What is Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)?

Conversion Rate Optimization process

Written by Ruben de Boer

May 5, 2022

Why Conversion Rate Optimization?

Every day, we make numerous changes to our website and in our digital products. These can be minor tweaks to completely new features, algorithms, or redesigns. Data, however, shows that only 25% of these changes make a positive impact on your most important goals. The other 75% either makes no difference or even has a negative impact on our goals. This means that all these changes barely result in growth. That is where Conversion rate optimization comes in.


What is Conversion Rate Optimization?

Conversion rate optimization is a way of working. It is a systematic approach to increasing your website’s conversion rates, improving your products, validating your hypotheses and ideas, and gathering knowledge about your customers.

By conducting research and using experiments, you will know what changes you should implement and which not. So instead of implementing everything, which barely results in growth, you can implement only winning changes, resulting in rapid growth and alignment with your customers.

Besides growth, you will gather knowledge about your customers. And this knowledge is valuable for the whole organization. You can share the insights from your experiments with the marketing department, the product team, product innovation, and even higher management will benefit from your insights. It will make the whole organization future-proof.


How the tech giants use CRO

The tech giants on our planet have adopted this way of working long ago with great results. In the image below, you see the growth of these companies compared to the growth of the S&P500 companies. These tech companies have adopted this way of working throughout the whole organization. Netflix, Microsoft, and Booking openly share this in their tech blogs.

For other companies to survive and thrive in this digital age, they need to adopt the same principles.



Stock prices Conversion Rate Optimization giants

Image source: Bloomberg, 2019


A/B testing and CRO

Now A/B testing is a big and important part of conversion optimization. A/B testing is splitting your website visitors over different variations of the same page and analyzing the impact on your KPIs.

So for instance, for the course page, I can run an A/B test in which I change the header to ‘Online conversion optimization courses from €12.99’.


A/B test for Conversion Rate Optimization


Now 50 percent of the website visitors will still see the original product page and the original header. The other 50 percent will see the changed header. Next, in my data, I can see which variation resulted in the highest number of conversions.

So, by knowing what works on your website through A/B testing, you can make adjustments that only increase your conversions. Without A/B testing, you will simply make changes to your website, not knowing if it will increase or decrease conversions. If you only implement winners on your website, you really start to grow and learn about your customers’ needs, motivations and behaviors.

Of course, there are other forms of testing, like split URL and MVT, however, A/B testing is used 99% of the time.

Check out the video below, if you want to see Conversion Rate Optimization explained step-by-step.

If you want to learn CRO step-by-step, check out my Complete Conversion Rate Optimization course on Udemy. (If Udemy has no sale, use the link from the course page).


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