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From the bleeding edge: 10 must-read scientific research papers on conversion rate optimization

Paras Chopra
Paras Chopra
Founder and Chairman of VWO

Scientific research papers on how to increase sales or conversions are rare.  Most of the articles you read on the Internet (admittedly, including a lot of posts on this blog as well) are based on what the writer thinks and what makes logical sense. But scientific research works in a different way. Authors of research papers must produce accurate, reproducible results.  And their articles are reviewed by peers before getting published. Hence in most cases you can always trust results of a scientific paper.

So I fished out research papers on the internet which tell you how to increase your revenues online. Here is the list for your reading pleasure:


  • Web site usability, design, and performance metrics[1] [good paper with lots of information]
  • Influencing the online consumer’s behavior: the Web experience[2][Good, detailed paper]
  • The impact of initial consumer trust on intentions to transact with a website: a trust building model[3] [PDF]
  • The role played by perceived usability, satisfaction and consumer trust on website loyalty[4] [needs subscription for fulltext]
  • An empirical study of Web browsing behaviour: Towards an effective Website design[5]


  • Practical Guide to Controlled Experiments on the Web: Listen to Your Customers not to the HiPPO[6] by Microsoft Research [PDF, Good paper for A/B split testing internals]
  • Predicting bounce rates in sponsored search advertisements[7] by Google [PDF]
  • How well does result relevance predict session satisfaction? by Yahoo Research[8]
  • Generating Web Site Traffic: An Empirical Analysis of Web Site Visitation Behavior by UC Berkley[9] [PDF]
  • Predicting online-purchasing behaviour[10] [needs subscription for fulltext]

After compiling this list and reading most of the articles, I realized there is a large disconnect between what happens in research and what is actually applied in the market. Do you agree? Did you even know such kind of research happens at all?

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Shanaz Khan from VWO

Hi, I am Shanaz from the VWO Research Desk.

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