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The Science of Conversion: A Brief Intro to CRO

JGA MarketingBlogThe Science of Conversion: A Brief Intro to CRO

Effective digital marketing involves both creativity and a scientific approach to getting website visitors to take action.

Once a site begins receiving a steady stream of visitors and effective SEO methods are in place, it’s time to start optimizing that site to turn users into customers. This process is what is known as conversion rate optimization (CRO).

What is Conversion Rate Optimization?

When a website visitor buys a product or signs up for a newsletter, that action is called a conversion. CRO is the process of increasing your site’s conversion rate through a number of experiments. It’s very scientific in nature, and can take months or years to yield results.

To calculate your site’s conversion rate, divide the number or conversions by the number of visitors. For example, if your site has 5,000 visitors and 50 conversions, you have a conversion rate of 1%.

How Does CRO Work?

A CRO specialist collects both quantitative and qualitative data about your site.

Data collection may include:

  • Analytics
  • User Tests
  • Surveys and Feedback

Once the data is collected, the specialist will perform tests to see which version of a page has the highest conversion rate.

Tests include:

  • A/B or split testing
  • Multivariate tests
  • Split URL testing

What Happens During CRO Tests?

A/B or split tests work with one element of your page at a time to see which creates the most conversions. This may be something simple, such as an image or the color of a button identified on that specific page of the website. These changes are incremental and work very slowly.

During a multivariate test, hundreds of versions can be created to see which combination of elements have the highest conversion rate.

Split URL testing is used for major design changes. Users are sent to completely different versions of the same landing page to see which one works the best.

Tests can take months; don’t expect immediate changes. A good CRO specialist will also take into account traffic or conversion changes that don’t have anything to do with the test. For the e-commerce industry, this could be a major shopping day like Black Friday.


If your traffic is steady, but you’re not seeing users take the action you want, it may be time to do a little CRO. While you can start the process yourself, you may find it necessary to hire a professional. With a little patience and experimenting, you’re well on your way to increasing your bottom line.