Conversion rate optimisation (CRO), is the process of optimising your landing pages, sponsored ads and website design to raise your conversion rate. It’s the most important element of your PPC campaigns because, done correctly, it will help turn traffic into all important sales or leads.
Whilst not technically an element of SEO, which is focused solely on increasing search engine rankings and click through rate from the SERPs in order to grow website traffic, CRO is an essential pillar of digital marketing, as it’s all about converting as much of that traffic as possible. Put simply: if SEO is about web presence and visibility, then CRO is about eliciting actions when that web presence has been established.
In this article we’ll be looking in more depth at CRO and how it can transform the fortunes of your business.
Identifying Macro and Micro Conversions
Defining your KPIs is the first step to a successful CRO campaign. The KPIs in CRO can broadly be broken down into two main categories, depending on the action you want the user to take: macro (or primary) conversions and micro (or secondary) conversions.
Most websites focus on optimising their macro conversions, which can be categorised as follows:
- Revenue-based conversions such as order completion or paid subscription sign up.
- Lead acquisition conversions such as application form completion (eg. for credit card) or member sign up (eg. for media streaming platforms).
- Enquiry conversions such as contact form completion or receiving a telephone enquiry.
Macro conversions are the main objective of your CRO campaign but fixating solely on a single metric will not lead to success. There are a multitude of other actions a user may take on your website that may seem of less importance than the macro conversions but all lead towards that end goal.
Micro conversions can be categorised as follows:
- Navigation based conversions such as viewing a service or product page or entering the checkout process.
- Interaction-based conversions such as adding a product to the cart, watching a promotional video, social media interactions, email newsletter sign up or requesting a call back.
- Engagement based conversions like time spent on the site over a certain amount, number of page views above target and frequency of visiting above target.
Micro conversions as illustrated as stages in the customer journey, leading to the macro conversion of a transaction.
Your macro conversions should be obvious as it is likely to be one primary action and the whole point of your website. Finding your micro conversions is not complex if you know your website well, but it may take longer to define them all depending on the size of your website, the cost of your product or service and the nature of the customer journey.
What is the relationship between UX and CRO?
The terms CRO and UX are sometimes used interchangeably but they are different disciplines. The goal of successful UX design is to improve the user’s experience of the website so that it is an intuitive, enjoyable and seamless journey. UX should support CRO by ensuring that every potential call to action (CTA) on a given landing page is obvious, appealing and easily completed.
Both UX and CRO use methods such as A/B testing, customer feedback and user testing to ensure landing pages are performing as well as possible, and good UX tends to correlate with improved conversion rates. Both are seeking to make your landing pages perform more effectively, and both use testing and data to produce the best outcomes.
Why is CRO So Important for Your Google Ads Campaign?
Paid advertising is a great way to get more traffic to your site and increase revenue, but it can become pointlessly expensive if you don’t monitor and optimise your campaigns. CRO improves your PPC performance because an increase in conversion rates lowers your cost per acquisition (CPA). This means that your spending is more efficient, as your costs remain the same but you get more conversions from it.
Using CRO to make your search ads more relevant to the landing pages they lead to also raises your Google Ads Quality Score. This lowers cost per click (CPC), which also increases spend efficiency as you get the same number of clicks for a cheaper price.
If you have well-written, compelling Google Ads that get a lot of clicks but land people on what is ultimately a poorly constructed landing page, with no clear CTA, then they won’t convert and that equals wasted click budget.
How To Create Good Landing Pages
High quality landing pages make a huge difference to the success of your ad campaigns and therefore your conversion rates, but what constitutes a good one? The key word is ‘relevance’. If a prospective customer or client lands on your page as the result of a specific search query, they want it to be relevant to what they typed into the search engine. If it isn’t, as sure as night follows day, they will bounce and go elsewhere (and the money you paid for their click is wasted).
Poor landing pages also have a negative effect on your Google Ads Quality Score, which raises your cost per click and reduces your ad rank, making it harder to win good spots in Google’s ad sale process.
So what makes a great landing page?
- A compelling headline that is relevant to your PPC keyword. It must compel users to stay on the page and fulfil the desired action.
- Relevant, targeted copy. The content of the page must communicate what you are offering and use the keywords associated with the ad. Keep the copy concise and easy to read.
- An eye-catching, clickable CTA. Make it as easy and attractive as possible for someone to respond to your call to action.
- Good design. Landing pages should be clean and uncluttered, so the focus is on the relevance of the page and the call to action.
- Carefully chosen images. People are visual creatures and therefore a landing page with no images will feel strange. Product images are an obvious choice, as are images of people using a product.
Test, Test, Test
A crucial part of CRO is testing, which can really help you hone down your design, messaging, and CTA but the key message here is to keep measuring and keep testing. Like all digital marketing, CRO is not a set and forget exercise; it’s about constant refinement, so it’s never done.
A/B or split testing allows you to isolate one variable, for instance the wording of a call to action, and create an A version and a B version (split variants). You can then compare their performance to see which works best. Because you only isolate one variable, you can confidently attribute that single change to the increase or decrease in the number of conversions.
Testing the CTAs on both your ads and your landing pages will allow you to refine and test again and again until you get the results you desire and your conversion rates have been optimised to their fullest potential.
This kind of split testing tends to work better for PPC campaigns than organic SEO, as it’s more complex to try to optimise two pages on your site that do the same thing. There are however methods that will allow you to split test pages for organic SEO as well as tools that you can utilise, like Google’s Optimize.
Another highly useful method of testing landing pages is heatmapping, an investigative technique that analyses the user’s journey around a landing page to see how the UX can be improved. By capturing data where users click and the routes they take to reach your CTAs, the page can be optimised and improved through subtle adjustments and continual testing. The changes made will both enhance the UX and encourage your users to convert.
Without a CRO strategy in place, your PPC campaigns are little more than a stab in the dark. By creating useful, relevant and intuitive landing pages you will get more high quality leads, more revenue and more opportunity to successfully grow your business.