What’s wrong with conversion rate optimisation (CRO)?

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Daniella Gregory, Global Partnerships Director at Yieldify discusses the evolution of CRO.

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Yieldify work with online brands to deliver website conversions by rescuing abandoned carts and driving lead generation through on-site personalisation and email retargeting. Sponsor of Awin’s one-day affiliate marketing conference, The Affiliate Code this June, Yieldify’s Global Partnerships Director, Daniella Gregory discusses the evolution of CRO ahead of their Diversification session at the event.

The majority of today's marketers consider conversion rate optimisation as a ‘crucial’ part of their marketing strategy, yet according to a survey by Econsultancy many are increasingly dissatisfied with the results they’re seeing. So what’s wrong?

Let’s take a step back into the offline world and look at an example that illustrates a poor customer journey that I’m sure we’ve all experienced - the call centre. McKinsey were employed to help executives at a media company facing an escalating problem - customers were leaving at an alarming rate. The rise of new technology, and with it an increasingly competitive market, were sounding the death knell, and common tactics such as discounting and upgrades were costing a lot, yet still weren’t enough to stem the customer exodus (sound familiar?).

The company examined every avenue where customers interacted with them, but still couldn’t figure it out: after all, every single touchpoint had a good satisfaction score. Digging into the data revealed the underlying problem: while an individual phone call went well, a customer was having to make three calls just to resolve their issue. The overall customer journey was poor, even if the individual touchpoints were good and customers eventually sourced what they needed.



So what does any of this have to do with CRO? By optimising only for the end result - in the case of CRO, conversions – you lose sight of the collective journey, and this can have a damaging long-term impact. With the example of the media company, affiliates practising ‘CRO as usual’ could end up negatively impacting business in the long term.

When looking at an alternative, Customer Journey Optimisation (CJO) is a data-driven approach dedicated to improving the whole journey to get more conversions. There are a few key differences between CRO and CJO that empower marketers to be more innovative, and diversify their approach.

The goal of CRO centres on conversion whilst CJO focuses on a data-driven understanding of the visitor. Because CJO is built around understanding the customer journey - who they are, where they’ve come from, and why they’re there - marketers are empowered to create contextually-relevant messages that add value to the customer experience, rather than the traditional ‘line of best fit’ approach seen with CRO.

The results of CRO vs. CJO are pretty different too. CRO may improve conversion, however, this is a short-term win, and could potentially compromise the customer experience. CJO on the other hand, offers the best of both worlds: you get the conversion, and the visitor gets a better experience, laying the groundwork for increasing customer lifetime value.

When it comes to measuring the success of CJO over CRO, the numbers speak for themselves. As marketers are well aware, customers no longer see individual touchpoints in isolation, so companies with strong omnichannel strategies retain an average of 89% of their customers versus just 33% for those with a weak strategy.

CJO can also help increase new customer acquisition - 78% of US consumers report having abandoned due to a poor customer experience, and a good experience also means you’re more likely to encourage repeat purchase from existing customers.

So what’s wrong with CRO? Nothing, at face-value, but next time you’re considering that quick win, or come across an issue with your customer experience think about digging a little deeper - it could be an opportunity to create a better customer journey, for you and your visitors.

Join Yieldify’s session at The Affiliate Code on June 14th and hear more about CJO, including a 5-step plan to getting started, as part of the Diversification stream afternoon sessions. You can also book your free CJO consultation here.

Register for The Affiliate Code here

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