As part of an in-house and drastically overworked marketing team, conversion rate optimization was nothing more than some added fun on the side at first. Which was kinda sad because it was a huge passion of mine. I love design, psychology, and science and CRO seemed to wrap all that together. The fact I could also tell upper management their idea sucked by yelling “Let’s test that!” just happened to be the cherry on top. No more would opinions get in the way, only science in this work environment!
“Yeah! Let’s Test That”
It wasn’t until after the honeymoon period of learning CRO I found there was a serious problem though. As a newcomer it’s hard to break into the space, and even when you do it’s so easy to do everything wrong. If you don’t follow the right process, or challenge what your data is telling you it’s just a waste of time. And sure, I did all the reading online, listened to podcasts and watched all the keynotes from Oli Gardner to Peep Laja. I even completed the ConversionXL Certified Optimizer program (160+ hours *phew*). But something just wasn’t clicking—for something so scientific, why was it so difficult and time consuming to maintain a scientific workflow?
Most notably, I didn’t even bother to record the results from the experiments I ran (dare I say for two years). All the testing data was either buried under more data in tools like Optimizely and Unbounce, or it was deleted to make room for new seemingly useless data. It wasn’t until Unbounce featured one of my pages in their lookbook and asked for the stats. I mean, I think it started around a 20% click-through-rate? Or maybe it was 23%? I’m not entirely sure, but it’s gone through about 10 revisions, or maybe 15? Either way, it’s at 63% now. That’s all that matters right?
Clearly, I had some issues with archiving my data. Whenever something new came along, I just threw out the old data and moved on.
Okay, great. So now that we’ve determined I suck at maintaining workflows and archiving data–what do other markers do? Well, it turns out they all use Excel or Google Docs–and there is NO way I’m going to create a spreadsheet and keep track of hundreds of tests. Of course, after the denial set in, I reluctantly convinced myself I’d be happy using a spreadsheet and ended up creating this work of historic art:
Now, I’ve been proud of a lot of spreadsheets over the years. I’ve done some pretty impressive financial models and auto-quote sheets if I do say so myself. But, I’m a bit ashamed to have you judge me on the one above. It’s rather, unattractive and overwhelming to say the least. I was however, highly successful in turning a bunch of ugly data into a giant pile of color-coded ugly data.
So after avoiding my newly created spreadsheet, I started searching online for the perfect CRO archiving tool that Google would surely send my way. So I was sad when Google showed me nothing that met my needs. The only tools available were primitive project-management focused tools, and they only dealt with website optimization. But what about all the other types of optimization: landing pages, emails, ads, social media, apps and everything else? As a marketer, I wanted something that fit all my needs.
After being shocked there wasn’t anything to meet my needs, I just started envisioning what actually made sense to me. Speaking to colleagues and other marketers I also quickly learnt I wasn’t the only one having this issue. So one day I just said Fine, I’ll just create my own then.
After some painstaking research and putting way too many sticky notes on my wall (really, ask any of my friends), I came up with the following biggest challenges from my first two years in CRO:
My 3 Biggest Challenges in CRO
(1) Managing a CRO Workflow
Conversion optimization is a process more than anything. It’s the scientific method applied to testing human behavior in a digital environment. I needed a tool that made it easy to manage this process from idea creation, prioritization and testing. Whether it be for websites, landing pages, or Facebook Ads, the platform should be flexible in how it handles projects and campaigns.
(2) Archiving & Analyzing A/B Test Data
Test results should always be archived and conclusions should be easily referenced. Having results in different CRO tools is useless when you’re comparing the impact on a single funnel, campaign, or having to reset data before starting a new test. I needed one place to house all my data and findings.
(3) Tracking Progress & Sharing Results
Showing the long-term value of CRO is a loaded topic. Being able to properly track progress, share results and nurture a testing culture has huge value. I needed somewhere to easily track how my efforts affected the KPIs I’m judged on.
Since identifying these core needs in late 2016, our team has been eagerly developing the platform. We’ve had an overwhelmingly positive response, and marketers can’t wait to test the platform first. We’re excited to bring this to market and help those new to CRO avoid the same mistakes we made. Our only hope is that when you get featured in the Unbounce look book that you have a track record of what you did to get to that 63% click-through rate.
So if you’re a marketer facing similar challenges, hang on, we’re almost ready to launch. Head over to Cronotes and learn how we hope to solve managing your CRO workflow, archiving A/B test results, and showcasing your findings.
We’re a small self-funded startup based in Vancouver, Canada. So be sure to follow us and share with anyone else you think we can help. We need the support of this community to truly make a difference.
Thanks for reading!