Conversion Rate Optimisation in 2014

Conversion rate optimisation is one of a selection of buzz-words being used by digital agencies to part clients with money in 2014.

In the drive to get more bang for buck, companies are trying the squeeze the most from every visit and visitor. It’s vital we don’t leak valuable PPC and banner budget, and over the last decade “Conversion Rate Optimisation” has grown from early experiments in user-experience to a fully-fledged industry worth billions.

It’s not new, it’s just a new(ish) acronym for what all marketers have done for years. It is not the answer to everything either.

However, no other KPI encapsulates all the important components of a digital strategy – from load-speed, mobileness, UX, call-to-actions, SEO, traffic value and … effectiveness. For many it’s the holy grail and, used properly, it offers a unique way of slicing performance data. Used incorrectly and it will cause mayhem and disorder.

Most companies focus on a small number of conversion metrics – typically cost per enquiry looms largest in a marketers mind. As part of a basket its good, but by itself its a poor approach. Firstly, most paid traffic is driven via the auction that is PPC – and the huge, open, competition for terms makes it difficult to generate any level of sustained performance increase.

Your competition will watch your moves and mirror them, driving up the cost for everyone. The only winner is Google who gets to charge upwards of £5 or £10 for every click. Additionally, in the longer term, your company is probably looking for sustained growth but, as traffic cost is unleveraged, the costs simply spiral – often out of control. Frequently to the detriment of your customers, the real heart of the business.

Conversion in 2014 then has a slightly different shape. Unless you’re selling a wam-bam-thank-you-mam product, its about commercially sustainable customer engagement and long-term customer value. Both of these is achieved through education, common values and shared goals.