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14 December 2016

[Interview] Sneak peek in the life of a CRO expert

Ever wonder what it’s like to do CRO day in, day out? Looking for actionable advice from actual experts? Then you're in for a treat. I’ve been writing about CRO for almost a year now (!) and I was looking for a new perspective to try and bring you guys more value. Then I realized, hey, we HAVE conversion optimization masters in-house, at Kameleoon. Why not ask them directly to share their knowledge and help you become a CRO expert? So, I asked them a series of questions and boy was I not disappointed. There are some real gems in here! Here are the questions I asked them:
  • Could you give us a quick overview of your background?
  • Why did you choose to specialize in CRO?
  • How would you explain the benefits of CRO to a company who has never practiced it?
  • What are the key qualities to be effective at CRO?
  • What is the most common mistake you see your clients make?
  • How do you find new optimization ideas?
  • What are things you do every day?
  • How do you decide which tests you’re going to run first?
  • With what kind of profiles do you work with?
  • Have you already been surprised by a test’s results? Could you share some of the details?
  • Do you have a final word or advice for all the marketers out there?

Enter Anaïs and Géraud, 2 customer success managers at Kameleoon, CRO experts.

Portrait of Anaïs Rousseau, CRO expert at KameleoonPortrait of Géraud Bornet, CRO expert at Kameleoon

Could you give us a quick overview of your background?

Géraud: I work in online marketing since 2011. I started in an optimization agency specializing in CRO and inbound marketing, then began practicing A/B testing in 2012. I’ve also worked on SEO and SEA projects since 2014.   Anaïs: I’m a business school graduate, specialized in Marketing. I started my career in the web at Expedia Inc. where I worked on B2B CRM. Then I worked in a web agency (specialized in the travel and media industries), where I focused on multi-channel acquisition strategies, retention and conversion as well as website creation/redesign.

Why did you choose to specialize in CRO?

Géraud: You don’t get bored, there is so much to do: analytics and behavioral audits, studying clients’ business model, planning, technical configuration, code (HTML, CSS, JS), reporting, etc.. I also get to work on very different projects whether it’s here at Kameleoon in customer success or in an agency like my previous job. There is no routine, I switch from industry to industry—it’s a great creativity boost by the way. You get new ideas from each client that you could apply to the next. Working “in real-time” is also fun: changes you implement are live almost instantly and you can measure performances very quickly—as opposed to SEO for example, where you have to wait to be crawled, indexed, etc… With CRO and A/B testing, you get data and lessons directly from your visitors. There is no room for gut decisions. We base everything on statistics and empirical experiments: we know it works because we tested it. [bctt tweet="With CRO and A/B testing, you get lessons directly from your visitors. No room for gut decisions." username="kameleoonrocks"] Anaïs: From my time in a web agency, I found that in website creation/redesign projects, the part I liked the most was when we were optimizing the pages to get more conversions (sales, subscriptions, leads,…). That was the most interesting and fun. In customer success at Kameleoon, I can focus on optimization while keeping my project manager hat and a direct contact with clients. I also get to work with a variety of different industries with millions of visitors and help them increase their revenue. For example, some of my accounts are:
  • Media: Le Monde, La Provence, 20 minutes
  • E-commerce: Belambra, Fnac, Gaumont, Chronodrive
  • Banks/finance: Sofinco, BforBank

How would you explain the benefits of CRO to a company who has never practiced it?

Géraud: Investing in the design of your website, in communication, or the development of new acquisition channels… is great. It brings traffic and improves your visibility. But only a small portion of these visitors will convert (buy, fill out a form, etc). Only focusing on increasing your traffic can also mean increasing the chances of having visitors not interested by your offer, or they could have trouble understanding it, and you wouldn’t know. With CRO, you’ll be able to improve your website, message, and offer performances, thus increasing the portion of visitors who’ll convert. CRO is not an option, if you want a good ROI for your website that is.   [bctt tweet="With CRO, you’ll be able to increase the portion of visitors who’ll convert. " username="kameleoonrocks"] Anaïs: It’s like a store that wouldn’t make the effort of keeping its walls/floor/display clean, functional, up-to-date and pleasing to the eye. If you don’t work on this regularly, you could have the best products or services, customers will come less and less, and won’t buy as much from you. Same thing with your website. Competition is fierce, if you want to stay relevant, you have to continuously optimize your website and its visitors navigation paths.   cat thinking he should start doing CRO


What are the key qualities to be effective at CRO?

Géraud: For me, there are 3 key qualities for an effective CRO expert:
  • An analytical mind: understanding what doesn’t work, identifying opportunities and the right visitor profiles, etc
  • Creativity: being able to imagine new navigation scenarios, new informational hierarchies to better answer the visitor’s needs.
  • Rigor: to efficiently improve your website conversions, you need to be able to plan, organize and correctly monitor your campaigns. You need a precise and consistent monitoring.
  illustration of a CRO superhero   Anaïs: A great project team is key: a dedicated project manager, a web analyst, a UX designer and a Front-end dev, to cover the analysis, creation and management sides of any optimization project. Communication is also really important. Optimization is a process. For it to work well, you need to make sure everyone relevant to the tests (acquisition, marketing, UX, product, merchandising, devs) is involved, and regularly organize optimization committees where your web analysts present the results, you build/update your roadmap, define future tests, etc. Including technical teams in the committee is often a good idea too. They’ll evaluate the doability and difficulty of implementing tests and will facilitate prioritization. And of course, the best optimization tool, Kameleoon, to test and implement everything ;)  

What is the most common mistake you see your clients make?

