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Conversion Rate Optimization Software 2020: Complete Guide

What is Conversion Rate Optimization?

Conversion rate optimization, or CRO as it is commonly known in the marketing lexicon, is the systematic process of getting website visitors to complete the desired business goal.

This is of utmost importance to any business. All websites are built, ultimately, to serve the purpose of converting customers. This is applicable irrespective of the nature of business. So, you could be a B2B website where generating leads is of importance, or you could be a B2C e-commerce website where the ultimate goal is to convert the website visitor to buying online. Conversion is no less relevant if you are in the business of content marketing where you want to attract quality traffic to the site, or if you want subscriptions or sign-ups for a newsletter or blog.

As well as the differences in the purpose of CRO exercises between B2B and B2C applications as described above, it would be prudent, too, to moderate expectations in terms of turnaround time to yield results, based on the nature of your business. You are likely to see quicker conversion rate improvements in B2C sites. B2B typically tends to have longer cycle times, could have more decision-makers, and may make measurement and attribution of CRO efforts more difficult.

All businesses should define what their “Macro Goals” are with respect to the website under consideration, and then, if applicable, evolve a set of “Micro Goals”. For example, for an e-commerce firm, the macro goal is always about effecting online transactions, but micro-goals could be signup, and add to cart, increased time spent on the page, and so on.

Conversion Rate Optimization typically requires buy-in from various stakeholders and will be covered in more detail in the section on “Adoption & Implementation” challenges. Alignment on the key business goals builds a clear view of what is called the conversion funnel – the set of online actions that prospective customers are expected to go through in their journey to final conversion. Having achieved that, the different teams can plan and tackle the different aspects of the conversion funnel. Of course, we shall consider it a given that various marketing channels, paid or unpaid (usually paid if the website is still relatively new) are already bringing in a significant amount of traffic. It would not make sense to go down the route of trying to do CRO if the marketing channels are not bringing in much traffic in the first place.

Learn and adapt from the CRO best practices that are already being deployed in your industry rather than reinventing the wheel. This will give you a firm sense of the task ahead and give you vital competitive intelligence and benchmarking. For example, in a typical e-commerce scenario, 2-3% is considered a very good conversion rate.

What are CRO Software?

CRO depends on a wide variety of tools being used in each step, with a good CRO platform then integrating all this in a seamless and actionable manner. A lot of CRO is about data, which is generated copiously by these tools. The key is to be able to define where you will optimize, what you will optimize for, and who you are optimizing for. The CRO software should allow you to do the following tasks, irrespective of the actual underlying tools powering it.

Research

Research in CRO typically encompasses a wide variety of quantitative and qualitative methods.

Quantitative methods

It would always be best to start here if your asset is a website that deals with large amounts of traffic. An e-commerce website is a good example of this. It helps you narrow down the areas you should focus on. It may reveal problems with certain pages, certain kinds of digital marketing channels, etc. The most popular tools for this include Google Analytics, Mixpanel, Adobe Analytics, Kissmetrics, among others.

Qualitative methods

You start with qualitative methods if your audience size is smaller, but each individual is very valuable. High-value B2B transactions are a good example of this. You could pursue a wide range of tasks, from online surveys to triggered feedback to even chatbots to do the same. Of course, there is also the tried and tested, invaluable method of visiting and meeting your customer face-to-face.

What are CRO Software?

Qualitative and quantitative approaches are not mutually exclusive. You will typically need both to frame and test hypotheses and implement changes.

Form Hypothesis

This is a key step but the role of software in it is limited.

Create Experiments

Popular experiments include the creation of forms, custom landing pages, etc. The CRO software allows you to build this quickly without going into full development cycles

Run Experiments

The most popular methodology of CRO continues to be A/B testing. A/B testing involves comparing the conversion results between the first version of the design (A), called the “control”, and a trial version of the same design (B), called the “variation”. A/B testing usually covers these basic elements.

I don’t care much for Best Practice -- I care about conversions. That’s why I test

M A

Michael Aagaard

CRO Expert
Home page optimization

This could be as basic as ensuring that the right content and images are used to increase engagement and drive the customer forward in the conversion funnel.

Your landing pages aren’t Wikipedia. Stop adding unnecessary links.

