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More than 6 in 10 companies (mostly based in Europe) using multivariate testing say it’s highly valuable for improving their conversion rates, and another 35% say it’s quite valuable, representing a 13% increase from last year, according to [download page] an October report from Econsultancy and RedEye. Even so, just 17% are currently using multivariate testing, and only 44% plan its use in the future. That may be due to the difficulty respondents ascribe to implementing this testing method. Indeed, 6 in 10 company respondents to the survey said it was either very (11%) or quite (55%) difficult to implement multivariate testing, giving it one of the highest perceived degrees of difficulty of any conversion rate improvement methods listed.

If multivariate testing is too difficult, A/B testing provides a solid alternative, according to the study. 54% of company respondents using this method reported it to be highly valuable for improving conversion rates, while another 44% said it was quite valuable. A/B testing is the most commonly used conversion rate optimization method, by 46% of respondents. That may be because in contrast to the 66% who find multivariate testing to be difficult, A/B testing is considered challenging by only about half of the respondents.

Usability testing also presents a potential opportunity for companies. Although only used by 30% of respondents, it is reported to be valuable by virtually all of those. And while 55% assign some difficult to this testing method, just 3% overall say it is very difficult.

Aside from A/B testing, the conversion rate optimization methods that are most commonly used by companies – copy optimization (42%), customer journey analysis (40%), and online surveys/customer feedback (40%) – have generally lower value ratings than multivariate and A/B testing.

Conversion Rates Generally Improving; Most Still Dissatisfied

Details from Econsultancy’s “Conversion Rate Optimization Rate Report 2012” indicate that about two-thirds of companies say their online conversion rates have improved over the past year. Still, only about 1 in 5 say they’re satisfied with those rates, while roughly twice that proportion say they’re dissatisfied.

The types of conversion rates where most companies have seen improvement have been in page views (72%), sign-ups/registrations (63%), and sales (60%). There appears to be a correlation between the number of conversion rate optimization methods used and the likelihood of having experienced an increase in sales. That is, those who have seen a large increase in sales over the past year report using an average of 4.3 methods to improve their conversion rates. Companies that experienced a small increase reported using an average of 3.7 methods, while those that didn’t see any change used 2.7 methods. Even so, it’s not a perfect correlation: companies that experienced a decrease in sales used an average of 3.2 methods, suggesting that the choice of methods may be as important as the number of methods used.

Other Findings:

  • Competitor benchmarking received the lowest assessment of value among those using this method. Just 14% rated it as highly valuable, although another 76% said it was quite valuable.
  • The proportion of companies reporting segmentation to be highly valuable rose by 8% from last year.
  • Companies find abandonment email and online surveys/customer feedback to be the easiest methods to implement.

About the Data: This is Econsultancy’s fourth Conversion Rate Optimization Report carried out in association with RedEye. There were almost 900 respondents to the research request, which took the form of an online survey in July and August 2012. Respondents included both client-side (in-house) organizations who want to improve their conversion rates (59%), and agencies, vendors or consultancies (supply-side) who are involved in trying to improve conversion rates for their clients (41%). This article covers responses from the client-side only.

77% of company respondents are based in the UK, and another 12% are in other parts of Europe.

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