Conversion rate optimization

CRO Marketing: Increase conversions and grow your business


Did you know the average conversion rate for online stores is only 2%?

That means for every 100 visitors, only two people will actually place an order.

So, what does it take to get more of your website visitors to convert?

It takes a focus on conversion rate optimisation (CRO).

CRO marketing is all about working smarter rather than harder. By optimising your messaging, content or your page layouts, you can increase conversions by getting your visitors through a clear pathway to achieve your business goals.

In this article, you’ll learn how conversion rate optimisation (CRO) works, several actionable tips you can use to improve your conversions, and how Matomo helps you empower your decision-making to optimise conversion rates and meet your business goals.

What is conversion rate?

Before diving into conversion rate optimisation, let’s back up and talk about conversion rates.

Conversion rate is the percentage of your website visitors who complete a desired action. A conversion rate is found by taking the total number of people who convert (i.e., signing up to your email list) and dividing it by the overall number of people who visited your website. 

Your conversion rate is impacted by several factors, such as:

  • Design
  • Copywriting
  • Calls to action
  • Website speed
  • Relevant traffic
  • SEO
  • Your offer
  • Customer support

These are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to factors that impact your website’s conversion rate. There are dozens of components that work together that can either help or harm your website’s performance when it comes to CRO.

The question is, what is a good conversion rate?

How do you calculate conversion rate?

Now that you understand conversion rate, you may wonder how exactly to calculate it.

Simply put, it’s taking the total number of people who completed an action on your site and dividing it by the number of people exposed to the option to take that specific action. Once you have that number, multiply it by 100, and you have your conversion rate.

Example 1: Email sign-ups

Sally’s Sea Creature Website has an email sign-up landing page used to grow its email list so it can build a tighter relationship with its sea creature-loving audience.

In June, the company had 724 people visit that particular landing page. That month, 30 people subscribed to their email list through that form.

Here’s the calculation:

30 / 724 = 0.041

If you take 0.041 and multiply it by 100, you get 4.1%.

So, in this scenario, their email sign-up conversion rate for this landing page is 4.1%.

Example 2: Product purchases

Bob’s Bell Bottom Jeans is trying to sell more of its latest pair of bell-bottom jeans that feature Jimi Hendrix’s signature.

In August, they had 1,021 people view their Jimi Jeans product page. That month, they found that 17 people purchased the jeans for $129 a pair. 

Here’s the calculation:

17 / 1,021 = 0.0166

If you take 0.0166 and multiply it by 100, you get 1.6%.

So, in this scenario, Bob’s Jimi Jeans have a 1.6% conversion rate.

What is a good conversion rate?

Ecommerce conversion rates by industry

Now that you understand how to calculate conversion rate, let’s discuss what’s normal. Benchmarking your conversion rate is helpful to get a general idea of where you’re at so you can understand how well you’re doing compared to others in your industry.

As mentioned above, the average conversion rate is 2% for online stores. However, your conversion rate will vary depending on your industry.

Here are the average e-commerce conversion rates across different industries:

  • Food & Beverage: 7.90%
  • Home & Furniture: 1.37%
  • Beauty & Personal Care: 2.65%
  • Consumer Goods: 4.82%
  • Multi-Brand Retail: 4.14%
  • Fashion, Accessories, and Apparel: 3.20%
  • Luxury & Jewelry: 1.37%
  • Pet & Veterinary Services: 4.15%

What is conversion rate optimisation?

What is conversion rate optimisation?

When we talk about optimising websites to improve and increase conversions, we’re really talking about conversion rate optimisation (CRO).

Conversion rate optimisation (CRO) includes the processes and practices to increase the number of website visitors who take a desired action on your website to grow your business.

Your conversion rate is expressed as a percentage of people who take a desired action. Optimisation, however, includes the actions you take to increase how many people take those actions on your site.

The goal for any business should be to increase the percentage of conversions for any given goal. For instance, in February, a website had 200 newsletter sign-ups from 1,000 visitors on its sign-up page, a conversion rate of 20%. CRO should be used to increase the sign-up rate.

It’s the process of learning what the most valuable aspect of your website is and how to best optimise this for your visitors to increase its chance to convert. It typically involves generating ideas for elements on your site or app that can be improved, learning which pathways visitors will most likely take to conversion, and then validating those assumptions through A/B testing and multivariate testing to transform learning into actionable insights.

Why is CRO marketing important?

CRO marketing is a crucial aspect of running a successful business. Without it, your website and your business will be limited in its ability to grow, let alone maintain performance.

