Four Key Takeaways from the Conversion Elite Conference


I attended the first ever Conversion Elite conference down in London on Thursday 6th July. Speakers included the legendary Craig Sullivan, Tim Stewart, Arnout Hellemans, Stephen Pavlovich as well as many more.

Here, I’ve provided four key takeaways from the conference that you can use yourself.

1. Craig Sullivan: Don’t just jump straight into testing when your site has multiple usability fixes

In his brilliant, funny talk titled ‘We were promised jetpacks’ Craig complained that too many websites are broken or otherwise have issues which cause so many problems for prospective customers, preventing them from finding products or even entering their details to purchase.

You would never find the door jammed on the entrance to a high street store stopping customers from coming in. So, why don’t we treat our sites with the same care and level of respect?

At Banc, at the beginning of any CRO project when performing the research period during which we plan out all future testing activity, we sort all of these issues into a ‘direct amend’ pile which are to be fixed as a matter of priority. There’s no point testing something that’s obviously broken. Just get it fixed.

web usability

2. Tim Stewart: Configure your Analytics properly to best measure your tests

Tim, in his talk ‘Test with Intelligence, using data for decisive testing’ explained the benefits of setting up Analytics in order to measure your tests properly. Without doing this, it’s impossible to say if a test has succeeded or failed.

It’s a fact of life that 99% of Google Analytics accounts are set up incorrectly. That’s why at the start of any campaign, we spend a huge amount of time configuring and setting them up just to provide accurate benchmarks.

We all sometimes forget that it’s also important to closely consider intent when users arrive on your site. Some users will arrive at your site through keywords or methods that suggest they have no intention of converting e.g. job searches. If we measure these as part of our overall conversion rate then we’re fighting a losing battle.

3. John Woods: Optimising sites with low volume, high-value conversions

Not every site we work on has hundreds of thousands of monthly sessions on which to test. A number of our clients are focused on B2B audiences and therefore convert once or twice a month at most from a relatively small number of visitors.

In this case, it would take months to run statistically significant tests – so what should we do in these instances?

The answer is a simple one. Don’t test. For these kinds of sites, it’s perfectly valid to run a dedicated research period to identify users, their motivations and what they like and dislike about your site. From this, you can plan out all the recommended changes based on ‘best practices’ and ease of use and simply make the changes observing how it affects conversions after implementation.

As mentioned above, removing certain groups of users from your data such as job seekers, competitors and tyre kickers allows conversions to be measured much more accurately making your job a lot easier.

Finally, with B2B customers you can often see vast differences in the value of one to another – e.g. one customer may be worth £1,000, another worth £100,000. Optimising for 10 low-value customers doesn’t make sense in this context when you can tailor your activity to that one high-value customer which makes it much more valuable.

conversion rate optimization

4. Arnout Hellemans: Checkout Optimisation

Linking back to Craig Sullivan’s talk – Arnout explained that we put so much effort into optimising all areas of our sites only for people to fail on the absolute step: the checkout.

This is perhaps the worst thing that can happen, as a customer reaching this step has done the most difficult thing – decided to purchase and yet checkouts are littered with errors or problems that stop people being able to checkout.

Luckily, the checkout is one of the easiest areas you can improve with small usability tweaks.

Here are some things to do:

  • Inform customers of accepted payment options as soon as possible
  • Speed
  • Fix loading issues
  • Add images of the product to reinforce the user’s decision to purchase
  • Fix form validation errors
  • More speed
  • Add trust labels to your checkout – number of customers served and age of your company for example
  • State delivery times clearly
  • Clearly show the returns policy
  • Auto fill – Android & iOS both allow you to pull a customer’s stored information straight into forms meaning they have less to fill in. Apple Pay can be integrated into websites to bypass the payment step entirely.
  • Even more speed!

Speed is obviously an important factor – not just on your checkout but sitewide. Slow loading sites are one of the leading causes of drop offs on sites.

One thing you can take advantage of now on Chrome is preconnect, prefetch and prerender functionality. This allows you to preload subsequent steps in the checkout funnel while the user is filling in their information. This means that when they click the ‘next step’ CTA the content loads instantaneously. Brilliant for cutting down frustration. Be warned, however, that implementing these methods causes network use to rise. Abusing this to pre-load every page on a site might not be appreciated by your customers when they see their data bills.

Conversion Elite returns in November, this time in Manchester.

Alternatively, if you’re interested in talking to our CRO experts about ways we can help you improve your conversions get in touch with Adam Morrell on 0161 869 0427

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Anita Pun