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



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

Looking for a way to supercharge your marketing campaigns and boost conversions? Well, then it’s time to start running a conversion rate optimization test.

Free Download: A/B Testing Guide and Kit

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 a CRO test is and the steps to run them for maximum impact.

CRO tests involve adding, re-arranging, 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 make improvements and maximize the return on your investment.

At worst, this test will serve as a gut check to ensure your current path is optimized and at the best, it will unlock new opportunities.

How to Perform CRO Tests

1. Research.

One step marketers often miss before running a CRO test is research, jumping straight from the idea to the test itself.

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

The goal is to discover what has resonated with your audience in the past and if your suggested test aligns with that. 

2. Design your experiment.

While you’re in the planning stage, it’s helpful to write an experiment doc.

It should include:

  • Your objective – What do you aim to achieve with this CRO test?
  • Your hypothesis – What do you anticipate will happen with this test? Be as specific as possible by stating the current state, what you want to test, the metric you’re measuring, and your anticipated outcome.
  • Your design – This is where all the details of your experiment will live, such as:
    • The type of test it is (E.g. A/B, A/B/n, multivariate)
    • The pages on which the test will run
    • The control and variant groups
    • Duration Estimation
    • Primary and secondary metrics
    • Predicted impact
    • Special considerations.
  • Results – Once your test is complete, you can drop details of its performance in the document.
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This document will serve as your source of truth for your CRO test and keep stakeholders in the know. Plus, you can reference it for future CRO tests.

3. Design your variants and build the test.

Now that you have all your ducks in a row, you can get started with building your experiment.

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

Timeline-wise, it can 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 dev work and timeline.
  5. Set up the experiment in your testing tool (like HotJar or Convert) and the analytics to track results.
  6. Perform quality assurance (QA) tests to ensure it’s working as expected.

Once these steps are complete, you’re ready for launch.

4. Launch your test.

Once your experiment is live, the first thing you’ll want to do is QA it to ensure it’s still working as expected.

Even if you did this pre-launch, it’s not uncommon to catch bugs once the test is live. You’ll also want to check your analytics page to ensure your tracking is set up correctly.

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

This also gives you an extra set of eyes who can report any issues they spot.

5. Review results.

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

How were your metrics impacted? Was your hypothesis satisfied? What insights did you learn?

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If your variation won, you can then work on implementing it. If it didn’t, there’s still opportunity there.

Even if your test produced negative results – i.e. your conversion rate decreased – you’re still gaining valuable insights about your audience.

Now that we’ve covered the steps to running a CRO test, see below a few brand examples.

CRO Test Examples

HubSpot’s Content Offer Form Design

The purpose of this experiment was to see if altering the submission form design affects users.

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

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

CRO test example: hubspot content form

Results were significant as variations B and D outperformed the control variables at 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 demonstrates that, in the future, conversions on the blog could increase if winning form submission designs were applied to blog posts.

Optimizely’s Landing Page Headline

Optimizely was running a few PPC ads with several different types of messaging on one landing page. The landing page did not use the same terminology as the ad – instead, it read “Try it Out for Free.

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

CRO test examples - optimizely

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It worked! While the control had a 12% conversion rate, the variation led to a 39.1% increase in conversions.

HubSpot Blog’s Slide-In CTAs

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

But are people noticing that CTA, or are they learning to tune them out?

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

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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 the slide-in:

CRO test examples - Hubspot blog

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

  • Clickthrough rate (CTR) – What percentage of visitors clicked each CTA?
  • Conversion rate (CVR) – What percentage of those visitors who clicked ultimately converted on the landing page form?
  • Submissions – How many total leads did each CTA ultimately generate?

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

Sidekick’s Landing Page Design

This test was done many moons ago when HubSpot Sales was still Sidekick but the value’s still there.

Back then, Sidekick was a chrome extension and the original landing page included a list of all the features from the software:

  • See Who Opens & Clicks on Your Emails
  • Schedule Emails to be Sent Later
  • Access Valuable Information About Your Contacts

But the team was curious to know if those details actually mattered. For a product as low-touch as a Chrome extension, do consumers need a laundry list of features to convert?

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

CRO test - hubspot sales

The testimonial beat out the feature list by 28%.

Their theory on why this change took place? 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 into their browser.

There you have it – a rundown of all things CRO testing. If you want more details on how to run a test of your own, check out our A/B test kit below. 

