Essential CRO Metrics Every Digital Marketer Must Know

Ming Lagman

March 1, 2022

Whether you’re optimizing conversions for product pages or ad landing pages, these metrics are what you need to watch out for.

If conversion rate optimization (CRO) were easy, everyone would be doing it. Given the numerous conversion rate optimization metrics and how non-linear customer journeys are, leading a visitor to convert into a customer or lead can prove to be quite a challenge.

When users arrive on your website, many other things can happen along their customer journey that could lead them to abandon it. And as if the challenge of figuring out why that happens wasn’t tough enough, you also have to deduce where these happen.

Did they happen online, on your website or social media? Or did they happen offline after an alternative recommendation from a peer they trust? Were they able to find a solution already? Or are they still waiting for added value that will push them to convert?

The correct answer may be all of those, or it could be neither of them. But the only way to know for sure is by making an informed hypothesis through the data you’ve gathered. However, before you can get to that step, you first have to know which specific conversion rate optimization metrics you should be inspecting.

Why be specific; what happened to the bigger picture? Because with the multitudes of metrics you can look through in analytics, you can’t simply look at them all; wasting you both time and effort. It’s best to always work efficiently and maintain focus on which ones are truly impactful to conversion rate optimization.

That’s something that, as a data-driven digital marketing company, we’ve been able to narrow down into just five priority metrics. These specific sets of conversion optimization metrics are what we believe to be the most effective in moving the dial.

The top conversion rate optimization metrics

So you’ve made sure that all the essential elements of your CRO strategy are implemented and refined. However, for some reason, your visitors are just abandoning their journey way too soon, or suddenly. Don’t feel defeated just yet. After all, CRO doesn’t just end once all the strategies are in place.

Assessment and making necessary adjustments are part of the continuing process guaranteeing success. Getting stuck somewhere is a good place for you to step back, and reassess the following metrics to see what exactly needs further improvement:

  1. Visits to Transaction
  2. Unique and Returning Visitors
  3. Points of entry and exit
  4. Lifetime Value (LTV)
  5. Net Promoter Score (NPS)

1. Visits to Transaction

This metric may not look like it has the most straightforward answers to your conversion dilemmas, but then again as we said, customer journeys aren’t really as linear as they used to be.

If you want to make a good guess at to how effective your campaigns are at instant – and we mean, of the right upon visiting kind – conversions, then Visits to Transaction provides you the best answer to that. This is because Visits to Transaction tracks how many times your visitors had to return to your landing pages prior to completing a transaction goal.

Sounds a lot like Returning Visitors, doesn’t it? You can think about that later. For now, get yourself acquainted with Visits to Transaction as a key metric in CRO. One that is especially helpful for ecommerce sites.

So what are we looking for in terms of optimizing for this metric? Well, ideally, it would be to lessen the number of visits they have to make, and get them to convert as quickly as possible, if not immediately.

To optimize for more quick conversions, you can:

  • Refine your copies to instill a sense of urgency. Revisit the copies on your product pages and other transactional pages and assess if they are aligned with the intent to transact, communicate that clearly, and with urgency. Be meticulous in scrutinizing your product messaging and seek to improve the clarity in your copies.
  • Time-sensitive promotions. Nothing inspires a quick transaction faster than a promo that will run for a short period of time. How else do Lazada and Shopee flash sales and deals work, right? But more than putting a countdown on offers, make sure that they’re also valuable enough to really hook your customers into making a purchase.
  • Keep the journey as simple as possible. You can optimize for this on your pages in a number of ways like crisp and direct copies. But looking on the technical side, you can also optimize for this in your forms or payment portals – are they providing a short and simplified transaction process?

2. Unique and Returning Visitors

Similar to the point that drives CTR as one of the key metrics for CRO, Unique and Returning Visitors indicate your website’s potential for conversions. These metrics indicate how many visitors in total visited your website or landing pages for the first time and those who made a return visit, respectively.

Additionally, you can also look into these metrics to define and further segment your audiences for more specific insights. Where Unique Visitors will give you clues about how many new audiences you’re reaching, Returning Visitors signals the estimated number of visitors who’ve shown interest in your brand on more than one occasion.

Furthermore, Returning Visitors can be seen as those who have the highest potential to convert, seeing as they’ve repetitively visited your website and/or landing pages.

You can further optimize for Unique and Returning Visitors by:

  • Investing in retargeting and remarketing efforts. These efforts ensure that you reach new and existing audiences who’ve abandoned the conversion. As an added measure to bolster your optimizations, thoroughly assess your business needs and scope so you can choose between retargeting or remarketing as the most effective for your campaigns.
  • Create new, or update existing audience personas. Audiences evolve over time, just as your business would. Sometimes, their interests can change in just a few months, or even after a few weeks. Make sure that your target audience’s personas and executions that aim to communicate to them are always up-to-date.

3. Points of entry and exit

Points of entry and exit mean exactly what you think they do; they are touchpoints where your visitors enter your site and, correspondingly, exit.

