Many people define conversion optimization as AB testing which I think is wrong since it leads to a very narrow view of what online conversion optimization truly is. In my view online conversion optimization is closely knitted with online business development.

I have argued before that if you want to reach a double-digit conversion increase you need to integrate your conversion optimization program to your overall online development. In my previous work we did just that and it had several positive effects beside revenue optimisation.

One was that our technical backlog was reduced substantially allowing us to develop solutions that the user truly wanted. This also saved us a ton of development hours. While before we developed stuff that was of very small value to the user.

Another was that we could create a vision around the site that allowed us to make sense of our daily work and make everyone work towards the same goal. That feeling alone is worth its weight in gold.

Of course optimizing on page level is the way to start, but soon you will reach a point where your optimization work does not yield any significant revenue increases. This is when you need to take a more holistic approach to your optimisation.

For example in my current work I have identified three pages where can be optimized and truly change the bottom line revenue of our site. After I have optimized these pages the rest of the site yields such a small portion of our revenues that it is not worth putting effort in optimizing them. The famous 80/20 rule can be used here. 20% of your page will lead to an 80% increase in revenues.

Drawing from previous experience I have pushed the online team to adopt a visionary approach to our site so we are not all of a sudden in a place where we fumble in the dark developing solutions that don’t offer value. This is of course a work in progress but if everything goes as planned we hope to have doubled the revenue stream from our site and created a high quality site for our users.

So what is conversion optimisation? Well it is not looking at some random KPI´s such as bounce rate and trying to find solutions for it. Conversion optimization always starts with an idea based on your vision with the site. You should look at your KPI´s to understand user behaviour and then compare this with your vision and after this you try the solutions that will move your conversion needle.

My advice to you as a web analyst or web manager is to work very hard with understanding the vision with your site. When you have this in place it will be very easy to do the right things and hence affect your bottom line. Understand that ad hoch AB testing is very good for your revenue pages but sooner or later you will reach a level when the AB testing does not yield any additional results. Knowing when this happens can be hard but with enough experience you will know this fairly early. If you have consultants working with you force them to tell you when you will reach this level.



2 Responses

  1. Hi Theo.

    Great post. Fully agree with what you are saying.
    It still surprises me every time when people come with requests for measuring a bunch of KPI’s to try to understand what is going on their sites, without being able to provide answers to some fundamental questions as

    • Why does my site exist?
    • What is the value of my site for visitors or customers?
    • What vision do we have regarding the strategic development of our site?
    • Etc

    Instead people tend to start with measuring random KPI’s as bounce rate, landing page conversion rate etc. and think their vision will evolve from there. Fully support your line of thought to start with your vision first and then define the KPI’s that measure your progress towards your strategic goals!

    The tactical KPI’s tend to follow automatically.

    Thanks for a great read!



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