We live in a world where big data is king.
Everything we do online leaves a digital footprint. And businesses must analyse that footprint to see if there is any information that can help them to improve their digital strategies.
As digital experts, we spend a lot of time focusing upon conversion rate optimisation (CRO) strategies. We look to see what works well on a website, as well as identifying any areas for improvement, to increase conversion rates. Sometimes, minor adjustments such as adding in new imagery, or increasing the size of your call to action can be enough to make a big difference in your conversions. You might want to encourage a user to contact you directly. Or you may want a user to complete a shopping transaction online. It is clear that the higher your conversion rates, the better your chances are of increasing revenue and achieving sustained business growth.
Clients often ask us how we know which improvements can lead to higher conversions.
The truth is that we use a wealth of data to help inform our decision-making. And once we’ve established some recommendations, we’ll undertake stringent testing to establish if our hypotheses are correct. This scientific approach means that you can feel confident that your CRO strategies deliver a return on investment.
Why is data so important?
When it comes to eCommerce and other digital strategies, there are huge rewards for getting your conversion rates right. And there can also be serious consequences if you get them wrong.
We previously published an article about why it’s important to blend your CRO with your wider acquisition activities. This is because the two go hand-in-hand. You need acquisition to drive traffic to your website. And you need CRO to convert that organic traffic into paying customers.
If you adjust a webpage (no matter how minor it may seem), you could have an unintended impact elsewhere. For example, your CRO plan may recommend adding new product photos to a page. But that could have the unintended consequence of slowing down your site speed, which could affect your page ranking.
Therefore, it’s important that any changes that you make to your website are carefully thought-through and planned to consider any wider implications.
This is where using and interpreting data is highly valuable.
Rather than relying on guesswork or gut instincts, you should always try to find evidence to justify and guide your decision-making. The use of data will allow you to determine what changes need to be made, and why. And with that knowledge, you can then consider the bigger picture and identify whether these changes could have an impact (either positive or negative) elsewhere within your wider digital strategy.
How is data being collected?
Another question we’re commonly asked is “where do you get that data?”
We have access to a wide range of tools that allow us to delve deep into your website to analyse where your users are coming from. We can identify how they are behaving when they are on your site. And most importantly, we can establish what is preventing them from completing a particular conversion.
Technological advances in recent years have made this data collection more accessible than ever before. We can use software such as Google Analytics, eCommerce tracking, and data layers as well as heat mapping tools such as Hotjar to fully understand how your audiences are behaving on your site. As well as having access to historical data, we can also track behaviours in real-time. We can even record and watch user sessions at a later date.
This data can then be interpreted and incorporated into your ongoing business planning. Perhaps we can identify that customers are drawn to a specific product. In which case, that information can be shared with your sales teams who can liaise with manufacturers and supply chains.
Data interpretation is important, but you also need to retain some common sense
Data-driven decision-making is important, but it's equally important to remember the reasons why you are using that data in the first place.
Too often, businesses become overwhelmed by the amount of data that they have available. They may struggle to interpret it correctly. Or they can become fixated on a specific issue that they may become overly engrossed in the data.
In our experience, we believe that data should be used to justify and enhance your decision-making criteria – particularly when it comes to conversion rate optimisation.
But it’s also important to keep some perspective.
You should be using your data to make confident decisions and to help you become far more proactive, particularly when it comes to adapting your business to align with current trends.
But there is a risk that as you delve deep into the data you could start to spot patterns that aren’t necessary. Different elements of data could lead to contradictions. As a result, your data could lead to you making changes that are far more complicated than they need to be.
That’s why we believe it’s important to use your common sense.
When you start to interpret your data, you need to make sure that you remember why you began looking at that data in the first place. Perhaps you want to establish why shoppers are failing to complete online transactions. Or maybe you want to know what’s causing a high level of bounce rates. Whatever the scenario, great CRO strategists will be able to combine the use of data with common sense and good judgement.
Do you have the right structure in place to interpret your data?
A final point to make about the use of data within conversion rate optimisation plans is that it is extremely easy to misinterpret data. Basing decisions upon wrong information can be catastrophic. Therefore, knowing how you plan to interpret your data to make immediate and long-term decisions is vital.
The use of data analytics within marketing and eCommerce strategies has only become prevalent in recent years. We now have access to a wealth of information (historical and real-time) that we could only have dreamt of just a few years ago. And more importantly, this abundance of data is now accessible to businesses of all sizes.
But this also means that your internal teams may not have the skills and capabilities to fully understand what data you have available. Many businesses are now turning to data analysts to work within marketing and sales teams, who know how to interpret data correctly. Recruiters are now heavily targeting those with maths or science or engineering backgrounds to work within digital marketing roles because they have the analytical skills to decipher data and predict trends.
But if this isn’t an option for you, then you may choose to work with an external partner who can provide you with impartial advice and also has the skills that you may be lacking in-house.
At Sherwen Studios, we have years of experience in seamlessly blending conversion rate optimisation plans into wider eCommerce and digital marketing strategies. Our team of experts can look at your website to establish how well your conversions are working and make recommendations for further improvements. We have the analytical skills to interpret your data and we can use this information to tie into your wider business strategy.
To find out more about our conversion rate optimisation services, or to find out more about our use of data analytics, please get in touch.