Landing Page Optimization, Conversion Research and Using Analytics to Find Conversions Review
This article is part 5 of 12 reviewing the CRO Minidegree at the CXL Institute.
This week I took a deep dive into the ‘in’s and out’s’ of Landing Page Optimization (and believe me when I say there are a lot of really great ones!). Next up are advanced principles on Conversion Research and finally an overview of Using Analytics to Find Conversions course.
Landing Page Optimization
This course is taught by Michael Aagaard, he rolls out the course specifically defining what a landing page is:
Definition of a Landing Page
- Page users “land on” / entrance page
- First page users see after clicking an ad source
- A page that works independently of the site/app
- Focused on a clear conversion goal
- Shortens journey from click to conversion
- Follows up on “promises” made by an ad source
- Speaks to user motivation & addresses barriers
- Answers important questions & creates clarity
- Creates a clear path to the conversion goal
We can not always assume that there is a problem with only the landing page itself, we could be completely off with this assumption.
“There might be a bug or something going on, later in the funnel, for example, in step two of the checkout, where you’d say, well, that has nothing to do with the landing page itself, that’s true, but it has a massive impact on the whole experience. For example, if we have a bug there, we could keep optimizing and testing the landing page forever, measuring on conversion and not getting anywhere because we failed to understand that the problem was actually after the landing page” — Michael Aagaard
Aagaard also heavily emphasizes that A/B testing is very important, but conducting research should be the foundation for the A/B testing because it is very important.
Another important concept that was discussed in this course:
3 Cognitive Biases for Landing Pages
Also known as mental shortcuts
Priming: Exposure to one stimulus influences response to a subsequent stimulus. Priming can backfire so be careful. Message match is very important!
Framing: The way you deliver a message has a direct impact on how it is perceived. Get is a very powerful word because it implies that there is something in it for you.
WYSIATI: What you see is all there is
In regards to copywriting for landing pages we learned the following valuable nuggets:
Landing page copy fundamentals
- Shortens journey from click to conversion
- Follows up on “promises” made in an ad source
- Speaks to user motivation and addresses barriers
- Answers important questions and creates clarity
- Creates a clear path to the conversion goal
Remember Design and Copy go hand in hand! They have to be planned out together not separately.
- Answer questions
- Reinforce motivation
- Address barriers
Start with your information hierarchy
- Who are you communicating with?
- What do you want them to do?
- Where is the traffic coming from?
In total the Landing Page Optimization (LPO) course consists of over four hours of advanced level lessons covering the LPO process in depth.
This is another course taught by CXL founder Peep Laja, he kicks off the course with this bold but true statement:
“There are plenty of people (some who call themselves optimizers) who claim to know immediately what’s wrong with a website, and how to improve it. Sure, some problems might be plain obvious. But you might be wrong — your personal preferences and bias get in the way. And — the better the website, the less obvious the problems are. So you’re left with opinions. But the problem is — your opinions don’t matter!”
It’s true, they don’t. Would you rather have a doctor operate on you based on opinion or careful examination and tests?
So every optimization project has to start with conversion research. It’s where you diagnose a website, and figure out where and how it’s leaking money. Once we know that, we can go ahead and start plugging the holes.”
This course immediately introduced to Laja’s ‘tried and true’ (or reintroduced I have been reading the CXL blog for years!) Research XL model.
Laja’s six-step framework consists of the following steps:
Step 1: Heuristic Analysis
When starting to optimize for conversions, it’s best to begin by understanding the user’s experience on your website. The four features to consider when auditing a website for experience:
Step 2: Technical Analysis
After completing a thorough comprehensive heuristic analysis, the next step is to make sure everything is running smoothly from a technical standpoint.
We learned how to easily identify several low-hanging fruits to optimize for quick uplifts that can produce tremendous results in regards to bugs, page speed, broken pages, and more areas. There is an overview of how to conduct the following:
- Cross-browser testing
- Cross-device testing
- Speed analysis
Step 3: Digital Analytics
We learned the importance of using digital analytics to identify where users are dropping out more than others in the sales funnel.
