Conversion Optimization Requires A/B and Multivariate Testing

Conversion Optimization is a hot topic in Internet marketing these days.

And so it should be. Widening your lead generation and sales funnel can earn you a much greater revenue

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lift than many other activities. The math is compelling.

Let’s say you have a 2 percent conversion rate and, with conversion optimization, can increase it to 4 percent. You would get the same revenue result as you would get by doubling your advertising budget. But you wouldn’t need to double your budget. Conversion optimization gives you free leads and sales!

Seems like a no-brainer, right?

The trouble today is that many people have got conversion optimization confused with “Best Practice” website changes. Relying on recommendations, expert opinion and gut feeling may put you in a worse position than doing nothing at all.

“Best Practices” are Not Best

The advocates of “Best Practices” are probably selling you their consulting service. Okay, that may

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be a pessimistic view but, in my years of testing experience, many of those very consultants’ recommendations have proven to be untested.

For example, some conversion consultants will recommend making your security badges as prominent as possible. After all, they’ll say, “you’re paying for them, so you might as well make them obvious.”

Others will recommend high-impact feature offers on your home page and category pages to highlight special offers and messages. Should you use a rotating product or offer gallery, for example? If you haven’t tested it, that may seem like the best way to use your scarce space on your key pages.

How do you know if that’s good advice? Well, we’ve tested it.

In some cases and in some places within the conversion funnel, adding security icons helps, but

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tests have shown that making security badges too prominent can reduce conversion rates and sales!

We have also found optimized methods for presenting offers that are much better than rotating galleries. Rotating images and flash animation on home pages will hurt your conversion rate.

Those are conclusions you may not be able to guess without controlled testing.

The only best practice I can recommend is to test your best practices. You may be surprised.

You can also explore the worlds largest free repository of conversion optimization and landing page optimization case studies. It’s filled with B2B, B2C, e-commerce, lead gen and affiliate examples.

Chris Goward is chief executive of WiderFunnel Marketing Optimization and spoke about multivariate testing and conversion and landing page optimization at Pubcon Las Vegas 2011. Read Chris Goward’s full Pubcon speaker biography here.