Conversion Rate Optimisation: The Science Behind Turning Visitors Into Customers


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A talk I did at the SEO Melbourne event on the 5th February 2014. Audience of about 60 SEO/SEM professionals and agencies around Melbourne.

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  • Google AdWords example for ‘first aid coursemelbourne’
  • Landing page
  • Typical Google AdWords example
  • Typical Google AdWords example
  • Typical Google AdWords example
  • Typical Google AdWords example
  • Typical Google AdWords example
  • Typical Google AdWords example
  • Typical Google AdWords example
  • Typical Google AdWords example
  • Conversion Rate Optimisation: The Science Behind Turning Visitors Into Customers

    1. 1. James Spittal (Me) • Built first HTML website at age seven • Some of the companies I’ve worked with: – Ning, Nando’s, Pearson Australia, Deloitte, Thomas Duryea Consulting, ANZ, Melbourne Water, Master Builders Association of Victoria, State Library of Victoria – Lots of small businesses • I’ve spoken at CEO Institute, CPA Australia, Swinburne University, Hub Melbourne, SEO events and a few other places • I’m the CEO & founder of digital agency Web Marketing ROI • Consult/advise on digital for a number of different businesses • I also own and operate a number of different eCommerce websites and online web properties
    2. 2. • Most of what I’ll be talking about today is stuff I’ve directly implemented for clients of mine or things that I’ve used in my own business. • There’s a lot of ‘theory’ out there about conversion optimisation .. And sometimes I find there is a bit of a gap between the theory and the actual practical application.
    3. 3. How this talk is relevant to you & outcomes • What I’d like you all to walk away with is a clear understanding of how you can, by applying Conversion Rate Optimisation: – – – – – (A) Generate more leads online; and/or (B) Generate more sales online; Drive (or increase) business growth by using (A) and/or (B); Apply this to your client’s businesses; Apply this to your own business; • Can’t teach everything in one presentation and this is the tip of the iceberg, but I’m hoping to cover as much as I can about #CRO!
    4. 4. What Actually Is Conversion Rate Optimisation?
    5. 5. Is it A/B Testing?
    6. 6. Is it a landing page?
    7. 7. Is it a report about how you can improve your conversion?
    8. 8. I know. Let’s Google the answer. • Wikipedia: The method of creating an experience for a website or landing page visitor with the goal of increasing the percentage of visitors that convert into customers. It is also commonly referred to as ‘CRO’. • Unbounce: Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is a discipline that focuses on the testing of landing pages, aiming to find the optimal design and messaging mixture that produces higher conversion rates.
    9. 9. Source:
    10. 10. Source:
    11. 11. So why will some website redesigns ruin our conversion rate and others will improve it?
    12. 12. Which landing page converts better? Full credit to for this example
    13. 13. Version A increased submissions by 24% (read: 24% more leads) by removing the image from the page. (no, that doesn’t mean we should always remove images)
    14. 14. Which converts better? Full credit to for this example
    15. 15. Version A (without the video!) increased leads by 64% (no, that doesn’t mean you should always not use videos.)
    16. 16. Assumptions
    17. 17. Common A/B Testing Assumptions • ‘Red converts better than any other colour!’ • ‘Having a video always converts better than not having a video!’ • ‘Having a headline is always better than no headline!’ • ‘Long copy beats short copy!’ • ‘Short copy beats long copy!’ • ‘The best design wins!’ • ‘Less form fields is ALWAYS better than more form fields!’
    18. 18. Take-Away • Unless you’re testing – you are just guessing. • Ignore the myths and hype about Conversion Optimisation. Test and don’t fall into the error of making tests. • You can guess – but make sure you back it up with: – 1). More than hundreds of A/B tests and thousands of style tests – 2). An actual A/B test. What works for one industry may not have the same effect on another industry.
    19. 19. A/B Testing • ‘So if we just do heaps of A/B testing, we’ll always be right and always make our clients lots of money and conversion improvements, right?’
    20. 20. Is Your Client Even Ready For A/B Testing?
    21. 21. PHP open source tool I created for A/B testing statistical significance calculations. I also created it to illustrate the danger of small sample sizes.
    22. 22. How well do you know your statistical significance mathematics? Do you expect this will be more than 99.95% statistically significant or not?
    23. 23. Nope, it’s not! And it also violates the <1000 visitors rule. Therefore, ending this test would provide scientifically uncertain conclusions and false negatives! Don’t do it.
    24. 24. Typical Example • • • • Monthly Google AdWords Spend $4,000 Google AdWords Cost-Per-Click $4 $4000 / $4 = 1000 clicks per month ‘Typical’ conversion rate of clicks -> conversions: 6.8% • 1000 clicks = 68 conversions • Sale price in this example: $100 • 68 x $100 = $6800
