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How Marketing & IT Work Together for Conversion Rate Optimization

A quick search engine query for “conversion rate optimization” yields a lot of results (more than 3.6 million on Google). Certainly, there is no shortage of blogs, infographics, and guides offering to help to boost conversion rates. So, with this wealth of information, is there a proven formula to reach the conversion of the promised land? The answer – No.

What is conversion rate optimization?

Conversion rate optimization is simply too broad in nature to be easily defined. The term represents a host of different contexts which vary given the nature of a specific business.

A conversion occurs when a user executes a desired interaction with your online application. Basic examples include: signing up for an eBook or adding an item to a shopping cart. The greater the number of conversions, the higher the conversion rate – and that’s a good thing.

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is a term to describe the process and strategy employed to improve the frequency of conversions among app users. The term is vague, but for our purpose, conversion rate optimization equates to how a company plans to boost vital user engagement.

CRO is distinct from the older, less sophisticated method of building success online: increasing traffic. Today, those responsible for online apps balance efforts to increase traffic with CRO, the efforts to make the most of the traffic they have

Who owns conversion rate optimization?

Conversion optimization is largely seen as the marketer’s domain, especially in the eCommerce industry. The majority of prescriptive content available to ‘improve conversions’ will focus on pages straight out of the digital marketer’s engagement playbook: A|B testing, tweaking calls-to-action (CTAs), improving shopping cart design, etc. All are tactics to improve user experience and increase the likelihood of a conversion.

Here is the problem. Marketing departments work hard to curate a perfectly optimized on-page experience for users, but, on-page optimizations are only half the picture. Application performance is an equally, if not more, important component of user engagement. Today, users are impatient. If an app fails to load or is unbearably slow, users will bounce, scuttling any chance for conversion. Poor performance is a conversion killer, just look at the statistics:

  • 1-second decrease in page-load time can cause a 7% loss in conversions (Aberdeen Group)
  • A 100-millisecond delay in page rendering time resulted in a 1% loss of sales (Amazon)

Marketing needs help from IT

Traditionally, it is the IT department that owns app performance. IT will track performance metrics like uptime and page-load speed. For IT, success is based on whether these performance metrics correlate to customer satisfaction and engagement. These goals are very similar to those of the marketers working on the front end. And yet in many organizations, the efforts of the two departments are not officially aligned. They are working for the same overarching purpose – improving customer experience – but do not collaborate.

Instead of operating in silos, IT and marketing departments must join together to meet user expectations and drive engagement. When done successfully, the results are impressive. Looking to boost engagement, retail giant Walmart found a one-second improvement in page speed and increased conversions 2%.

There is no perfect formula for conversion rate optimization. A winning strategy is unique to a business and requires that all actors involved be on the same page. Without alignment efforts to improve conversion rates are ineffective and can even be counterproductive. Start by defining your users and benchmarking current conversion metrics. From this foundation, build a clear understanding on what steps are needed to improve user engagement with your application. When marketing and IT departments work in unison to master user engagement, conversion rates will soar.

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