A/B Testing Continues to Get the Nod For Conversion Rate Optimization

Ascend2-Effective-Difficult-Conversion-Rate-Optimization-Tactics-May2016Getting started with conversion rate optimization (CRO)? A/B testing should probably be the first port of call, according to [download page] a survey of 177 marketing influencers by Ascend2 and its Research Partners. Not only did these respondents point to A/B testing as the most effective CRO tactic, but also as the easiest to execute.

A similar study carried out last year among predominantly European company marketers – by Econsultancy and RedEye – likewise found that A/B testing was the second-most valuable CRO method (behind customer journey analysis) and the second-easiest to execute.

Following A/B testing in the Ascend2 survey is content personalization, considered effective by roughly half (51%) of the respondents. But content personalization is perceived to be far more difficult than A/B testing, with almost three times as many respondents (57% vs. 20%) indicating it to be among their most difficult tactics. Personalization – a hot topic – also emerged as the most difficult tactic to execute in the aforementioned Econsultancy and RedEye research, though in this case the research asked about website personalization.

One of the interesting results from the Ascend2 survey is the degree to which multivariate testing is not considered effective. Just 21% feel that it is, the lowest figure of the 7 tactics measured. This could have been a reflection of its perceived difficulty if not for the fact that the most difficult tactic, content personalization, scored much higher in perceived effectiveness.

There was a time when multivariate testing seemed to be the emphasis in conversion rate optimization. The same annual report from Econsultancy and RedEye – conducted in 2012 – found that multivariate testing was considered at the time to be the most valuable CRO tactic, even with its difficulty. Fast forward a few years and multivariate testing has dropped down the list, now being seen as a middling tactic for effectiveness in the latest Econsultancy research while retaining its relative difficulty.

Overall, virtually all Ascend2 survey respondents feel that CRO is at least somewhat important to their overall marketing success – and that includes more than 7 in 10 who believe it’s very important. Given that importance, it’s encouraging that roughly two-thirds feel that they’re at least somewhat successful compared to their competitors. In fact, 9 in 10 feel that their CRO effectiveness is improving, though mostly those increases are marginal rather than significant.

It appears as though getting a good strategy in order will help bump those improvements up to significant ones: the lack of an effective strategy was by far the most-cited barrier to CRO success.

About the Data: The Ascend2 data is based on a survey fielded in early May among 177 marketing influencers. Roughly half are from companies with at least 50 employees, and 57% count their primary marketing channel as B2B.