The Ultimate A/B Testing Kit

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How Social Media Can Supercharge Your SEO



How Social Media Can Supercharge Your SEO

When working in social media, it can feel like you exist worlds away from SEO. And as an SEO, social media may feel like something that isn’t quite relevant in your day to day. But as with all things marketing, both of these digital marketing tactics have the potential to boost collective success. As a Social Media Manager, I’m here to tell you how you as an SEO can collaborate with your social media team in order to help supercharge your SEO efforts.

What is a social media strategy?

A social media strategy is a document that outlines your organization’s social media goals, along with how you will achieve them, both through top-level strategy and on-the-ground tactics (i.e., what you actually do). A strategy is the foundation of how your organization approaches being on social media.

Social media vs. search engine optimization

Social media involves owning accounts and having an active presence on social media channels like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, TikTok, and YouTube, with the goal of driving brand awareness and engagement, or increasing traffic and conversions. On the other hand, search engine optimization (SEO) is a set of practices designed to improve the appearance and positioning of web pages in organic search results, resulting in increased website traffic and exposure to your brand.

Do links from social media improve your SEO?

Links from popular social media platforms such as Facebook are “no-follow” links, meaning they do not send link authority directly to your site. PageRank is Google’s algorithm that ranks web pages based on the quantity and quality of external backlinks. However, gaining no-follow links from high-quality domains is still extremely important.

In the past, marketers ignored “no-follow” links, as they did not have any impact on organic ranking, but the “no-follow” attribute isn’t completely useless. A well-balanced backlink profile consisting of both followed, and no-followed links will appear more natural to Google and other search engines.

Another benefit of “no-follow” links is the referral traffic that they can provide. Although search engines will not follow links with the attached HTML “no-follow” attribute, users can click them to reach your site, giving you more traffic!

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While no-follow links do not provide the same boost to your site’s backlink profile as followed links, Google still likes to see them as a part of your site’s backlink profile, and they offer a valuable source of referral traffic.

The SEO benefits of increased brand awareness

The primary SEO benefit of brand awareness that your social media strategy can drive is the boost you can see in “branded” organic search volume and clicks.

Not every user encountering your brand on their Instagram or TikTok feed will click through to your site — in fact, most won’t. Most people will mentally file away your brand name and products only to perform a Google search for your company name or products after the fact, i.e. a branded search. This is especially true if your social messaging is solid and memorable.

For many sites, especially newer ones, a branded search can represent a large portion of your organic traffic.

5 ways social media can improve your SEO

There are five ways that a robust social media presence can help improve your SEO:

Amplify website content through social channels to reach new audiences

Your website content may be great, but you need to drive eyes to it somehow! Sharing your content, like blogs or guides, on social media is a win-win-win:

  • You’re building positive brand sentiment by providing content that answers people’s questions.

  • You’re driving more users to your website.

  • The positive response toward your content on social media sends signals to the social algorithms and therefore often shows it to new people.

One way we do this at Moz is with this very blog! Anything the Moz Blog publishes is promoted on our social media channels, which not only drives traffic but puts valuable content right in front of our audience for them to get immediate insights from.

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Create and share infographics in social posts and blog articles

In my experience, people love nothing more on social media than a classic infographic. Sharing information in bite-sized, colorful, and visually appealing ways will result in shares, engagement, and traffic to your website. Plus, they’re versatile — include them in your blogs, and you can use them on your social media posts! Every Whiteboard Friday episode that we publish here at Moz gets its own accompanying infographic. This is a great way to resurface a well-loved episode, and give people more value up front.

1685632260 394 How Social Media Can Supercharge Your SEO

Build relationships with customers

One of the core tenets of social media is that it’s a two-way street. As you get started, you as a brand need to provide valuable content to your audience without asking them for anything in return. Once you’ve cultivated goodwill with your audience, you now have a relationship in which you provide value, build that favorable currency, and then you’re able to cash in on it in exchange for traffic or follow-throughs on your CTAs.

While our social media philosophy is that everything we put on social media has some form of value to our audience, we also make it a point to create content that doesn’t explicitly ask for anything, like clicking links or purchasing our product. Sometimes that’s providing them with information, and sometimes that can look like making them laugh.

