What is CRO test? [+ the 5 Steps to Perform Them Yourself]

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Marketer designs CRO test

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It’s an incredibly powerful toolset that can help marketers unlock valuable insights from user behavior – and significantly optimize their campaigns in the process.

In this blog post, we’ll explain what CRO tests are and the steps to run them for maximum impact.

CRO tests involve adding, rearranging, and redesigning elements on your website. They can focus on optimizing the copy, design, or placement of your CTAs, or the length of your headlines, among other elements.

When done right, a CRO test will help you identify where to improve and maximize your return on investment.

At best, this test will serve as a deep check to optimize your current path and at best, it will unlock new opportunities.

How to do Cro test

1. Research.

What marketers often miss before running a CRO test is research, jumping straight from idea to test.

Once you have an idea for a test, you will first need to validate it through research. This can be both internal – by reviewing past experiments, user research data, and analytics insights – and external by reviewing your competitors’ strategies.

The goal is to find out what has resonated with your audience in the past and if your suggested test is in line with that.

2. Design your experiment.

When you’re in the planning phase, it’s helpful to write a use document.

This should include:

  • your purpose – What do you want to achieve from this CRO test?
  • your idea – What do you think will happen from this test? Be as specific as possible describing the current situation, what you want to test, the metric you are measuring, and your expected result.
  • your design – This is where all the details of your experiment will be live, such as:
    • what type of test it is (eg A/B, A/B/n, multivariate)
    • Pages on which the test will run
    • control and different groups
    • duration estimation
    • primary and secondary metrics
    • estimated impact
    • special attention.
  • Result – Once your test is complete, you can leave a description of its performance in the document.

This document will serve as your source of truth for your CRO testing and will keep stakeholders in the know. Also, you can refer it for future CRO tests.

3. Design your variants and create tests.

Now that you have all your ducks in a row, you can start creating your experiment.

This step will most probably take the most time as it will require cross-collaboration between your team, designers, and developers.

Timeline wise, it might look something like this:

  1. Work with designers to develop the look and feel of the test.
  2. Develop copy, if necessary.
  3. Create tickets and assign them to team members.
  4. Work with developers, if applicable, to determine development tasks and timelines.
  5. Set up the experiment in your test tool (eg hot jar Or Change) and analysis to track results.
  6. Perform Quality Assurance (QA) testing to make sure it is working as expected.

Once these steps are complete, you are ready to launch.

4. Launch your test.

Once your experiment goes live, the first thing you need to do is QA it to make sure it’s still working as expected.

Even if you’ve done this pre-launch, it’s not uncommon to catch bugs after testing goes live. You’ll also want to check your Analytics page to make sure your tracking is set up correctly.

Once this is done, alert your stakeholders. Your test may affect other teams and their metrics, so it’s important to let them know.

It also gives you an extra set of eyes that can spot any problems.

5. Review Result.

Once your test reaches statistical significance, you can confidently review the results.

What affected your metrics? Has your hypothesis been satisfied? What insights did you learn?

If your variation wins, you can work on implementing it. If it doesn’t, there’s still a chance.

Even if your test has negative results – meaning your conversion rate has decreased – you are still gaining valuable information about your audience.

Now that we’ve covered the steps for running a CRO test, take a look at some brand examples below.

CRO Test Example

HubSpot’s content offer form design

The purpose of this experiment was to see if users were affected by making changes to the submission form design.

The hypothesis was that by redesigning the forms, the user experience would be improved and user clarity increased. In turn, the form submission will increase the CVR. The primary metric measured was form submission CVR.

The test shows four different variations of the sign-up form, which is an A/B/C/D/E design. The image below is the control version.

CRO test example: HubSpot content form

The results were significant as variants B and D outperformed the control variable by 96% and 100% confidence, respectively.

The image below shows variation B on the left and variation D on the right.

CRO test example: submission form design

This shows that, in the future, conversion on blogs may increase if winning form submission designs are implemented on blog posts.

Optimizely landing page title

Optimizely was running some PPC ads on a landing page with several different types of messages. The landing page didn’t use the same wording as the ad – instead, it read “Try it for free”.

So Optimizely decided to test the following theory: Aligning the copy with the ad on the landing page will result in more leads (aka higher conversions).

CRO test examples - optimized

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it worked! While the control had a 12% conversion rate, the variation increased conversions by 39.1%.

HubSpot Blog Slide-in CTA

Most successful blogs include a call-to-action at the end of their blog post. It’s usually full-width – large enough that people can notice the offer and hopefully convert.

But are people paying attention to CTAs, or are they learning to tune them out?

Here at HubSpot, we were curious whether our readers were developing steady CTA blindness. So, we decided to run a test to see if we could increase our CTA clickthrough and conversion rates.

To accomplish this goal, we tested slide-in CTAs that would appear halfway to three-quarters of the way through a blog post.

Here’s an example of a slide-in:

CRO Testing Examples - HubSpot Blog

To test this, we added slide-in CTAs to 10 of HubSpot’s highest-traffic blog posts. After reaching statistically significant results, we saw the following statistics for slide-in CTAs and static CTAs at the end of the post:

  • Click-through rate (CTR) – What percentage of visitors clicked on each CTA?
  • Conversion Rate (CVR) – What percentage of visitors who clicked through eventually converted on the landing page form?
  • entries – How many total leads did each CTA ultimately generate?

In this test, a slide-in CTA had a 192% higher CTR and generated 27% more submissions – mission accomplished.

Sidekick landing page design

This test was done many moons ago when HubSpot was still selling Sidekick but the value is still there.

At the time, Sidekick was a Chrome extension and the original landing page included a list of all of the software’s features:

  • See who opens and clicks on your emails
  • schedule email to be sent later
  • Access valuable information about your contacts

But the team was curious to know whether these details really matter. For a product like LowTouch, such as a Chrome extension, does it need a laundry list of features to convert consumers?

To answer this question, the experiment involved replacing the feature list with user testimonials.

CRO Test - HubSpot Sales

Testimonials beat out the feature list by 28%.

His theory on why this change happened? The former didn’t make people curious enough to click through to the Chrome extension installation page.

Another theory is that consumers wanted more social proof before downloading a new tool to their browser.

There you have it – a detailed description of all things CRO testing. If you’d like more details on how to run your test, check out our A/B Testing Kit below.

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