CRO, or Conversion Rate Optimization, is a broad-brush term for the tools webmasters and web-traffic analysts use to develop user experience and hike conversion rates.
That’s the geeky definition. Putting it in everyday language, CRO is determining how well a website is in turning tire-kickers into buyers.
The usual tool is called the A/B testing platform that allows the website owner to show altered variations of the same web page to different visitors and report back on the effectiveness.
Different web pages would be displayed based on such variables as age, gender or other variables which may be pertinent to the product being sold. Basically, it’s a modern day method used for decades in car sales that showed a male in his twenties would not probably want to buy a station wagon.
With the ability to test multiple demographics and variables simultaneously, a website’s sales page can be optimized quicker than just putting tick marks on a sheet to see if the big yellow screen sells more than the small red one. Well, it’s a little more complicated than that — but not much.
Testing platforms feature “What you see is what you get” and code editors which allow for instant changes to the site structure. When combined with the demographic information about site visitors, some of the latest tools can also be relied on to distribute personalized content to visitors. More esoterical tools are frequently supplemented with click reporting and even “heat map” applications which visually display how a user behaves on the page.
Conversion rate optimization has turned out into a huge industry, and there are many solutions available – from high tag industrial scale software solutions like Accenture Interactive and Adobe Target charging 4 – 6 figure ongoing price to small-mid scale solutions like Marketizator and Optimizely starting their price at about $20.
If you leave the industrial grade solutions out (most of which require a 4 – 5 figure setup charge and is inaccessible for most startups/early stage firms), Marketizator, Unbounce and KISSmetrics are some of the most chosen solutions in the conversion rate optimization market. Unbounce and KISSmetrics both have a 30-day free plan, and starter plans start $49 and $200 per month respectively. Marketizator has been excellent in this regard – instead of a free trial, they have introduced the 100% free conversion rate optimization software plan which covers upto 10,000 tested views – enough for most small scale businesses.
There are other contenders who have a strong market presence and resources, but their products have received below average grades in the user satisfaction category. Google Analytics should be the most popular solution in the contender category.
There are other niche products too who don’t have the market presence of the leaders and they may have been rated positively on customer satisfaction, but they haven’t received enough reviews to demonstrate their success. SiteSpect and Crazy Egg are two within the niche category.