Where is the friction point? We want to understand where the money is leaking out.
- Identify drop-off points
- Correlate behaviors with outcomes
- Fix measurements and verify data
Step 4: Qualitative Research
Collecting qualitative data gives you the ability to personally understand your users’ experience and pinpoint areas of friction to correct and optimize. We learned how to design and use customer surveys to really get to know our customers.
Step 5: User testing
This covered how to use user testing to better optimize web pages and overall sales funnel.
Step 6: Mouse Tracking Analysis
Mouse tracking can provide valuable insights into seeing where people are clicking, scroll maps, and session replays.
Using Analytics to Find Conversions
This course is taught in small chunks (4 to 7-minute clips) by Jeff ‘Jeffalytics” Sauer. Many of the concepts that he discussed have been covered or mentioned in a previous course, Google Analytics for Beginners that really helped to build a solid foundation for this one.
In this course, we learned several ways to access important reports (Acquisition Report, Behavior Report, Content Report, Conversion) in Google Analytics.
The lesson about bounce rate really stood out because it is one of the most important things for landing page optimization. If the landing page is the first introduction and 98% (or a high percentage are leaving that page as soon as they enter there is definitely a problem).
Most people think that a high bounce rate is really bad. And this is true in most cases.
A 90% bounce rate means 9 out of 10 people aren’t doing anything when they come to that landing page. Not going deeper into your site from that page, they are not filling out your form, they are not becoming a lead, they are not buying from you.
If your landing page has no links that go deeper into your site, no options other than to fill out a form.
You might have a very high bounce rate! But you might also have a 10% (10 out 100) conversion rate and in most/some cases that is good.
This is an extremely valuable nugget! Thanks, Jeffalytics!😁👍🏾
Ultimately, bounce rate is not inherently good or bad it must be put into context and make sure that it makes sense for your strategy.
As a general rule of thumb if Your bounce rate is 90% you should be trying to get it down to 85%. Or as low as you can from your baseline.
I really appreciated Michael Aagaard’s Landing Page Optimization course, it was very thorough complete with lesson slide decks (very detailed), google doc resources, and actionable lessons. I appreciate the wealth of knowledge that was shared in this course.
The Conversion Research course was also packed with a ton (literally!) of extremely valuable content, resources, and tools. A lot of the content was in the form of high-quality long-form blog posts with a lot of visual diagrams and images. Peep Laja is also featured in a few videos throughout the course sharing his knowledge on conversion research. I really appreciate how detailed the content is in this course.
The course, Using Analytics to Find Conversions is a series of several brief videos where Jeffalytics shares very detailed and useful tips for what to really look for in Google Analytics in order to find conversions to optimize. This course had a lot of very useful and implementable lessons. I was able to use the things I learned about bounce rate to help better ‘tell a story’ or ‘put the numbers into context’ for an account I manage. I also learned a lot about Goal Funnels that I plan to use on with another account that is not currently using this.
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Check out more of my in-depth reviews of CXL Institute’s CRO Minidegree courses:
- Intro to CRO and Best Practices Review
- Intro to Conversion Copywriting, Product Messaging, Psychology, and Social Proof Review
- Neuromarketing, Emotional Content Strategy, Influence, and Interactive Design Review
- Google Analytics for Beginners Review
- Landing Page Optimization, Conversion Research and Using Analytics to Find Conversions Review
- Google Tag Manager for Beginners, User Research, Fast and Rigorous User Personas Review
- Heuristics Analysis Frameworks for CO Audits, Google Analytics Audits, How to Run Tests
- Testing Strategies, Statistics for A/B Testing and A/B Testing Mastery Review
- Optimizing for B2B, Customer Value Optimization, Digital Psychology, and Behavioral Design Training Review
- Advanced Experimentation Analysis and Applied Neuromarketing Review
- How to Design, Roll Out, and Scale an Optimization Program; Evangelizing for Optimization in Enterprise Review
- Building Your Optimization Technology Stack and CRO Agency Masterclass Review