That statement can be controversial and counter-intuitive, but believe me, you can be doing that unconsciously. After all, why – and how – would you sabotage your own strategies after putting so much effort into them? Let's begin by analyzing how companies face CRO strategies.
A short time ago, it was common to find agencies and consultancies offering conversion optimization projects. It worked like this: as you contracted the service, the partner would emerge in your business, perform some tests, and in two months you would have a completely optimized landing page or flow. Nowadays, we don't even need to ask CRO professionals' opinions to understand how outdated that model is.
It is simple to understand why that happens when we compare it to the SEO market. In the beginning, it was common to find agencies and consultancies selling projects for a predefined period. As those strategies evolved, everybody understood it was necessary to have at least one person constantly dedicated to SEO tasks, which could be staff or a partner. It is the same with CRO: we have not yet achieved the same maturity as we have with SEO, but the emergence of teams dedicated to conversion optimization shows that we are on the right path.
However, there is still a dilemma hindering those teams.
Every CRO team begins with one or two professionals dedicating their efforts entirely to performing experiments for validating hypotheses. And what is the most elementary way of doing that? Creating AB tests for validating copies, layouts, images, CTAs, etc.
Generally, such tests involve analyzing pages that participate in a flow or a broader journey. The homepage, landing pages, and the forms are usually the focal point here. After all, this is where everything is happening and, therefore, where we have the greatest opportunities for optimization, right? Not always.
The advancement in technology brought a larger amount of touch points to the user journey, making it quite more complex than it was a few years ago. Due to that progress, punctual and specific experiments in just one part of the journey are no longer aligned with new marketing strategies.
All marketing teams like to speak about how customer-centric their strategies are and how the communication is driven by the user's journey, from awareness stages to final conversions.
Next, we'll discuss what you should focus on to create strategies that actually embrace the whole journey. Let's check which of these tips you're already applying in your company.
User-centric strategies demand that your experimentation processes are designed to validate hypotheses on all stages of the users' journey – and not only on how just a part of it performs. The optimization mindset should go way beyond looking at pages and include analyses of the whole user flow. That means looking at diverse sessions as part of a whole, even though that often happens long before final conversion events.
The following image visually displays how the change in mindset empowers the CRO team and exponentially increases the ROI from optimization initiatives.
That new mindset has introduced the marketing and CRO team to segmentation tactics. As users are not always the same, and many follow different paths for conversion, it is common to analyze small segments with shared characteristics. Cohort and RFM analyses have arisen from that, for example.
Suppose you are a CRO analyst and are in charge of analyzing the drop in conversions in the past weeks.
Before that mindset had changed, the natural pathway for this was to ask yourself the following:
- Does the site traffic come from the same mix of channels?
- Have there been any changes in any of the flow pages before the conversion drop?
- Have the offers or prices been changed?
- Does the performance from the site as a whole continue to be stable?
Notice how concerned we are about all the cases where possible impacts on overall changes can affect all the users. When we are focused on user-centric strategies, the questions asked are different, for example:
- Which user segment had a drop in the conversion rate?
- What changed in the journey of the identified segment?
- If it were a media segment, were there any changes in communication that might have created unmet expectations?
- If nothing has changed in the attraction stage for these users, were there any changes in the rest of the journey or in the navigation flow that wouldn't meet their expectations or generate friction?
- If nothing changed in the flow, were there any content changes in any step of the flow?
Assertiveness and speed increase by investigating problems or opportunities for improving the users' journey. That will also eliminate interferences and factors that are probably correlated to the observed behavior.
Does that mean you shouldn't perform experiments focused on optimizing layouts and specific page contents? Not at all.
That type of optimization will always be part of your entire CRO team pipeline: punctual experiments are necessary and must not be neglected. The alert here serves to remind you to reflect on which is the ideal mindset for your marketing strategy and where are the greatest opportunities for your business.
If you have any doubts or questions about how user-centric your CRO strategies are, or if you wish to learn more about which strategies you should truly focus on the entire journey, get in touch with us! We'd love to discuss this subject and help you discover which approach is best for your business :)