate optimization has a huge payoff, do companies still hesitate putting their marketing dollars into it? The results of the Adobe 2013 Digital Marketing Optimization Survey, for instance, point to a direct relationship between conversion rates and investment, with those investing more in optimization naturally enjoying better conversion rates. Considering the staggering growth of online business (ecommerce reached $289 billion in 2012 according to comScore), a small conversion lift could translate to millions in revenue increase for companies with a web presence.
You’ve got to be nuts to pass up on that, right?
So it’s a really big mystery that, according to the same survey, companies are allocating only five percent (or even less) of their marketing budgets to website optimization. What’s even more baffling is the survey finding that “more companies are now in the lowest tier of spending” when it comes to optimization activities. While optimization budgets may not necessarily be on the decline, these have also been kept stagnant, in the process getting dwarfed by the massive growth of annual total marketing budgets.
The plot only thickens when you realize that the walls that used to stand between marketers and website optimization have been crumbling down. As Conversion Conference chair Tim Ash argues, the common excuses used by marketers against doing conversion rate optimization are now falling flat in the face of low cost tools and cheaper technology, abundance of information, and the clear-cut need for companies to have an in-depth knowledge of their web users, prospects, and visitors in order to build a competitive advantage.
Flight or fight?
Could it be that marketers, business owners, and even HiPPOs aren’t that much different from the rest of web users when it comes to decision making? That is, the main reason there isn’t enough organizational buy-in for CRO despite the business case for it is the highly irrational manner by which people ultimately make buying decisions. Could it really boil down to our fear of the unknown and pure and simple hesitation to explore an unfamiliar terrain? If not, then why else would you (or your Boss) not jump on a chance to eat your competitors’ lunch?
It’s sad when you realize that majority of marketers are still doing what they’ve been doing for years: spending most of their resources on advertising, but leaving a meager portion to testing and measuring for conversions. While you’re still debating the merits of risking a percentage of your marketing budget on CRO, however, a few “elite” marketers (like those working for ecommerce behemoth Amazon) have been honing the ability of their websites to lure attract, engage, and guide customers all the way to the end of sales/conversion funnel.
In fact, they’ve been doing this for years.
Instead of being fearful of failure, these marketers embrace testing and conversion rate optimization as a way to discover weaknesses in their digital marketing campaigns, and as a crucial aspect of improving the delivery of online experiences.
Now, which one will it be for you? Will you stay in your comfort zone and let your competitors aggressively chip away whatever edge you have right now … Or will you be among the few ones who boldly put up a fight and conquer their fears by learning the knowledge and skills of website conversion rate optimization?