O G

Old Gardner

Co-founder Unbounce, Keynote Speaker
Campaign landing page optimization

Enhancing the alignment between off-platform communication in the form of ads and content, and flow from the landing page

Call To Action

Calls to Action buttons, or CTAs, are one of the most experimented upon elements in CRO. Well-implemented CTAs can have a huge impact on eventual conversion.

The best design isn’t the one that [just] makes your company look cool and edgy and sophisticated. It’s the design that supports conversion, has room for cool copy, and power calls-to action that make people click the big orange button

B M

Brian Massey

Founder, Conversion Scientist - Conversion Sciences
Analyze results

Good software allows you to gain critical insights leveraging big data, data visualization, and, nowadays, even AI.

Workflow Management

Given the high number of tools and integrations, not to mention stakeholders, it’s likely that you will need software to manage workflows, especially if the scope of CRO is very large.

Which Industries use CRO Software?

CRO is relevant for both B2B and B2C businesses.

B2B - Any business where the acquisition of leads is important is where CRO comes into the picture. Real estate, SaaS, consulting services, automobile, all are sectors that are big on CRO.

B2C - Any e-commerce website requires a bare minimum of CRO efforts at the least to acquire adequate traction. The larger the scale of the website, the more complex the CRO operations. D2C brands, multi-brand e-commerce portals are intensive CRO users

Who are the Users of CRO Software?

While the end-user is almost always business as an entity, it is usually the marketing teams who use a variety of CRO tools, applying them to content to social media marketing to performance marketing. Webmasters, product managers, and technology heads are all typical end-users of various CRO tools.

What are the Key Features of a CRO software?

Analytics and Reporting of the various kind such as Campaign Analysis, Engagement Analytics

Alerts, Escalations, and Notifications on different channels such as Text, Email

Tracking of Various kinds such as Behavior Tracking, Click Tracking, Conversion Tracking

Visitor Management activities such as Prioritizing, Tracking.

AI in CRO Software

Given that data is the foundation of CRO, AI is becoming integral to CRO. This is especially prevalent in cases where the amount of data generated is copious and the variables so vast that it would be impossible to be efficient using stand-alone siloed approaches.

AI in CRO has a disruptive effect on the following:

Digital Marketing

AI in digital marketing is ever-evolving. AI can play a key role in optimizing communication, targeting, and ensuring overall engagement. This can span all aspects of digital marketing, from identifying communication and content gaps to creating super-detailed user-profiles and journey maps. At the core of it, AI is able to collect and analyze more data than was ever possible otherwise, and optimize for conversions. Given the ever-ballooning costs of digital marketing, AI-based CRO would have the effect of keeping marketing budgets in check

Lead scoring and potential identification

Especially important when it’s a B2B website, AI-led insights allow for tagging of high-value customers, identification of intent-based on multi-platform behavior, and deep learning, all culminating in more deal closures. The more detailed a persona that can be built up, the more useful it is for actual sales closures.

Hyper personalization

Customizing flows and communications, including but not limited to what a customer views, at an individual level is the holy grail of personalization. Only advancements in AI can truly deliver this at scale. It may sound rather far-fetched today, but AI will be used to tailor website elements to suit the user who is browsing, leading to a more engaging experience, and, thereby, conversion.

Content doesn’t win. Optimized content wins

L E

Li Evans

Adobe Marketing

Accelerated test cycles

Arriving at test hypotheses, creating the test environments, and then running the experiments is a time-consuming and probably error-prone process. AI has the potential to supercharge test cycles, giving feedback, and analysis much faster.

Improved Customer Service

The faster a company can respond to a customer query, the more satisfied and likely to convert the customer usually is. A lot of focus in these areas have been around chatbots, and while the early versions of chatbots were nothing but basic flowchart algorithms, today AI-led CRM can play a vital role in taking the customer closer to that desired conversion. Other facets that could be AI-powered include pre-filled information, smart scheduling, automated calls, and so on. This too, when implemented well, is bound to bring about substantial cost savings.

4 Key Factors to Consider to Select CRO Software

Point Product vs Suite

The complete CRO platform from Adobe or IBM provides a complete stack of functionality that covers all of CRO capabilities. However, there are several point products that cover only specific functionality like A/B Testing, Conversion Tracking, or Visitor Management. Such point tools do provide integration to the other platform like products which eases adoption. If enterprises need the specific capability, without heavy lifting, then they can choose such best of breed point solutions.

