Skip to main content

5 Lessons We've Learned From Conversion Rate Optimization

When it comes to Conversion Rate Optimization, not only do you learn about what works best for your audience and conversion rate (obviously), but you also learn what doesn’t work. Not every test you run is going to be a slam dunk, that’s just a part of the process. You will fail a few times and probably a few more times after that. The good thing about this failure is that there are lessons you can take with you moving forward.

Below, our CRO experts at Marcel Digital put together a quick list of lessons that we have learned from our previous tests on our client’s websites and our own website. We hope that when you begin Conversion Rate Optimization that you will not only take these lessons with you moving forward, but we also hope that you will regroup with your team and discuss pitfalls in your own CRO campaigns, finding your own lessons. Having these discussions will make future tests more fruitful and successful, so make sure that after every test you run, you regroup on not just the results, but what did work and what didn’t.

We do this internally, and here’s what we have found...

Always Follow The Data

We start with this lesson because it’s the most valuable and important of all we have learned. Conversion Rate Optimization without data is the equivalent of getting in your car without a map or GPS and driving across the country. It can be done, but you’re going to spend a lot of time and resources backtracking and hitting dead ends. When it comes to Conversion Rate Optimization, use the data at your disposal to make the best decisions possible. Let it be your “single source of truth” and guide.

There’s a wealth of data available to you to help with your Conversion Rate Optimization campaign. For instance, make sure you are using:

Using the above data points will help you better understand the pitfalls in your conversion funnel and what obstacles are preventing your users from taking action on your website. By focusing your time and effort on what the data is telling you, you have a substantially better chance of being successful in your Conversion Rate Optimization campaigns. Remember, your most important tool in Conversion Rate Optimization campaign toolbox is your data.

Best Practices Aren’t Always Best

Don’t get me wrong, best practices are a wonderful thing - they give us structure, guidance, and are usually tested or proven. The issue with best practices is that they usually aren’t one size fits all. What I mean by this, multiple portions of your digital marketing campaign are unique:

  • Your business
  • Your goals
  • Your audience
  • Your audience’s goals
  • Your industry
  • Your products / services

It’s important to remember that while best practices can be a great source of inspiration in your Conversion Rate Optimization campaign, you should always use your own data to guide your hypothesis and testing schedules. Make sure that your are regularly meeting with your team to discuss your findings in your data, the hypothesis you want to test, your testing schedule, and the results that you hope to get from CRO.

If you want to test best practices that you have read about or have interest in, make sure that they align with your target audience’s goals. If they do not align with your target audience’s goals, then they are not worth your time and you should consider them irrelevant to your campaign. You’ll be able to find this by:

The above data sources under “Always Follow the Data” above will help you.

Have a question about CRO or want our experts to conduct a CRO audit? We would love to!

It’s More Than Button Or Image Changes

Most brands who are just starting out with Conversion Rate Optimization often assume that it involves simply changing the colors of buttons or moving images. While that is partially true and can be a part of your campaign, Conversion Rate Optimization is a far more comprehensive and long term marketing solution. With Conversion Rate Optimization, you can test:

  • Layouts
  • Content
  • Media
  • Marketing channels
  • Landing pages
  • Redesigns

Not only are you able to test the above elements to increase conversions, but sometimes, conversions aren’t the most important thing you want to test. You can test ideas to:

  • Lower your site speed
  • Lower your bounce rate
  • Increase your time on site
  • Increase how often users visit your site
  • Increase traffic from different sources or advertisements

These items above, while not a direct effect on conversions themselves, are all important to the experience that a user has on your website. For instance, if a site is slow, unfulfilling in content or copy, or feels mislead in their expectations in coming to your website, chances are your conversions will suffer because of these issues.

Don’t simply focus on your conversion rate. Pay attention to your data and see if there are other issues on your website besides users not converting. Dig a little deeper, read between the lines. When you remove the blinders of simply increasing your conversion rate, you may find other issues on your website that are hindering your website performance. Your website is an experience, and you want your user’s experience with your website to be nothing short of awesome so they will take action on your website. 

There Is No Failure

A few common reasons that we have seen companies give up on CRO are because:

  • They don’t see ROI out of the gate
  • They don’t know how to interpret the data
  • They don’t know how to prioritize tests
  • They don’t have a champion to run CRO

These reasons are often viewed as “failure” for CRO, but truthfully, all of these reasons can be avoided with careful planning before you begin your CRO campaign. All of the above are simply “issues” and be easily overcome when analyzed correctly.

What’s most important here is that when you begin a CRO campaign, you have to be mindful that success is automatic. There will be tests and hypothesis that fail or issues that arise, but like any new service you start, it’s a learning process, and moving forward having these downfalls will help you strengthen your overall testing. Make sure that you are noting where things went wrong and how they can be remedied moving forward. Make sure that you note that what didn’t work so you know that’s it may not be a viable option in the future. And most of all, make sure that you are transparent with your team on the results of your tests and how even the “failures” of your tests or process gave you insights.

There’s Always Something To Test

So, you’ve raised your conversion rate! Think that testing is over and nothing else needs to be done? Actually, this couldn’t be a worse time to not plan your next test, or worse, stop testing altogether! The truth is there is always something on your website that needs to be tested, and the beautiful thing about CRO is you can test new tests against ideas that already boosted your conversion rates!

Don’t just stop after a few good tests. Chances are your data or previous tests are showing potential funnel issues on your site that you didn’t notice before, resulting in a few conversions still on the table. And even if those issues aren’t popping out, try surveying your customers on new designs, layouts, or content that you implemented to get their thoughts. Do they have feedback or ideas you didn’t think about? Are they mentioning certain things like video, photos, or testimonials that would make their converting easier? Things like this don’t come to light unless you ask, so ask!

Here are some ideas to test get your mind jogging:

  • Implement certifications and testimonials
  • Simplify code on your site to speed up load times
  • Organize or simplify your menu categories
  • Make your homepage banner product focused
  • Test chat functionalities or click to calls
  • Test slimming down forms or one click orders
  • Allow people to sign up or in with email addresses / social media

These are just a few ideas to think about, but remember, always look at your data and ask your audience before jumping to implement tests. Doing so could end up being a waste of time for something you have no use for to begin with!


At Marcel Digital, we’re full believers in CRO and the power it holds to not only help your website convert at a higher rate, but also to give your visitors a better overall user experience. Remember, your website is your digital storefront. If your visitors aren’t finding the information they need, the products they are looking for, or content and information that helps them in making a decision, then they will look elsewhere. CRO helps you align your business goals with your customer goals, and helps you test ideas to help you better align with your audience’s needs. Make sure you take advantage, because after all - if you don’t, your competitors will.

If you and your team have questions about Conversion Rate Optimization and how it can help your business's website convert at a higher rate, feel free to contact the CRO experts at Marcel Digital. We would love to hear more about your business goals and how our CRO process will benefit your business. 

  • Conversion Rate Optimization

Dan Kipp headshot

About the author

Dan Kipp

Dan Kipp is the Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager guru at Marcel Digital. He loves traveling, cooking, sports, and spending spare time with friends and family.