Géraud: Gut-feeling decisions, not backed by data, definitely. “Maybe it would be good to change this element of the page—I don’t know why (or the boss said so) but let’s see what happens” Basing your hypotheses on preconceived ideas you have about your audience, without concrete evidence is another one. Ah, and also rushing the analysis without taking a step back, and waiting for statistically viable data.   Anaïs: Impatience. The greatest sin. The most common results analysis mistakes are decisions made with not enough data. Meaning what they have is not statistically valid, that’s just guesswork. Another thing is, CRO is 100% data-driven. And often clients don’t realize there is an important reflection on tracking (making sure you can measure everything relevant) and on your internal resources (do you have the means to analyze all this data you’re going to collect) to have before starting. It results in them rushing in, test a lot, then don’t capitalize on them.
Speaking about blunders, we wrote a 10,000 words guide on A/B mistakes and how to avoid them, get it here and make sure you're not messing up your experiments!

How do you find new optimization ideas?

Géraud: By studying what visitors do, where they stop, leave, if they focus on non-relevant elements. You can use customer surveys, or check if they’re asking for specific improvements, see what your competition is doing, if you can draw inspiration from that or take things even further, etc. And of course, you can look in similar industries, services… And most importantly, learn from the results and lessons from your previous tests. Can you iterate on them? Or spin them in new ideas? Or maybe you could reevaluate ideas you previously rejected.   Anaïs: Well, there are 3—4 main ways:
  • Benchmark of other websites (competition, and others)
  • Navigation path analysis (analytics and UX)
  • Marketing/offer/content analysis (is it clear, relevant, etc.)
  • From your goals: what are they and how to achieve them
  illustration of how a CRO expert finds new ideas  

What are things you do every day?

Géraud: In no particular order you have:
  • Tracking tests’ results, making sure everything is working as intended
  • Analysis and monitoring to identify new ideas
  • Project management with frequent calls with different collaborators/clients, keeping all parties involved in the loop, sharing the problems encountered or benefits of the actions taken, etc.
  Anaïs: Every day is about helping my clients with their optimization strategies. That means performing UX and analytics audits, create wireframes for recommendations, manage developers to implement advanced tests and, of course, help my clients use Kameleoon and become self-reliant with their A/B testing or web personalization.

How do you decide which tests you’re going to run first?

Géraud: We usually start by what is most simple to implement and could generate the most results. It allows you to have campaigns running immediately so you can focus on more complex ones in parallel. By prioritizing rigorously, we create a roadmap for several weeks. We then always have incoming tests and constant learnings, without having to worry about the day-to-day.   Anaïs: Mainly through the PIE method (Potential, importance, ease). This means that for every test you should evaluate its:
  • Potential: Is it on a key page (traffic quantity/quality)?
  • Importance: Does this test has a chance to improve your website’s main goal? (for example: testing a picture on your homepage vs testing an “add to cart” CTA on a product page)
  • Ease: Is it easy or hard to implement?
We always start with the tests that have the highest potential, importance and are as easy as possible to implement.   examples of the PIE framework  

With what kind of profiles do you work with?

Géraud: Looots of different profiles: Data analysts, Web-analysts, UX designers, Business managers, developers, webmasters, or executives, etc   Anaïs: Most often web project managers, UX designers, web analysts and front-end devs.   profils-cro-2  

Have you already been surprised by a test result? Could you share some of the details?

Géraud: Yeah, quite recently actually. It was a test with our client Pages Jaunes (yellow pages)—it’s still running and I can’t really divulge much about it but, we drastically reduced the number of buttons and CTAs on a page. The goal was to concentrate clicks on one single high-value action. And… we got less clicks than before. Which was highly surprising (and disappointing). BUT, after further analysis, it turned out that yes, we had less clicks, but they were waayy more qualified. In the end, thanks to this test we managed to reduce the “parasite clicks”. People clicking now understand better what they are doing.   meme-coffee-foot   Anaïs: Yep, we conducted a test with our client La Fnac where we tried to use an Amazon-like design on the product listings. It failed spectacularly, the control won. That was certainly surprising. But a good lesson: it’s not because it worked for Amazon (or someone else) that it will work for you too.

Do you have a final word or advice for all the marketers out there?

Géraud: Sure! A website or app isn’t something set in stone, even if it’s brand new and with the latest innovations. You need to be constantly optimizing, adapting and improving it. So test, test and test again!   Anaïs: Yup! If you have a doubt, test it. If you don’t have any doubts, test twice. [bctt tweet="If you have a doubt, test it. If you don't have any doubts, test twice." username="kameleoonrocks"]  There you have it folks, exclusive insights from our own CRO experts at Kameleoon! Oh, and Grégoire, head of marketing at Kameleoon got interviewed by hostadvice and shared insights on A/B testing, personalization, predictive targeting, and CRO. Check it out! You can also learn more about our process or see if you wanna work with us, you can check our customer success page.