Getting Personal to Drive Conversion – Customer Behaviour Meets Big Data
Conversion Optimisation

Getting Personal to Drive Conversion – Customer Behaviour Meets Big Data

17th October 2012

The content below comes from a keynote presented by dr Mike Baxter of Sales Logiq at A4U London 2012. 


3 Reasons why online marketing is hard:


They are typically difficult to understand. The views on how customers make decisions have fundamentally changed over the past 10 years. The old view on decision making was around rationality. The decision would be based on logic and a systematic approach. This is completely flawed.

Doctors wanted to make it more likely for colonoscopy patients return for follow ups. They left it in place for an additional minute which is still painful but less painful.  More people came back and that’s due to people’s recollection being the end of the experience not the peak of the discomfort. In a jam experiment 90% of sales were affected when double the choice of jam was given to people. This is a form of decision paralysis. As the number of options goes up the attractive features of the rejected alternatives accumulates thus preventing a decision.

Consumers don’t have well defined pre-existing preferences that are merely revealed then they make choices. Instead they construct preferences on the spot when prompted to make a decision.

The purchase cycle needs a great deal of momentum to complete and the longer the cycle the less chances of the conversion.

To summarise: customers will make intuitive emotive decisions, they create decision preferences during the decision making process and they convert only when the choices have been made manageable. All these combine to make a huge opportunity


They’re seldom direct.  57% of online consumers will abandon a site after waiting 3 seconds. The average load time for 2000 ecommerce sites in the states is 10 seconds. The same task on a phone is even worse than the same task on a desktop. For every 100 millisecond reduction in Amazon’s load time they increased conversion rate by 1%.

Traffic to a home page has a bounce rate of 17%, to a category page 31% and product page 57%. Product pages often are a decision based page. Get it right and a product age has a huge amount of potential to convert.  Mike suggests that getting the basics right is massively important and mostly overlooked.

In his opinion mega menu navigation is great from a psychological point of view because it’s very rapid. The bad news is CXM, customer experience management, which pulls the rug right under your feet.  The customisation will create the issue of inconsistent content on a page.

When you map out this personalised data you can deliver a better user experience for a potential customer. Obtaining meaning from big data is the hardest part. From there you create actionable insights. You can buy the tech to do the number crunching for you which makes it easier.

Don’t forget basic journey hygiene but use big data to customise.


Most people think of channels as multiple devices. The key challenge isn’t that. It’s making sense of customer journeys as they make their way across channels. 1970s ‘over the wall’ product development means that the process was segmented and therefore the process because a broken telephone. This is why GM was failing in the 70’s whereas Toyota who took a more collaborative approach was far more successful. Sharing meaningful data is essential to unlock future opportunity. Share it with the people that drive the traffic to your site and challenge them to how they are delivering the right traffic to your site. Shared ownership of data is the way forward.

In summary shared meaning requires a common framework which needs to take into account how customers actually make decisions.

Key takeaways:

  • The way customers actually make decisions leads to great conversion opportunities
  • Let customers personalise their own journeys in ways conducive to conversion
  • Reduce big data to meaningful insights big data becomes small


Written By
Louis Venter is the founding director and CEO of MediaVision, a Search Engine Marketing (SEM) company specialising in all areas of search. His particular interests are organic search marketing, paid search marketing, conversion strategy and online PR.
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