TL;DR: What is Conversion Rate Optimization?

Conversion Rate Optimization, often abbreviated as CRO, is the practice of increasing the percentage of website visitors who take a desired action on a webpage or “convert” as we Marketers like to say. This action could range from making a purchase, filling out a form, signing up for a newsletter, or engaging with site content in a meaningful way. Many marketing leaders focus their attention on widening the funnel and increasing their volume of traffic, but by optimizing for conversions, businesses can enhance the value they receive from their audience without needing to increase traffic, thus making better use of existing resources.

Why is Conversion Rate Optimization important?

Competition for your audience’s attention is fierce and Conversion Rate Optimization is a critical step to attracting and retaining your share-of-market. It not only improves the efficiency and effectiveness of your website, but also unearths insights about your audience. When a website is optimized for conversions, every visitor is more likely to take the desired action, which in turn, contributes to the business's goals. It not only reflects on the bottom line, but also on user satisfaction and engagement.

How to calculate Conversion Rate?

Calculating the Conversion Rate is straightforward—you divide the number of conversions by the total number of visitors and then multiply the result by 100 to get the percentage. This percentage, the Conversion Rate, serves as a measure of your site’s effectiveness in leading visitors to the desired action. Monitoring this rate over time can provide valuable insights into how well your optimization efforts are faring, and where there might be room for improvement. 

The journey towards effective Conversion Rate Optimization involves several elements. It begins with understanding your audience's behavior and preferences. Data analysis and user feedback play crucial roles in forming a clear picture of what works and what doesn’t on your website. Furthermore, creating compelling and clear Calls-to-Action (CTAs), designing intuitive navigation, and providing value through content are indispensable components of CRO. Every touchpoint on a website should be scrutinized for its potential to drive conversions, making CRO a comprehensive, ongoing process rather than a one-time task.

Benefits of Conversion Rate Optimization

The advantages of Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) extend beyond merely boosting conversion rates.

Stronger ROI 

CRO is a pathway to achieving a better return on investment (ROI) for every other marketing channel you’re engaged in—whether it’s advertising, SEO, email, or any other growth strategy. The web interactions that these channels generate can all be optimized by closely analyzing a user’s process and making it better. As for ROI, most marketing leaders are willing to spend immensely on their growth channels, but far less likely to put forward the comparatively minimal efforts and resources into CRO—a critical mistake. 

Valuable user insights

The data collected through CRO efforts provides invaluable insights into user behavior and preferences. Nearly every aspect of a website can be tested, from core brand messaging to a CTA’s button placement and the learnings gained can teach you what your audience cares most about. For example, you could create three nearly identical pages, but with one single benefit statement swapped out for each page. By running traffic to these three pages, you can identify the “winner” and proceed with confidence in that messaging.

Increased user engagement

A website optimized for conversions invariably cultivates a more engaging user experience. By aligning webpage elements with user expectations and preferences, businesses increase the likelihood of interaction and engagement. Increased engagement often translates to higher conversion rates as visitors find value and relevance in the content and offers presented to them.


CRO lays the foundation for scalability. As conversion rates improve, marketing teams can expand their operations with the confidence that their digital assets are optimized to deliver desired outcomes. Marketers are often asked to “do more with less” and while this can often be an unfair request, CRO stretches a marketing team’s capabilities.

Getting Started with Conversion Rate Optimization 

Embarking on the journey of Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) requires a blend of analytical and creative approaches. Starting with a solid understanding of your audience and the goals of your website, you pave the way for a structured and impactful optimization process.

Selecting Tools

There are many tools that can help you conduct successful Conversion Rate Optimization campaigns. Many testing tools are already embedded into marketing software you likely use (your marketing automation platforms, advertising platforms, or website CMS). Here are some of the most popular tools:

  • Unbounce - Unbounce is a landing page platform with a user-friendly drag-and-drop interface. It helps marketers create and customize landing pages without the need for coding skills and it also has a range of customizable templates to help marketers save time. Unbounce has straightforward A/B testing capabilities, enabling users to experiment with different page variations and identify the most effective designs.
  • VWO (Visual Website Optimizer) - More than just an A/B testing platform, VWO offers a wide range of testing options, including split URL testing and multivariate testing, providing Marketers with the flexibility to experiment with different aspects of their websites. VWO's emphasis on personalization and targeting sets it apart, allowing marketers to tailor experiences based on user behavior and characteristics.
  • Hotjar - Unlike some analytics tools that primarily focus on quantitative data, Hotjar combines features such as heatmaps, session recordings, and surveys. This integration allows marketers to gain a deep qualitative understanding of how users interact with their websites. The platform provides visual insights, allowing you to see where visitors click, move, and engage the most on a website through heatmaps, and it goes further by offering session recordings for a granular view of individual user journeys.
  • Optimizely - Optimizely sets itself apart is its focus on experimentation at a larger scale, allowing marketers to test and iterate on a wide range of digital experiences, from websites and mobile apps to backend features. The platform provides a feature-rich experimentation environment, supporting A/B testing, multivariate testing, and split testing. Its emphasis on feature management and rollout control distinguishes it, enabling organizations to deploy new features progressively.