Capabilities

The best CRO platforms are the ones that are built on a solid interoperable data foundation that allows for easy API-led, gives you consolidated and intuitive views, and allows you to run some of the qualitative and quantitative experiments from within. Popular features to look for would include strong segmentation and visualization, A/B testing capabilities, capabilities to do more complex statistical testing like Multivariate Testing ( MVT ) if you generate large amounts of data, Personalization capabilities. If your target channel is mobile, then Mobile-first or at least a strong focus on mobile capability would be a desired feature.

Training and Support

It's important that all the users of the platforms are trained and on-boarded in its use and expected outcomes. This is most relevant in cases where large customer service teams are involved or involve sales personnel using these tools in their direct customer interactions. If CRO is seen as a critical business process, then the vendor should be able to provide the support that meets business needs.

Integrations

The latest CRO tools or platforms may not be the best fit if they don't integrate well with your existing technology. Find a platform that is capable of delivering without too many disruptions.

It is important to realize that various CRO tools do various tasks and even the best of the CRO tools or platforms don't do it all. It is up to you as a business to define what are your focus and priority areas, from which will evolve the key tasks that you will need to be done and from there will come your choices of tools and platforms

Challenges in Adoption and Implementation of CRO Software

The challenges in adoption and implementation straddle aspects that include technology but go beyond technology.

Executive Sponsorship and Championship

There has to be buy-in at a leadership level for the need for CRO, ideally demonstrated by expected ROI. Without this buy-in, CRO could easily become a side data experiment that fails to create any impact. This buy-in then needs to be communicated to various key stakeholders.

CRO is likely to straddle multiple aspects of the organization. Unless it is made one person’s responsibility, it will be unaccountable and will not be driven with the required importance. In large organizations, a CMO or a CPO are ideal CRO champions or sponsors with one person designated under them who operationally runs the same.

In spite of the best of buy-ins, organization politics, the tendency to work in silos, and general insecurity or protection of turf are all aspects that are likely to hurt effective implementation. It's important that the CRO champion leverages executive championship and work in a multi-stakeholder environment to drive collaboration

Inefficient Methodology

Lack of a strategic vision, inadequate contextual understanding, and inadequate experience can all lead to the sub-par design of hypotheses and testing mechanisms. Lack of user research, an over-reliance on “gut feel” or biases are other issues that typically plague the effective implementation of even the best tools and platforms and CRO is no exception.

Insufficient budgetary flexibility

While initial costs may have been approved, there may still be the tendency to underestimate how big, time-consuming, and resource-intensive large scale CRO plans can evolve into. It is important, therefore, that adequate budgetary support is planned for and incorporated in the plan so as to enable making the right decisions on an ongoing basis. It may be best to keep the scope small but impactful rather than too elaborate and ridden with imponderables.

Lack of agility

CRO implementation will throw up a host of experiments that will need to be run on a daily basis. Agility in the organization and in the technologies being used is necessary to actually conduct the tests, validate and implement. There would be little benefit in implementing robust tools that provide valuable insights, but which are rarely actioned.

ROI of CRO Software

CRO has a very high potential to generate ROI compared to most other marketing activities. While it is a given that one part of the equation is to bring traffic in the first place, generating traffic is expensive, and what CRO strives to deliver on is to get more bang for the buck from the traffic that does get generated. Small changes in conversion rates, in high-traffic, high-frequency scenarios, could lead to millions of dollars in incremental sales.

Of course, marketing campaigns can always be stepped up and continually optimized (and they should be), but it would be germane to remember that while marketing campaigns are only good when they are live, good CRO stays and does not require continuous investment.

The ROI of CRO also comes from beyond the immediate spike in sales. Well-implemented CRO strategies would likely mean that you have cleaner interfaces, delivering a much better user experience across all touchpoints and would eventually lead to higher lifetime value from the customer.

Conversion Rate Optimization Software

Smartlook Icon

Smartlook

4.68
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ClickFunnels

4.54
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ClickFunnels™ - Marketing Funnels Made Easy

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unbounce

4.54
★★★★★
★★★★★

Landing Pages - Create a Dedicated Page for Your Campaign

Hotjar Icon

Hotjar

4.53
★★★★★
★★★★★

Hotjar - Heatmaps, Visitor Recordings, Conversion Funnels, Form ...