In the context of your CRO efforts, these points need constant monitoring so you can come to a definite conclusion as to what pages are causing people to enter and exit. Specifically:

  • Points of entry. Tell you which channels are working well to pull in your desired visitors. This then allows you to map out a more crisp cross-channel delivery strategy for your campaigns. Needless to say, you will want to direct your efforts to channels and entry points that are performing best.
  • Points of exit. In contrast, points of exit will tell you which parts of your website are causing people to abandon their journeys and leave, and the causes can be a myriad of factors. For one, it can be something technical like page loading speed. Or it can be content-related, like a block of text that is incoherent to the headline.

To optimize for more entries and lesser exits, you can:

  • Reassess your on-page features. Check the quality of the copies on your pages. Are they coherent and do they have an information hierarchy that makes sense? In short, are your copies conversion-optimized?
  • Ensure seamlessness in your infrastructure. Online audiences are not the most patient of people. Whether it’s on social media or your website, they want their customer journeys to carry on without a hiccup, or else they’ll abandon their journeys and you lose your conversion. To avoid this, make sure that you optimize your page loading speed, ensure user experiences are flawless, and other technical improvements you can incorporate.

4. Lifetime Value (LTV)

So far, we’ve discussed a number of metrics that help you earn conversions outright. But as the story goes with CRO, it doesn’t just end there.

Many marketers out there think that CRO is all about getting that one conversion and calling it a day once it’s acquired. But true CRO experts know that it’s more than that. Ultimately, the goal of CRO is to assure your business of more durable results. If you’re looking for signs that lead you in the direction of customers who will provide you with those durable conversions, then Lifetime Value (LTV) is a metric that you can’t ignore.

Lifetime Value refers to the average revenue your business generates per customer over their lifespan as a subscriber. This value represents your total gains with respect to the total engagement time with your business.

You can acquire this data through predictive analytics and to compute for LTV specifically, you can use the formula below:

You can optimize for increasing Lifetime Value by:

  • Cross or upselling. Offering tangential or updated products to your customers helps increase the retention rate for clients, thus improving overall LTV for your products or services. A caveat for this is: Make sure that the offered value of each additional product or service is appealing enough to convert them.
  • Offer discounts or promotions. Some customers stick around because they know that you will eventually mark down on specific products or services.

Take for example shopping apps like Lazada or Shopee. They offer monthly sales like their 7.7, 8.8, 9.9, and so on, consistently. In doing so, they gave customers not just a reason to stick around, but something to look forward to from their brand.

5. Net Promoter Score (NPS)

Finally, with all your combined efforts for acquiring new customers and making sure they stick around, your CRO will lead you to develop loyal customers. These are measured as your Net Promoter Score (NPS) – a calculation of customer loyalty and satisfaction.

You see, the true win in CRO isn’t just with the conversion from a visitor to a customer. Your bottom line in CRO should be to keep these acquired customers happy, and even evangelizing or be “promoters” of your brand. In that regard, NPS is arguably one of the most crucial metrics for CRO that you should seek to improve upon constantly.

To gather data for computing your NPS, you can follow these steps:

  1. Send a Net Promoter Score survey to your established sample population.
  2. Download and collate the survey responses in a sheet for computing and banking in your database.
  3. In your spreadsheet, identify and code the respondents as:
    • Detractors  People who gave negative feedback;
    • Passives — Those who are at a neutral stance about your brand, or;
    • Promoters — people who gave positive feedback and expressed that they will likely refer your brand to their peers.
  4. Proceed to tallying and adding up the results for each code.
  5. Calculate the percentage total of each category by taking the group total and dividing it by the total number of survey responses.
  6. Subtract the percentage total of Detractors from the percentage total of Promoters.

To optimize for NPS, you can:

  • Improve upon your customer experience. Even the happiest customers can turn into sour ones after a single bad experience with your brand. To avoid this, make sure that the customer experience you provide them is near-flawless. And, if all else fails, ensure that your customer services address pain points efficiently.
  • Implement a customer rewards program. One thing customers love more than a spotless customer experience is a reward system. Customers, after all, are investing not just money but time in your brand. Rewards provide an added value that makes their investment worth their while.

Key takeaways

As you probably got from the entire discussion, CRO doesn’t just mean getting that click and sale. It’s all of that and more; factoring not just the first click, but an overall plan for continuing business. In seeking to bolster your CO efforts, bear in mind these important lessons:

  • CRO isn’t a one-off strategy. Rather, it’s a continuing process that ensures that your marketing funnel and flywheel are always providing not just valuable but memorable experiences. The more consistently you achieve this, the more solid and sustainable your results will be.
  • Keep your focus in terms of monitoring your metrics. With the hundreds of metrics available to you through tracking software, it can get easy to get confused and lost. But remember that while those are all valid metrics, only a handful of them actually have a significant impact on your CRO efforts.
  • Foster collaboration with other stakeholders. Hopefully, during your review of the tips for optimization, you noticed that some tweaks can only be done with the help of people outside of the team that specifically handles CRO. This means that CRO should be a collective goal, achieved with combined efforts. Make sure to foster collaboration among different teams like content, SEO, and tech teams, so you can achieve them efficiently.

CO can be a tricky matter to deal with, especially if you haven’t had sufficient practice in its implementation and since best practices vary for different goals and organizations. Share your own takes of priority metrics for CO in the comments section, or feel free to drop the Propelrr team a line.