Here are a few reasons why it’s important to work on conversion rate optimisation marketing:

1. Expands your audience size

Without an audience, you won’t have a business. The most important factor in working on CRO marketing is that you’ll be able to use it to grow your audience.

By implementing the right growth tactics and optimising them, you’ll be able to expand your audience size. For instance, with CRO, you can improve how many people follow you on social media or sign up for your email list.

2. Improves the user experience

Your website is the epicentre of your digital marketing efforts. You can use CRO to improve the experience your customers have. 

For instance, with a simple navigation redesign on your website, you might find that your visitors are staying longer, visiting more pages and subscribing to your email list more.

3. Increases revenue

The biggest advantage of implementing CRO marketing is that you can improve your revenue. One of the most critical elements to optimise is for purchases. With CRO, you’ll be able to see what’s working and what’s not so you can improve the user experience, ultimately turning more visitors into customers.

4. Decrease acquisition costs

While many turn to conversion rate optimisation to generate more sales, one often overlooked benefit is how it can also help reduce expenses like acquisition costs. 

For instance, let’s say a dog collar business called Fred’s Furry Collars spends $15,000 per month on Facebook ads to get 120,000 visitors to their site per month. Of the 120,000 people who visited the site, 1,800 placed an order, resulting in $40,000 in revenue.

After working on improving the site’s conversion rate, they were able to increase it from 1.5% to 2.2%.

This meant they didn’t need to spend as much on Facebook ads to generate $40,000 in revenue. They didn’t need 120,000 visitors to get 1,800 sales. With a conversion rate of 2.2%, they only needed 82,000 visitors to reach 1,800 in sales to get $40,000.

This means Fred’s Furry Collars was able to reduce his Facebook ad spend from $15,000 by 30% to $10,500 per month to generate the same amount of revenue, saving him $4,500 per month, or $54,000 per year.

CRO Marketing: Best Practices

When it comes to CRO marketing, you need to consider two things:

  1. Your website or business’ objectives (bigger picture).
  2. Your website goals (smaller achievements).

Whatever the aim of your website, this must be your starting point. Figure out what you want your website to do and what you want visitors to get from it. When you do that, you’ll know what conversions to focus on.

1. Define your business/website’s objectives

Do you want the website to drive sales? Is the website a hub to raise awareness for a charity? Do you want to increase readership for your news site?

You need to write down your primary objectives, as these will guide your entire CRO initiatives.

2. Define what your conversion goals are

This helps you narrow your focus so you follow a path to meet your overall objectives. By defining these, you clarify the next actions you should take, such as wanting to funnel users through to a sign-up landing page. Then you’ll need to optimise and test your sign-up landing page. If conversions are low, tweak it and measure the results until you find you’ve increased conversion rates.

Conversion goals can include:

  • Purchases in your e-commerce store
  • eBook downloads
  • Sign-ups to your mailing list
  • Visitors successfully filling in a contact form

3. Determine your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Figure out what your KPIs are and the metrics you need to focus on to achieve them.

For instance, let’s say your conversion goal is to get more purchases in your e-commerce store. Some relevant KPIs might include:

  • Total site visits
  • Total revenue
  • Overall conversion rate
  • Conversion rate by category
  • Conversion rate by product
  • Paid ads (i.e., Facebook) conversion rate
  • Email campaign conversion rate

4. Always A/B Test

One of the foundational elements of CRO is A/B testing or split testing. This is a scientific marketing approach where you test what works and what doesn’t to improve your site.

A/B testing is the quickest way to improve your website rapidly.

Here’s an example of how you should constantly be running A/B tests to quickly optimise your site:

Let’s say you have an e-commerce store, and you want to improve the conversion rate of your main product.

Right now, your conversion rate is at 1.9%.

So, you decide to try using a different colour button for your call to action. You switch it from green to black.

One month later, your conversion rate is 2.1%. 

So, you stick with the new button colour.

Next, you decide to change the copywriting on the call to action from “Purchase” to “Buy Now.” 

But you notice your conversion rate dropped from 2.1% to 1.8%.

So, you switch it back to “Purchase,” and you’re getting 2.1% conversion rates again.

Next, you decide to add a few reviews right below your call to action. You see your conversion rate rise from 2.1% to 2.2%. 

Then, you add a video to your product photos as the featured media. But your conversion rate drops from 2.2% to 2.1%. So, you move the video to the last media slot, and you see your conversion rate not just return to normal at 2.2% but actually increase to 2.3%.

In the span of just a few months, you were able to improve your flagship product’s conversion rate from 1.9% to 2.3%. But it didn’t come without a few hiccups along the way. That’s what A/B testing is all about. Sometimes, changes will work, and sometimes, they’ll make things worse. Testing is the best way to find out what sticks and then build upon that.