Freshmarketer Icon

Freshmarketer

4.48
★★★★★
★★★★★

Freshmarketer | All-In-One Conversion Optimization Suite

Landingi Icon

Landingi

4.48
★★★★★
★★★★★

Landingi | Landing Page Builder for non-programmers

Instapage Icon

Instapage

4.47
★★★★★
★★★★★

Instapage - The Advertising Conversion Cloud‚

Amplitude Analytics Icon

Amplitude Analytics

4.45
★★★★★
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#1 Behavioral Platform for Product Analytics

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Sessioncam

4.45
★★★★★
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SessionCam - intelligent website optimization

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Decibel Digital

4.38
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Decibel - Digital Experience Intelligence Platform: Customer ...

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Foresee CX Suite

4.34
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Leadpages

4.34
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Leadpages Landing Page Builder & Lead Gen Software

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Mouseflow

4.27
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Mouseflow: Session Replay, Heatmaps, Funnels, Forms & User ...

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Inspectlet

4.23
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Inspectlet - Session Recording, Website Heatmaps, Javascript A/B ...

VWO Icon

VWO

4.23
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★★★★★

VWO | All-in-One A/B Testing and Conversion Optimization Platform

Adobe Target Icon

Adobe Target

4.23
★★★★★
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Adobe: Creative, marketing and document management solutions

Mixpanel behavior analytics Icon

Mixpanel behavior analytics

4.21
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Mixpanel: Product and User Behavioral Analytics for Mobile, Web ...

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BounceHelp

4.18
★★★★★
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BounceHelp | Website Engagement Software | Increase Sales Calls by ...

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Webtrends Optimize

4.18
★★★★★
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AB Testing and Website optimization

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Persado

4.17
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Create Winning Digital Creative Every Time

Zoho Pagesense Icon

Zoho Pagesense

4.13
★★★★★
★★★★★

The Complete A/B Testing and Conversion Rate Optimization Platform

SiteSpect Icon

SiteSpect

4.02
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SiteSpect | A/B Testing, Personalization, and Optimization Platform

Mobilewalla Icon

Mobilewalla

4.00
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Mobilewalla: Consumer Intelligence Platform - Mobile Marketing

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Evolv

3.92
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Evolv | Delivering Automated Optimization Across Web & Mobile

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Moosend Email Marketing

4.77
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Moosend| Email Marketing Automation Software. All The Benefits Of Email Marketing Minus The Coding.

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Nosto

4.58
★★★★★
★★★★★

Nosto - World's Leading E-commerce Personalization Platform

Algolia Icon

Algolia

4.57
★★★★★
★★★★★

Algolia: Fast, reliable and modern search and discovery

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MailerLite

4.55
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MailerLite | MailerLite provides all the latest email marketing features designed to help you grow subscribers and build stronger relationships

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WebEngage

4.52
★★★★★
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WebEngage | Engage users over Mobile Push, In-app, Emails, SMS ...

AB Tasty Icon

AB Tasty

4.50
★★★★★
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All-in-one CRO Solution - Personalization & A/B Testing - AB TASTY

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Hushly

4.49
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Increase Conversions by 51% with Hushly's Conversion Software

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WalkMe Digital Adoption Platform

4.49
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WalkMe‚ - Digital Adoption Platform

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Salesmanago Marketing Automation

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Indicative Analytics

4.45
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Indicative | Behavioral Analytics, Free From Limits

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Optimizely

4.45
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Optimizely: The World's Leading Experimentation Platform

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Dynamic Yield

4.44
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AI-Powered Omnichannel Personalization Platform ‚Dynamic Yield

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Shortstack

4.44
★★★★★
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Get More Leads From Your Marketing Campaigns

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wishpond Marketing Automation

4.42
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Wishpond | Built to grow your business

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UserIQ

4.41
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UserIQ - Deliver Success in Every Moment, Starting with User ...

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Taplytics

4.40
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Toonimo Smart Guidance

4.39
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Onboard New Users Easily Improve your users’ and customers’ onboarding experience with interactive guided digital walkthroughs

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Evergage CDP

4.36
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Evergage | 1-to-1 Personalization and Customer Data Platform

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GAMOOGA

4.29
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Gamooga | World's Best AI Powered Omni Channel Marketing Platform

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UserZoom UX Insights Platform

4.15
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Nextuser

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Vertical Response Email Marketing

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