Selecting Highest-Impact Test Pages

It’s essential to begin testing pages that have both a significant amount of traffic and the greatest ability to impact on your company’s bottom-line. If you choose pages that rarely see traffic, it could take weeks or even months before the data you collect is conclusive. If you focus on pages that don't have a direct impact on your marketing goals, it could be difficult to obtain buy-in for future testing. Generally speaking, the following opportunities are great places to start:

  • Homepage: The majority of any website’s traffic will find its way to the homepage. “Don’t judge a book by its cover” doesn’t apply to websites—the first  impression of a homepage and its ease-of-use will likely determine a user’s overall impression of a business. Critical elements worth testing include the homepage’s first Call-to-Action, its content “above the fold”, and the main navigation.
  • Conversion Page: For B2B companies, this could be a demo page or a contact form page. For B2C companies, this could be a product page or the shopping cart experience. Marketers should conduct tests that remove as much friction as possible between a user and a conversion. Most often, we recommend testing the removal of elements before adding anything new to a page as most websites need simplification.
  • Landing Page: Landing pages are most often used for advertising, but can also be used for events, webinars, PR, or SEO campaigns. In any case, landing pages are perfect for CRO because of how customizable they usually are—they often don’t require any coding or development expertise. (This is why many CRO platforms also offer landing page creation.) Landing pages are usually designed for a quick micro-conversion such as a signup for a webinar, a newsletter, or an event. Thus, marketers should focus their tests on the most important conversion elements of these pages: the CTAs, the forms, and benefit-centric messaging.
  • Blog/Content Template: Depending on your organic strategy, blog content may be the top source of your upper-funnel traffic. Yet, this content also has a very high exit rate. The goal of your blog-related CRO campaigns is to increase your pages per session—leading readers to at least one more page after the blog post they’ve found. Tests should include more prominent CTAs, earlier in the blog’s copy—often above the fold. In addition, CTAs should lead users to content that is topically related to the blog post they’re currently reading. Conducting CRO tests on blog posts can be especially rewarding as most tests can be successfully rolled out to all other content pieces.

Making Hypotheses

After selecting CRO tools as well as the pages you would like to test, it’s time to make educated guesses about what will increase your conversion rate. We encourage marketers to write hypothesis statements like this:

  • By changing the “Let’s Talk” button in the main navigation to “Contact Us”, we hypothesize that we will see an increase in click-through rates to the Contact Us page.
  • By adding “Free Shipping on orders above $50” above the “Add to Cart Button” on our product pages, we will see an increase in add-to-cart rates.
  • By removing the Phone Number field on our Contact Us page, we hypothesize that we will see an increase in the conversion rate on our form.
  • By adding a “Similar Content” carousel above the fold on every blog post page, we hypothesize that we will see an increase in our pages-per-session on all blog posts.

Writing these statements will ensure that every test has a specific metric of measurement, and that success is clearly defined. It will also help you understand your priorities—if not all of these tests can be conducted at once, listing them will help you know which tests matter most to your company’s bottom line.

A/B Testing

A/B testing stands as a cornerstone in the realm of CRO. It involves comparing two versions of a webpage to see which one performs better in terms of conversions. It’s critical to only change one element of the test page at a time, ensuring you know what specifically led to the results of your test. That said, you can select one element of a page (a CTA button’s copy, for example) and send traffic to 5 or 6 pages with different variations of that copy. After your test period is over, you will have a clearer idea of which messages were most successful.

Multivariate Testing

Multivariate testing helps marketers systematically evaluate and optimize multiple elements on a webpage simultaneously. This approach involves testing various combinations of changes to elements like headlines, images, and call-to-action buttons to discern the most effective combination for improving conversions. Multivariate testing is particularly beneficial when marketers seek to understand how different elements interact with each other and impact user behavior. However, it may not be the ideal choice for smaller-scale campaigns or when there's a need for quick insights, as multivariate testing requires a larger sample size to yield statistically significant results.