1685632260 773 How Social Media Can Supercharge Your SEO

Optimize your profiles on social channels and lead audiences toward your website

A simple but effective way to lead audiences to your website is to make it easy to get to! Ensure you optimize your social channels and keep a link to your website in each profile. If you need to house multiple links, use a “link in bio” service, but always make sure a quick shortcut to your website stays front and center.

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This strategy is something we use on our Instagram. Instead of constantly changing the link based on what we’re promoting that day or just wasting the opportunity the link in bio provides, we have a link in bio tool through Sprout Social that lets us showcase all the links that are tied to each of our posts.

1685632260 410 How Social Media Can Supercharge Your SEO

Target users who are more likely to convert to your site. Conversion and engagement metrics are great for SEO!

With social media, you should always know who you’re trying to reach and how you’re going to do so. One audience you should target on social media is people you know are ready to convert. Have different posts for different audiences as a part of your content mix, and include more mature leads further down the funnel. These become easy wins because they convert and engage once they hit the website, which is helpful for SEO metrics.

We know that the majority of people are coming to Moz for beginner SEO education, so we make it a point to really highlight those resources, such as our Beginner’s Guide to SEO or our How to Rank Checklist, knowing they will always see a lot of traffic and engagement.

1685632261 762 How Social Media Can Supercharge Your SEO

Build relationships between your social media and SEO teams

A strong relationship between your social media and SEO teams is crucial. You can trade information about high-performing topics that can inform strategy on both sides or allow you to make reactive changes to your tactics based on opportunities. Schedule a monthly one-on-one with your respective counterpart in your organization to connect and fill each other in on pertinent information.

With this information, you’re now armed to go out and make this happen for yourself! Take this as an opportunity to connect with your social media team and find new and innovative ways to collaborate and drive results for both social media and SEO.

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The Ultimate Guide to Hiring a PR Agency in 2023



The Ultimate Guide to Hiring a PR Agency in 2023

Vanessa Carlton said it best: Your company is making its way downtown, faces pass, and you’re “success” bound. See what I did there? Anywho, your company is on its way. But how do you communicate that with your stakeholders and the public?


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B2B digital marketing budgets should grow in 2023



5 strategies B2B marketing and sales teams can bank on as markets tighten

In the B2B marketing space, 70% of marketing executives expect digital marketing budgets to increase slightly or significantly this year. While 19% of marketers in general expect a significant increase, 24% of executives expect budgets to significantly grow.

While 79% expect to utilize AI tools in their marketing strategies, and 67% are overall positive about the impact of AI, a non-negligible 16% are apprehensive; 12% are indifferent. Personalization and content generation lead the use cases.

April 2023 state of B2B digital. These findings come from a new report by B2B research firm Ascend2 in association with the digital agency Wpromote. They interviewed 348 marketing professionals in the U.S. in April of this year.

The top challenges they face this year are:

  • Improving customer experience.
  • Proving ROI.
  • Generating quality leads.
  • Creating quality content.
  • Aligning marketing and sales.

Why we care. Those challenges do seem perennial. But what’s striking about this report is the robust belief that B2B marketing organizations will have more to spend on digital initiatives despite economic headwinds.

This is in slight contrast to the views of a similar-sized sample expressed in Gartner’s 2023 CMO Spend and Strategy Survey, where between 12% and 26% of those interviewed expected to decrease spending in specific digital channels. Two differences: The Gartner sample was split evenly between B2B and B2C marketers; it also incorporated findings from Canada and Europe.

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Dig deeper: Marketers under pressure to cut martech spend

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About the author

Kim Davis

Kim Davis is the Editorial Director of MarTech. Born in London, but a New Yorker for over two decades, Kim started covering enterprise software ten years ago. His experience encompasses SaaS for the enterprise, digital- ad data-driven urban planning, and applications of SaaS, digital technology, and data in the marketing space.

He first wrote about marketing technology as editor of Haymarket’s The Hub, a dedicated marketing tech website, which subsequently became a channel on the established direct marketing brand DMN. Kim joined DMN proper in 2016, as a senior editor, becoming Executive Editor, then Editor-in-Chief a position he held until January 2020.

Prior to working in tech journalism, Kim was Associate Editor at a New York Times hyper-local news site, The Local: East Village, and has previously worked as an editor of an academic publication, and as a music journalist. He has written hundreds of New York restaurant reviews for a personal blog, and has been an occasional guest contributor to Eater.

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