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Jay Radia Founder & CEO Yieldify

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

Today, most marketers consider conversion rate optimization 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? Well to answer that, first let’s take a step back - thinking about your journey to work today, how would you rate it out of 10? I’ve asked this same question to lots of people, and I rarely see many high scores. Sure, people get to work, but the journey could always be better, right? Maybe. 

So what does this have to do with CRO? If we think about the digital equivalent of this example, a visitor trying to get somewhere or buy something on your e-commerce website, it helps explain exactly what’s wrong with conversion rate optimization -  it’s good… but it’s an oversimplification.

Let’s take another example. McKinsey found that executives at a media company were facing a 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 like discounting and upgrades were costing a lot, yet still weren’t enough to stem the customer exodus (sound familiar?). 

The company examined everywhere that 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 real problem. While an individual phone call went well, a customer was having to make three calls just to resolve their issue. The customer journey was poor, even if the individual touch points were good, and even if the customer eventually got what they needed.

So how does this help answer our question? Only optimizing for the end result - in the case of CRO, conversions -  means you lose sight of the journey. And like the media company, practising ‘CRO as usual’ could end up negatively impacting your business in the long term. So what’s the alternative? Enter, Customer Journey Optimization (CJO): a data-driven approach to improving the whole journey to get more conversions. Let’s take a look at the differences between CRO and CJO:

When it comes to 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 weak strategy. CJO can also help increase your chances of selling to a new customer - 78% of US consumers report having abandoned due to a poor customer experience, and a good experience also means you’re more likely to sell to your existing customers again. 

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.