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EconsultancyRedEye-Value-Difficulty-Conversion-Rate-Optimization-Methods-Nov2015Customer journey analysis is on track to become one of the most commonly used methods to improve conversion rates, and is now rated the most valuable method by users, according to the latest annual Conversion Rate Optimization Report [download page] from Econsultancy and RedEye. While fewer than half (46%) of company respondents (primarily from the UK) are currently using this method, some 47% plan to do so.

As such, 93% of respondents are either using or planning to use customer journey analysis. That puts expected use on par with A/B testing, which 58% are using and an additional 35% plan to use. It’s a similar story among agency respondents, who reported that A/B testing is the method most broadly used by clients, but with customer journey analysis closely behind when factoring in planned use.

This year, customer journey analysis emerges as the top-rated method, as 63% of company respondents rated it “highly valuable” for improving conversion rates, up from 52% last year. Last year’s leader, A/B testing, was rated “highly valuable” by 60% of company respondents, down slightly from last year’s 62%. Agencies, meanwhile, also rated customer journey analysis and A/B testing the top-2 methods that their clients find valuable.

Beyond customer journey analysis, company respondents this year are more enthusiastic about the effectiveness of usability testing, segmentation, website personalization and copy optimization, among others.

While there has been an increase in the perceived value of website personalization, this remains easily the most difficult method to implement, per company respondents. More than one-third (36%) rated it as “very difficult” to implement, far ahead of the next-most difficult methods, multivariate testing (21%) and segmentation (19%).

This year 44% of company respondents reported personalizing their website, less than half the proportion personalizing email (93%). Close to one-quarter (24%) have experienced a “major” uplift in conversion rates through their website since implementing personalization, with another two-thirds (68%) reporting a “minor” uplift. Search engine marketing – as with last year – is the channel that has seen the most uplift (37% major; 60% minor) from personalization for company respondents, though an equal proportion (37%) have seen a major uplift in offline conversion rates.

When it comes to website personalization, company respondents are most commonly personalizing their home page (51%) and landing pages (49%), with close to half also personalizing the customer account area (47%) and product recommendations (47%). Slightly fewer than one-third (32%) are personalizing specific journeys (e.g. “basket-checkout” or “booking journey”), per the results.

In order to personalize website content, company respondents are most likely to be found turning to the following data types:

  • Products browsed on the website (55%);
  • Web pages/categories visited (51%); and
  • Transactional (46%).

This year, there appears to have been a drop in the percentage of companies personalizing website content based on geography and demographics.

Other Findings:

  • 9 in 10 company respondents find conversion rate optimization (CRO) to be “crucial” (57%) or “important” (37%) to their overall digital marketing strategy.
  • Slightly more than 8 in 10 feel that CRO has become more important within their organization during the past 5 years.
  • Sales (73%) and sign-ups/registrations (70%) remain the most relevant types of conversions or actions to companies, though information requests/brochure requests (38%) and downloads (39%) have grown in relevance.
  • No company respondents are “very satisfied” with their conversion rate, but 26% are “quite satisfied.” However, this is outweighed by the 36% who are quite (25%) or very (11%) dissatisfied with their conversion rates.
  • Even so, almost three-quarters (73%) of company respondents believe their online conversion rates have improved over the past year, consistent with levels of improvement reported over the past couple of years.
  • The website (77%) is the most common area tested by company respondents, with roughly 6 in 10 testing landing pages (60%), email (59%) and paid search (58%).
  • Call-to-action buttons have become more popular website elements for testing in recent years, with 83% of company respondents testing them this year, up from 68% in 2010. Similarly, page layout (77%, up from 65%) and images (52%, from 42%) are being tested by more respondents, though fewer are testing navigation.
  • A/B testing is the most-used testing method for desktop websites, while it is rivaled by usability testing on mobile websites. Usability testing is the top testing method on tablets and mobile apps.

About the Data: The results are based on an online survey of close to 900 client-side and supply-side digital marketers and e-commerce professionals. Some 74% of company respondents and 58% of agency respondents are based in the UK. Retail (24%) was the most heavily represented industry.

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