Our guide to User Experience Testing and Conversion Rate Optimization.

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) should be at the top of each online marketing manager’s priority list. According to Adobe’s Digital Marketing Optimization Survey, the top 20% “best-in-class” companies adopt a methodical approach when it comes to CRO-projects. They make decisions which have a positive impact on conversion rates based on continuous tests. David Ogilvy, the “Father of Advertising” and the last century’s advertising icon, said: “Never stop testing, and your advertising will never stop improving.”

Adapted for user experience testing and conversion rate optimization, you could say: never stop testing, and your conversion rates will never stop improving. While conversion rates achieve an average of 2.6%, the top 20% of companies record rates of more than 4.5 %. What does Usability Testing have to do with CRO and how can tests with users help to increase conversion rates?

Conversion rates: The Star among Business KPIs

Inbound marketing spokesman and strategist Jeremy Abel sums it up: “A website without conversion rate optimization is like a car without wheels – it will take you nowhere.” Conversion rates often represent the most important KPI on the business dashboard of digital enterprises. They link corporate statistics to the website’s performance. Single pages can present different conversion rates, which relate to defined business objectives:

– Closing a sale
– Increasing newsletter sign-ups on a site
– Increasing demo requests or sign-ups for on-site product trials
– Software Downloads
– Content downloads

Conversion rate optimization usually leads to an increase in revenue. Therefore it makes sense to constantly improve them.

Web Analytic Tools: Good, but not good enough

Because the internet promotes a constantly changing environment, methods such as conversion rate optimization experience rapid development. The result: CRO is deployed at a different level in each enterprise. Many companies apply web analytic tools in order to detect flaws on websites. This way they are able to observe, measure and analyze which content prompts users to click, download, purchase or which pages they abandon. Companies are thus provided with important information regarding user behavior. However, web analytic data only shows “what” users do on a site.

Anyone wanting to constantly optimize conversion rates should also investigate the “why.” Web analytics data alone cannot answer the “why” behind user behavior. That doesn’t mean web analytic tools are insignificant, though. On the contrary: they indicate page flaws, which is an essential first step towards conversion rate optimization. However, the next step requires online-based user studies to identify the reasons behind certain user behavior. Only User Experience Testing can fill the missing data gaps.

User Experience Testing: The missing CRO-Element

The deployment of online-based usability tests enables researchers, designers and marketers to understand why users exit pages or fail to use certain features. During Voice-of-the-Customer-Surveys, users are prompted for feedback when browsing or after a particular action. For example, when they decide to cancel a purchase. Task-based user tests can also be deployed. Hundreds of visitors are prompted to solve test tasks on a website, mobile website or app. Subsequently, the participants provide feedback related to website navigation, design, ease of use, transparency and their level of satisfaction in regards to the web page.

The obtained information will help detect obstacles to conversion and then troubleshoot and optimize them. For example, companies that conclude users cancel their purchases because the checkout form is too extensive are able to focus their efforts.

Conclusion

User experience testing and conversion rate optimization don’t just impact web processes. Optimized CRO processes also exert a positive impact on the user experience and, consequently, on the brand perception which in turn promotes user engagement and purchases. Conversion rate optimization is not only essential for business success, but also for long-term strategic process. The continuous deployment of user studies, supported by the appropriate software, is the key to joining the ranks of “best-in-class” corporations. The combination of web analytics data with UX-Research-Insights enables companies to understand the “what” as well as the “why” of user behavior to deploy a customer requirement-based CRO strategy.