    25. 25. A/B Testing
    26. 26. How could we change the original website (‘landing page’) to increase the conversion rate? (The number of people signing up on that page.)
    27. 27. A/B Testing Google AdWords Visitors 50% visitors to the ‘original site’ 50% visitors to the ‘new test site’ (optimised) In a scenario such as this, it’s realistic to expect a 15% - 150% increase in conversion rate on Version B over Version A.
    28. 28. Before & After • Monthly Google AdWords Spend $4,000 • Google AdWords Cost-PerClick $4 • $4000 / $4 = 1000 clicks per month • ‘Typical’ conversion rate of clicks -> conversions: 6.8% • 1000 clicks = 68 conversions • Sale price in this example: $100 • 68 x $100 = $6800 • Monthly Google AdWords Spend $4,000 • Google AdWords Cost-PerClick $4 • $4000 / $4 = 1000 clicks per month • Increased conversion rate: 13.6% • 1000 clicks = 136 conversions • Sale price in this example: $100 • 136 x $100 = $13,600
    29. 29. Net result: 100% increase in sales revenue generated via Google AdWords without spending an extra cent on advertising or marketing. Best of all, in most cases – A/B testing can be setup in a couple of days.
    30. 30. Real examples • Over a pool of approximately 500 A/B tests and approximately 100 clients, I’ve seen increases in conversion rate of 15% - 600% • I’ve never seen an example where there wasn’t opportunity for at least 15% improvement in conversion rate, and the average over 100 clients is around the 150% mark • Average length of engagement was approximately 12 weeks – but those that had the highest increases tended to be closer to 12 months (diminishing returns)
    31. 31. Lessons learned • The tests that you think are going to increase conversion often don’t! (Consumers don’t always behave the way we’d expect or the way we’d hope.) • The most important thing is to test. • If the test produces a negative result, come up with a hypothesises why you think it did and repeat another test. • Continue until you see a positive result.
    32. 32. The Process: Continuous & NeverEnding Testing Loop
    33. 33. An example of a successful A/B test (100% uplift)
    34. 34. Control (Original Home Page)
    35. 35. Variation #1 (Winner) 100% increase in leads without increasing advertising expenditure
    36. 36. • Visual Website Optimizer screenshots, etc.
    37. 37. Where a lot of companies fall over in implementing these strategies
    38. 38. Where a lot of companies fall over in implementing these strategies • Who’s responsible for this stuff again? (Is it the marketing manager? Is it the digital marketing manager? Is it the IT guy? Is it the website guy? Is it the agency?) • Do we have the ‘know how’? • Are we getting bogged down with other things? Source: Conversion Rate Optimization Report 2012
    39. 39. “The 12 Commandments Of #CRO” • • • • • • • • • • • • 1. Never make assumptions. 2. Never guess. 3. Never assume that what worked for one industry will work for another. 4. Always be improving your #CRO skills by constantly learning from tests and improving your % of guesses being accurate. 5. Regularly measure your own accuracy on 6. Don’t bother testing for clients who don’t have enough conversions. 7. Calculate the estimated testing duration before beginning. 8. Follow the conversion principles – not the tactics. 9. Repeat after me: 99.95% statistical significance. 10. The bigger the conversion improvement, the shorter the test duration. 11. Align the A/B testing programme directly with client expectations in terms of improvement, past tests run and time lines. 12. Conversion Improvement != Equivalent Revenue Improvement
    40. 40. If you execute this correctly, improvements of 200% - 300% in less than 3 months is possible. Yes. That means that: - Cost-per-lead would be reduced by up to 300% - Cost-per-sale would be reduced by up to 300% - Sales revenue from lead generation would be increased by up to 300% - Online sales (E-Commerce) would be increased by up to 300%
    41. 41. Q&A • Questions? • [For the online readers, feel free to e-mail at and I’d be happy to answer any questions. I actually answer every e-mail I get (worst case, you might have to wait a week or two if I’m really busy.) • For convenience, put the subject as: “SlideShare Presentation: Conversion Rate Optimisation”] Thank you!
    42. 42. Me • Tweet me: @jamesspittal • Growth hacking/CRO consulting gigs with me personally: • CRO (and web/SEO/PPC) engagements and RFPs: Thank you!
    43. 43. Web Marketing ROI • We work with clients in the US, UK, Australia & Hong Kong • Full-service Digital Agency that specializes in Conversion Rate Optimisation • We also offer all the usual suspects: SEO, AdWords, PPC. • We have designers, programmers, copywriters, wire framers, A/B testers. Everything you’d expect from a full service digital agency. • Existing relationships with many agencies around the world (A/B Testing, Reseller, Affiliate, Etc.) • I’m the Founder & CEO and without Web Marketing ROI, I wouldn’t have the spare time or resources to play with this stuff!