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Sector Spotlight: My experience in Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO)

17 February 2022

Zahid's studies have led to a career in Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO), tracking how people use websites and making improvements to reduce the frustration we all feel when navigating the internet!

We caught up with him to find out what it's like working in this sector.

Leaving university and looking for a job was a strange period for me. I wasn’t too sure on what I really wanted to do, whether to go for a master’s degree or go into web development.  Luckily, a few months after graduating, I got a graduate job at Santander as a PPI Case Handler. Unfortunately for me, that wasn’t something I was really into. However, 10 months into the role as Case Handler, I found a job in CRO (Conversion Rate Optimisation) at Dentsu Data Labs as a developer, and I found this role a lot more enjoyable. 

"In CRO, we use data to understand how a user experiences a site and if the site is being effective, in other words, we check to see if the users are doing what the site was originally built to do."

We normally use a tool called Google Analytics to view the data and understand where most of the traffic is going and if users are converting the goal of the website. Our analytics, research and strategy teams dive into the data and look at the various webpages to think of what can be done to improve conversion. Then they pass on their plans to the design team who will build a prototype, and then these prototypes come to life by me, the developer, ready to A/B test the site.  

A/B tests are types of tests we perform to see how to improve the website. We build a new feature, and we push it to 50% of all people that will land on the website, while the other 50% of people will see the original site with no changes. We then track the performance of both old and new features, and then decide on whether the client’s web developers should build in the new feature and allow everyone to use it. 

To build A/B tests, we use tools such as Google Optimize or VWO and then, using JavaScript and CSS, we manipulate the HTML objects and reshape elements of the website to make certain features more noticeable, more usable or more efficient. Quite often, we even create features from scratch to aid the functionality of the website and achieve its goals. 

It’s quite fun as tests go from changing the colour of a button and moving it slightly higher up in the page to completely changing a web pages layout.

"We once had a 300% uplift in conversions just by moving a button and changing the colour to green, which is pretty insane!"

The aim of that test was to get more people sending enquiries to the company about their vehicles and that small change clearly made all the difference. 

I find CRO very interesting. Although we are never creating websites from scratch, we’re always looking to improve and understand user behaviour and help users be less frustrated when navigating through the internet. The aim is to keep users relaxed so they enjoy their experience online, because a happy user is also more likely to convert rather than a frustrated user.