So, what’s going on in Conversion Rate Optimization?
Or – more importantly – what’s going to happen in the second half of 2023 and in the near future?
Last week we looked at the main challenges in CRO, what experts would do if they started from scratch, and the future of CRO. We did so with the help of renowned experts, such as Juliana Jackson, Ton Wesseling, Valentin Radu, and more.
But, as the saying goes, the show must go on.
So let’s see what these experts have to say about AI, proven techniques for increasing the Conversion Rates, and the link between Retention and Conversion.
(If you missed Part One – catch up here)
AI and Machine Learning: Influencing CRO for Higher Conversions
Now, to answer the question on everyone’s minds: is AI playing any role in this?
- Complete AI integration – Matthias Mandiau
AI will be integrated into every software solution we know of.
AI will improve CRO, it will safeguard against errors and human mistakes, and will sort out the analytics for you.
So no more difficult, random, millions of KPIs, dashboards, and calculations.
It will help us move forward exponentially.
As humans, we’ll do the curation, strategy, and decision-making. Let the difficult, cognitively draining, repetitive work be done by AI-fueled automation.
It will save us time and headaches, and we’ll likely have more time to spend on other things.
- AI is the good guy – Ton Wesseling
For Ton, AI will become a helper, a provider of automated and successful personalization.
- AI will turn some roles obsolete – Valentin Radu
Valentin reminisces about how, in the past, humans invested a lot of time into data capturing, then data mining, data analysis, then into anomaly detection, and insights generation.
In the near future, those things will be handled by AI, which will support and then constantly optimize the strategic decision-making into how the UI looks, what products to push on which channels, to which customers, and with what kind of investment.
We’re facing a tectonic shift, but we don’t know how the things will look like. What is clear is that many roles will become redundant and obsolete.
Besides the AI platforms, the winners will be the companies that will have enough data and resources to experiment with an audience that’s already habitually consuming the content they produce/ products they sell.
- AI will become an amplifier – Simon Girardin
AI will become an amplifier for those who use it as a tool inside their toolbox.
By that, he means that time can be saved for research (for example, asking Chat GPT to categorize On-Site poll responses.)
But AI will only be an amplifier if those outputs are used to think strategically and holistically about the customer. Once you have the findings, only a human brain will be able to connect the dots between different research and past test insights.
Only then will the brain be able to formulate a clear user problem followed by a clear solution. The process of creating a hypothesis and putting all of it together will depend on humans for a long time.
For the most part, AI will not steal jobs, but it will allow teams to shift their time.
- Faster experiments – Eden Bidani
AI will enable companies to push out experiments much faster.
But one word of caution from Eden Bidani: beware of tools claiming they can automate your user research or user testing!
You won’t know if something will work or convert in the real world unless you get it from real people.
- Promising, but nothing certain – Khalid Saleh
Khalid predicts both AI and Machine Learning will play an important role in CRO.
He now believes Machine Learning will have a bigger impact in the near future, even if CRO professionals aren’t versed in this area.
As for AI, he believes it’s promising, but he doesn’t know its implications for the industry.
- Significant and far-reaching – Johann Van Tonder
Johann thinks the impact of AI on CRO will be significant and far-reaching.
Many of the tasks performed as part of CRO can be done effectively by computers. Some roles are more at risk than others, depending on the degree to which those underlying tasks can be taken over by AI.
At the same time, individuals who embrace AI will be able to do more and be more effective. More fundamentally, CRO will change as shopping behavior is influenced by AI.
- Ideation and prioritization – David Mannheim
AI will provide support in the identification and prioritization of segments.
Highlighting customers that are struggling in real-time or organizing segments by highest value and identifying common behaviors between them.
In that respect, it will help the CRO community move away from thinking of things at a baseline, 300ft view and move them towards thinking of things as groups of commonality because it’s easier to identify, target, and do something with that group (automating content, messaging, etc.)
Proven Techniques for Boosting Conversion Rates: Insights from Top CRO Professionals
So, what’s the parting word on the Conversion Rate Optimization discussion? What’s the one thing you could do to ensure your traffic turns into customers? Is there a winning strategy?
- The Customer – Matthias Mandiau
Look at the customer journey and see where most people drop off.
Then talk to 10 of your target audience people and ask them what excited them about your product or e-commerce shop.