Improving CTAs and forms

The efficacy of your Calls-to-Action (CTAs) and forms significantly influences the conversion rate. A clear, compelling CTA can guide your visitors smoothly along the conversion path. It's imperative to use persuasive, action-oriented language, and a design that stands out yet remains cohesive with the overall site aesthetics. Similarly, forms should be intuitive, easy to fill out, and only ask for necessary information to reduce friction and encourage completion. A blend of compelling design, clear instructions, and an assurance of value or security can significantly elevate the performance of your CTAs and forms.

Utilizing social proof and lead magnets

Social proof and lead magnets are potent tools in the CRO toolkit. Displaying testimonials, reviews, or social shares can build trust and persuade visitors to take the desired action. Lead magnets, on the other hand, offer something of value in exchange for contact information or other actions. Crafting enticing lead magnets that address your audience’s needs or pain points, and showcasing authentic social proof, can drastically improve your conversion rates.

Optimizing site speed and landing pages

Speed is of the essence. A slow-loading site can deter visitors and impede conversions. It's crucial to optimize site speed by minimizing HTTP requests, optimizing images, and leveraging browser caching among other tactics. Similarly, landing pages should be optimized for clarity, value proposition, and a clear path to conversion. A well-designed, fast-loading landing page that resonates with the visitor’s intent and provides a seamless user experience can significantly boost conversions.

Conversion Rate Optimization for PPC 

Pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns are a significant driver of traffic. However, attracting visitors is only part of the equation. Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) tailored for PPC campaigns is crucial to ensure that the traffic translates into desired actions.

Aligning PPC campaigns with landing pages for better conversions

A harmonized experience between PPC ads and the landing pages they lead to is essential for high conversion rates. Ensure that the messaging is consistent and that the landing page delivers on the promises made in the ad. A clear and compelling value proposition, coupled with a straightforward call to action, can significantly enhance the likelihood of conversions. Additionally, optimizing the landing page for speed, mobile responsiveness, and user-friendly navigation further supports a seamless user journey from the ad click to conversion.

The best conversion tracking methods for PPC campaigns

Effective conversion tracking is paramount to measure the ROI of your PPC campaigns accurately. Utilize tracking tools and features provided by PPC platforms, such as Google Ads Conversion Tracking or Facebook Pixel. Implement tracking codes correctly on your website, and define conversion goals clearly. Analyzing the conversion data in conjunction with ad performance metrics provides a holistic view of your PPC campaign effectiveness. Over time, this analysis will guide data-driven optimizations to both your ads and landing pages, fostering better conversion rates and campaign ROI.

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) stands as a pivotal process in bolstering the effectiveness of your online presence. By honing in on user behavior and preferences, marketers can significantly enhance their site's ability to turn visitors into customers. 


What is Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)?

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is a systematic process aimed at increasing the percentage of website visitors who take a desired action, such as making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or filling out a contact form.

Why is CRO important for my business?

CRO is essential as it helps maximize the value of your existing traffic, improve user experience, and enhance the ROI of your marketing efforts without the need to increase your advertising spend.

How is the Conversion Rate calculated?

The Conversion Rate is calculated by dividing the number of conversions by the total number of visitors to your website and then multiplying the result by 100 to obtain a percentage.

What tools are recommended for CRO?

Some popular CRO tools include Google Analytics, Hotjar, Optimizely, and Unbounce. These tools provide insights into user behavior, facilitate A/B testing, and help analyze conversion data.

What are some common methods used in CRO?

Common methods include A/B testing, multivariate testing, usability testing, and creating compelling calls to action. Additionally, improving site speed, mobile responsiveness, and utilizing user feedback are vital for CRO.

How do I start with A/B testing?

Begin by identifying key pages or elements on your website that could influence conversions. Develop hypotheses, design tests, collect and analyze data, and then implement changes based on the insights garnered.

What is the role of landing pages in CRO?

Landing pages play a crucial role in CRO as they are often the first point of interaction with potential customers. Optimizing landing pages for clarity, relevance, and ease of action can significantly boost conversion rates.

How can I improve my calls to action (CTAs)?

Enhancing CTAs involves using persuasive, action-oriented language, making them visually prominent, and ensuring they clearly communicate the value proposition to encourage users to take the desired action.

How does mobile optimization impact CRO?

With a significant portion of internet usage on mobile devices, mobile optimization is crucial for CRO. It ensures a seamless user experience, which in turn, positively impacts conversion rates.

How do I measure the success of my CRO efforts?

Success in CRO is typically measured by monitoring key metrics such as conversion rates, user engagement rates, bounce rates, and the ROI of marketing campaigns. Utilizing analytics tools and continuously analyzing performance data will provide insights into the effectiveness of your CRO strategies.