Conversion Jam Rocks

Conversion Jam Rocks

5th October 2016

On 9/22 I joined Conversion Jam #6 in Stockholm and I have to say that it is one of the best web marketing related events I have taken part to in 2016 (and I joined quite a lot of them).

Not only John Eckman (in fancy orange dress), founder of Conversionista, suceeded to organize the largest CRO event in the world (there were 650 participants), but he did it outside USA! Chapeau.


Here are some of the key concepts expressed by the speakers I was able to catch during the day.

Brian Eisemberg (Why Amazon is Amazon)
The real reason why Amazon has the outstanding success it undoubtedly have is that it really is one of the few customer centric companies outside there.
Brian showed an old presentation from the company in which you could spot almost all the most up to date web marketing activities we all common mortals are doing now. But the presentation was dated 2004!
Then he underlined their 4 pillars of success: be customer-centric, continuously optimize (you can say that they invented UX), innovate (the presentation gave a shocking example of that) and creating an agile corporation (every department there is considered like a startup – and the company is only giving vision and fixing common goals).


Unn Swanstrom (news media CRO)
Traditional web KPIs (page views, unique visits, time on the site) are clearly surpassed in the online news industry.
New qualitative indicators have to be set, like:
How many relevant recommendations are been given (social&co.)?
Are users really reading contents till the end?
When are they leaving? (at what point of the page, in which pages)
Retention (getting users to come back and, for instance, subscribe the Newsletter)
She then gave some really interesting examples of working on all these points.


Brian Dean (Contents that converts)
Above 3% can be considered a good Conversion Rate for lead generation sites. About pages have usually a very good CR (if you have CTA in place there), because usually users going there start caring about you.
Premium exclusive contents are vital to increase CR, especially if promoted in combination with non-invasive popups linked to them, but please be careful not to be annoying (use them when the user is leaving or hasn’t done anything on the page for a while, not immediately after they land on the site and exclude returning visitors).
Test subscription button with more informal CTAs (like: “I’m In”, “Let’s do it”, etc.).
But the real “secret” to excellent CR is to find what your prospects want and to give it to them.


Talia Wolf (Mobile Psychology)
Research is key to mobile CRO. The vast majority of content managers are failing at mobile optimization because they fail in understanding users state of mind and needs when browsing into their sites with their smartphones.
They are short of time, short of fast connections and in search for specific information (where you are, or how to contact you, for instance).  So… no large images, strict information hierarchy, search facilities that work, evidenced contact references, embedded maps & directions are all key areas to work on.
Immediate, relevant, single call to actions (get them simple and finger-sized) that look native (if users are on your site it mean that you temporarily gained their trust).


Annie Cushing (7 ways to save from sabotage your Analytics data)
1) tag campaigns (especially email campaigns);
2) don’t mistag (they are CASE sensitive);
3) do not use only standard channel groupings (it is possible to copy the standard configuration prior to create new groups so that you can mantain afterwards historic data for both configurations);
4) be careful to wrong filtering out (it can decimate news data);
5) lower/UPPER case filters (to consolidate upper & lower cased URLs in content view reports);
6) hostname filter (include only your domains and recognized sources to cut out spam referrals);
7) don’t filter out bots (checking the final checkbox in property configuration) & add your subdomains & external functional gates (booking/payments, etc.) to referral exclusion list (to maintain a consistent visitors path history).

Martijn Scheijbeler (why testing and what to test)
Exposed the importance of A/B testing, recalling the process of building their own testing tool and showing some interesting examples.
+16% in shared pages in a blog simply ordering share buttons in posts according to the user referral;
+36% in clicks adding ranking numbers to the list of the 10 most visited posts;
+36% in clicks increasing from 6 to 9 related posts at the end of an article.

Thomas Tonder (happy e-commerces)
Both final users and professionals involved in designing ecommerce sites should be happy. But in reality this happens very seldom. Ugly and boring sites are often the output of difficult management of the design process. Thomas showed some interesting experiments that succeeded in bettering UX for a more happy online world

Linda Bustos (mobile UX shopping challenges)
Hamburger menus (be sure to use the right labels);
Image fails (too big, difficult to handle, not changing with color/patterns selections);
Use infinite scroll instead of pagination;
Get rid of drop-down menus, if possible;
Checkout settings fitting mobile users (do not force registration leaving guest shopping option on, in forms call for numeric keypad for number fields (credit cards, expiring date, etc.).


Andreas Almqvist (surprise case history)
A very interesting case of an A/B Test in which user recordings of lead form fillings & feedback surveys lead to discover that the problem was not there but in the lack of more detailed information in the landing page. Simply adding a “read more” option to the main bulleted text in the landing page boosted conversions.
Two conversion myths debunked at once: 1) adding more choices will increase indecision and reduce CR & 2) inspect the exit page because there is where the problem is.


Karl Gillis (conversions & dating)
Load times are like being late at first date;
Don’t try a French kiss before it is the right time (aka don’t be too early and too aggressive with CTAs);
Don’t be over-wordy (less is more, blank spaces will never kill a user, bulleted points, get rid of sliders);
Don’t cry for attention (no banners, no distraction, focus on CTA);
Remove clutter / distractions (every element on the page has to have a reason for being there);
Ask the right questions (feedbacks, online chat), what are you here for?
Don’t ask too much (not too many fields – ask the right things)
Give compliments (reinforce CTA with valuable details)
Be Faithful, because CRO is more than optimizing a site. It’s like being real partner (it is a long process with frequent and cross feeedbacks).


Globally the event was filled up with interesting insights, even for non full time CRO professionals (as I am), and speakers were all moving across a variety of real conversion optimization case studies showing the impact of even small changes in layout and texts.

In particular, I was impressed by the case shown by Andreas Almqvist (Conversionista), because he underlined very well a never too much debunked myth: CRO best practices often suck!

They have to be taken in account with intelligence, not as acts of faith. Every web project has its own history and specific target and the same optimization that did the fortune of one site could seriously harm another one, even if in the same industry. CRO process is much more complex than applying best practices. It is a continuous cycle of data analysis > improvement hypotheses > testing.

Heuristic approach is only the base for Conversion Optimization, but would be largely ineffective without testing.

May the ROI be with you 🙂

Written By
Freelance AdWords & CRO professional, Gianpaolo is among the first Italian web marketing professionals and ideated ADworld Experience, one of the largest PPC events in the world.
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