And focus on the area where most people drop off. Then ask them what is missing and if they would purchase this product. Also, visit the pages before this drop-off area and after it. And go through a couple of different user scenarios.
You’ll be surprised how much people love to talk and how much useful information they can give you. You just have to ask them the right questions.
Use the answers from these interviews, try to quantify them and make a top 3 or 5 and then make a design of the change and feed them into the development backlog. Try to AB test them. And see what the effect is on the conversion rate.
On top of that, get an experienced specialist on board who can do a CRO audit on your website or platform. Try to aim for 10-20 improvements here as well and add them to the development roadmap. This should already bring you forward, at least in understanding what is creating issues, and it should give you some uplifts.
(Or simply – hire him)
- The Customer x2 – Juliana Jackson
Stop frigging worrying about your Conversion Rate.
Worry about the whole customer journey, worry about the business, worry about your data; the conversion rate is just a metric that is isolated from all your real problems.
Stop optimizing for moving metrics.
- The Customer x3 – Ton Wesseling
Learn the basics of consumer psychology.
- The Customer x4 – Valentin Radu
Focus more on the why behind customer behavior.
You’re not in the business of changing websites but in the business of changing behaviors.
As long as humans are the ones that make the buying decisions, you will still need to decipher how to influence the behavior.
Learn Jobs To Be Done, psychology, statistics, and talk more with customer service people. Most of them are on an ignored goldmine.
- The Customer x5 – Simon Girardin
Optimize against real issues for your customers. Issues that prevent them from converting.
To find those issues, you need to be customer-focused. And for that, you need to run research from multiple methods at different customer journey points.
It doesn’t need to be perfect; it can be iterative and improve over time. The research is what allows experimentation to deliver results.
If you still feel stuck, reach out for help either from an agency or consultants or simply to complement your competencies with a dedicated researcher.
- The Customer x6 – Eden Bidani
Get as close to your customers as possible – by talking with them 1 on 1.
This will give you an endless source of ideas for experiments and changes that can be made to help improve conversions both immediately and in the long term.
- Consistency – Khalid Saleh
Small, consistent steps that are based on research are the secret to winning the game.
One-time wins excite everyone, and you will get lucky now and then.
But methodical analysis will win in the long term.
- Customer Priorities – Johann Van Tonder
Figure out the right priorities, focus ruthlessly on things that matter (to your customers) and can make a noticeable impact.
- Focus on the experience- David Mannheim
Don’t focus on the conversion rate; focus on the experience.
When you focus on conversion rate, you optimize for the conversion rate away from the customer.
Ironic and not cool.
As a wrap-up, we’d like to share a fantastic POV we’ve seen about CRO on LinkedIn, coming from Conversion Consultant and Best-Selling Instructor Ruben de Boer.
Thank you for reading, and we wish you the best of luck on your optimization journey!
“There are several theories about the future of CRO. Here’s my take, based on things happening in more mature markets.
🔮 The CRO team/silo will die and thrive elsewhere
And that is a good thing because we should work more closely with other teams to make a bigger impact with our unique mindset and skillset.
CRO/experimentation will continue in roughly three teams.
🔮 Marketing experimentation
Experimentation will take place during the entire customer journey. In this team, a CRO specialist/lead position is certainly possible (yes, I dare to disagree with Ton Wesseling here). The CRO specialist will be responsible for experimentation and personalization to increase conversion rates.
This specialist should know personalization, AI, and data connections and work closely with marketers, copywriters, designers, data scientists, and engineers.
🔮 Product discovery experimentation
Product discovery is the process that helps product teams understand real user problems and land on the best solution to solve them. In this team, A/B testing is one of the many methods to validate solutions, assumptions, and business ideas. Most other methods are related to user research.
A CRO specialist job will unlikely exist in this team (the name CRO makes no sense here). However, the team does likely require a validation/research specialist.
🔮 Product delivery experimentation
In the delivery track, experimentation will be fully integrated into the engineering pipeline and possibly automated, meaning every update created by the delivery teams will be an ‘experiment.’
An ‘experimentation engineer’ should have much technical knowledge to build, maintain, and update the experimentation system.
✅ In short, the CRO team/silos will die, but experimentation will thrive elsewhere in the organization.
(Possibly, there will be a fourth team – an optimization team that will optimize existing features after the discovery and delivery team have completed their work on it.)”