Conversion Optimization: Doing It Right

Post by Jon Shuster, Group Account Director

During last month’s Performics Next20 conference, we provided an overview of Conversion Optimization (CO) and how its current 65% adoption rate suggests the discipline is still in its infancy. We also touched on personalization as an evolutionary next step for CO and how a recent study revealed that nearly half of companies aren’t doing website personalization. While these statistics imply a competitive advantage among companies that dedicate resources to these endeavors, it is easy to take for granted that these companies are executing on either effectively.

In our team’s experience working with clients and other agencies that practice CO, it has become painfully obvious that most do not operate with a data-driven methodology or holistic approach to testing. Aesthetically-driven test concepts presented to all site traffic typically ignore analytically sound performance pain points, the diversity of visitor intent signals, and device-based behavioral considerations that should dictate test strategy and design. We’ve also seen more than our share of “high velocity” testing operations that believe 70% confidence is sufficient to call a winner and that two days of testing is sufficient to draw conclusions. Perhaps some view false positives as positives nonetheless.

As renowned UX guru and “Optimiser in Chief”, Craig Sullivan recently said, “it’s incredibly hard to do this successfully.” But that doesn’t mean you don’t try your best to get it right.

Similarly, the rush among marketers to deploy any level of personalization just to say you’ve done it can be disastrous if not done properly – particularly in light of Facebook’s recent revelations and the debut of GDPR. And while we’ve dabbled in personalization to varying degrees over the years and are currently working on executing personalized landing experiences at scale alongside display campaigns as part of a more advanced Dynamic Content Optimization (DCO) initiative, we’ve always felt there’s a fine line between impactful and creepy – that we shouldn’t be asking ourselves what data CAN we use, but what data SHOULD we use? And what data is it okay to ask for?

Recent research has shown that the top two forms of personal details US Internet users are willing to share in exchange for a more personalized shopping experience are full name and email address. And it’s no surprise that they’re far less likely to share credit card details and that they’d prefer to opt in before receiving any personalized offers. Interestingly, a recent eMarketer article featuring a Boston Retail Partners study suggests that while a majority of marketers are providing incentives for site visitors to share their personal information, their execution is lacking. As the graph below indicates, “More Personalized Service” ranks highest among these incentives, followed by “Product Incentives” and “Event Information”.

As we continue to work with our Publicis Media brethren to improve performance for our clients by leveraging both experience and innovation, we should of course be up on the latest trends as we strive for exceptional results year after year. But we should never lose sight of the importance of not just doing it – but doing it right. And that will always set us apart from the competition.

For more information on Conversion Optimization, contact Performics today.

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