In this example, let’s say this store owner gets 34,000 visits per month on his main product page, and his product is $40.

Before A/B testing, the owner generated 323 sales at a 1.9% conversion rate for a total revenue of $25,840.

A few months later, with a 2.3% conversion rate, the owner generated 391 sales for a total revenue of $31,280.

That’s over $5,000 in additional monthly revenue by making a few simple changes.

5. Let your data guide you

For numbers people, conversion rate optimisation is a natural extension of their regular thought processes. However, CRO marketing might feel pretty foreign if you’re not a numbers person. 

The only way to be truly effective with conversion rate optimisation is to stay focused strictly on your numbers. You need to let your data guide you. 

For example, let’s say you’re committed to updating your site to make improvements.

So, you spend 80 hours working on a new site design, and it looks beautiful. But, after looking at the numbers, you realised it lowered your conversion rate.

What do you do?

You need to revert to the higher performing version of your website design. No matter how much you think your design looks good, what matters most is that it improves the user experience and improves conversions.

When you use the data you have available to guide your decision-making, you’ll see better and faster results over time. Rather than relying on your feelings, the numbers don’t lie. They’ll tell you whether a site improvement was truly an improvement.

How to increase conversions with Matomo

  1. Set goals
  2. Heatmaps
  3. Session Recordings
  4. A/B test
  5. Form Analytics
  6. Funnels
  7. Behaviour

1. Set goals

“Make Sure Goals Are Clearly Understood. To prove the value of an analytics-focused company, any project you take on needs to have clear goals. If you don’t have a goal in mind you’ll fail. Everyone involved in the project needs to be aligned around the goals.”

A goal is the measure of a successful action that you want your visitors to take. The more goals you track, the more you can learn about behavioural changes as you implement and modify paths that lead to conversions over time.

With Matomo, you can quickly and easily set up custom goals to help you track and meet specific objectives within your business. Some examples of custom goals include online sales, lead generation, and brand exposure.

Matomo’s goals functionality helps you understand the types of visitors coming to your site, where they’re coming from, and why they’re converting (or not converting), so you can improve your site’s performance and grow your business.

Manage Goals screen in Matomo

You’ll understand which channels and campaigns (SEO, PPC, newsletter, blogging etc.) are converting the best for your business, which cities/countries are most popular, what devices are working and how engaged your visitors are before converting. Learn more

2. Set Heatmaps

This is vital to show how your visitors are engaging with your website, blog pages, signup and sales pages. If you want to learn how your visitors really engage with your website to increase conversions, Heatmaps lets you see the results visually without any guesswork.

Matomo's heatmaps feature

By showing where your visitors try to click, move the mouse or how far down they’re scrolling on each page, you can effortlessly discover how your visitors truly engage with your most important web pages. Rather than guessing, rely on facts to prove if the changes you make actually improve your website or not. Learn more

How to improve conversion rates with Heatmaps:

  • If you’ve got important information that will sell your service/product or bring you loyal followers, make sure it’s in the hot zones as shown in your heatmaps.
  • Try to rearrange parts of your pages to see if that increases engagement.
  • Make it easy for people to take important actions by having the CTA above-the-fold where 100% of visitors see it. Make sure you don’t clutter this section with too many messages or actions.
  • You can also identify areas to add links as heatmaps shows where people want to click.
  • Find what content is most popular on the page

3. Session Recordings

This is a conversion research technique where you learn what your users are trying to do and make sure your website is optimized to give them what they want. With Session Recordings you can playback all the interactions your visitors took on your website, such as clicks, mouse movements, scrolls, resizes, form interactions and page changes in a video. Truly understand how real visitors are using your website and what experiences they’re having.

Also, by understanding what’s working you’re increasing the usability of your website, Session Recordings allow you to identify problem areas as well as where users are getting stuck. Learn more

Session Recordings

How to improve conversion rates with Session Recordings: For example, on a product landing page, you see your visitor highlighting specific words and putting it into search. With this you can observe what they’re trying to find and what they’re actually interested in. As you tweak the page to ensure what the visitor wants can be easily found, you’re taking steps to increase the chance for more conversions.

4. A/B Testing

Test anything and test anywhere to increase your conversions. Grow your website by comparing different versions of your landing pages to determine what works best for your users. Subtle tweaks across different versions of your landing pages can have a significant impact on converting incoming traffic.

Matomo's a/b testing feature

The changes for each landing page could be:

  • A different headline
  • Less copy vs more copy
  • Different calls-to-action
  • Colour schemes, forms, fonts, links, testimonials,
  • Or, it could be an entirely different page layout altogether.

The idea is to see if either page A or page B (or C or D) was most successful in getting your visitors to the next step in the conversion funnel. Learn more

How Matomo used A/B Testing: For our sign up page we tested three different CTAs and found how phrasing words differently could help improve conversion rates. Both “Start improving your websites” and “Start converting more users now” were stronger CTAs and converted 7% more than, “Start my free 30-day trial”.

5. Form Analytics

Form Analytics gives you powerful insights into how your visitors interact with your forms (like cart, sign-up and checkout forms).

Form Analytics

Online forms can come in thousands of different variations. It’s an area on your website that if not done right, could lead to you missing out on converting a large portion of your visitors. Rely on facts when you change your forms. Learn more

How to improve conversion rates with Form Analytics: By proving whether your form is doing better when you change it and by how much. This lets you consistently increase form submission rates (conversions) on your website which is crucial to the success of your business.

6. Funnels

At a glance you will learn the steps (actions, events and pages) your users go through to the desired outcomes you want them to achieve whether it’s a sale, sign-up or any other particular goal you have defined.

Funnels feature

Using Funnel Analytics, you can look at the entire conversion funnel and focus on usability to identify where your visitors are having problems, where they aren’t understanding the flow of your webpages and identify obstacles that get in the way of your users reaching that end goal. Learn more

How to improve conversion rates with Funnels: Learn what makes your visitors take action (or what stops them) in progressing to the next step in the conversion funnel.  At each step, you’ll discover what content/layout resonates with your visitors and you can optimize your website to have the greatest impact on your business.

7. Behaviour

This is one of the most important features to help you optimize your website for conversions. Learning visitor behaviour is a driving force to increase conversions. How? It lets you identify where you could be taking action to increase conversions. You get to learn first-hand what content or feature on your site is or isn’t working for your visitors. 

Behaviour feature

Engagement is essential to help increase conversion rates. If your visitors aren’t interested in the content on your site, then there’s very little chance they’ll be interested in what you have to offer. Learn more.

How to improve conversion rates with Behaviour: Get started by reducing bounce rates on important pages, testing messaging on your most popular entry pages, testing on the highest exit pages to reduce visitors leaving the site, learning pathways through Users Flow and Transitions to see if users are taking pathways that lead them to conversions or are the journeys currently long or go in odd directions. Discover how your visitors are responding to your content. The happier your visitors are to stay on your site, the more likely they’ll be able to move through the journey to help you achieve the goals you’ve set for your site.

Do privacy-focused industries need conversion optimisation?

For industries that place extra emphasis on privacy and security, Matomo is a complete analytics tool that can cater for all your needs. You get the full benefits of a web analytics and conversion optimisation platform as well as peace of mind knowing Matomo places emphasis on security/privacy and adheres strictly to GDPR.

If you operate in a data sensitive industry like in government, healthcare, finance, education etc. you can rest assured knowing your user’s privacy is respected and that you will have 100% data ownership.

Other conversion optimisation metrics in Matomo to look at:

Get a good indication that your conversion optimisation efforts are working by knowing where to look and this starts by going through the metrics in your analytics. Below we list how you can make a start.

“Best” metrics are hard to determine so you’ll need to ask yourself what you want your site to do. How do you want your users to behave or what kind of customer journey do you want them to have?

You can start with:

  • Decreasing abandonment rate
  • Decreasing bounce rate
  • Increasing interactions per visit
  • Reducing exit rates on pages that significantly impact your visitors to leave your site
  • Constantly test and learn what content resonates with your visitors
  • Look to advance more users through each stage of the conversion funnel
  • Improve your forms to increase submission rates
  • Always improve the conversion rate % for your goals e.g. if you currently have a 5% conversion rate for selling a product, aim for 10%; if 30% of your visitors are downloading your e-book, then aim for 40%, then 50% and so on.

Through optimizing your messaging, content or your page layouts, you will increase conversions by getting your visitors through a clear pathway to meet your website’s goal.

Start optimising your conversion rate with Matomo

Matomo is an ideal choice for marketers looking for an easy-to-use, out-of-the-box web analytics solution that delivers accurate insights while keeping privacy and compliance at the forefront.

Matomo’s CRO features, including Session Recording, Heatmaps, and Form Analytics, empower users to gain deep insights into user behaviour, enhance website user experiences and optimise marketing efforts for increased conversion rates.

Start your 21-day free trial of Matomo now. No credit card required.

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Get started with Matomo

A powerful web analytics platform that gives you and your business 100% data ownership and user privacy protection.

No credit card required.

Free forever.