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14 CRO Trends You Can’t Ignore if You Want to Stay Ahead of the Curve [2024]

How many folks do you see turning to Yahoo! for their burning questions or sending emails through Yahoo Mail? 

Not many, right?

In the ’90s, Yahoo! ruled the digital realm, offering everything from search engines to email and music. 

However, its downfall came as it failed to adapt to changing trends. 

For example, it couldn’t catch up with the rise of mobile and social media. It failed to embrace modern design principles, rendering its online portals look dated. 

The lesson? Don’t ignore trends. Stay alert, and be innovative, as they could signal a big change in how consumers act, shaping your business’s future.

And speaking of trends, we’re here to keep you in the loop with the hottest CRO trends. Sure, the example of Yahoo! might have veered into the realms of an overarching business strategy, but in a world where most visitor interactions with brands unfold online, your approach to conversion rate optimization must adapt. 

After all, how visitors behave on websites will reflect their changing preferences. It’s not just about tweaking website elements; it’s about strategic decision-making that drives your entire business forward.

So, let’s start.

1. Embrace Gen AI technology and tools

Generative AI marks a new chapter in the book of cutting-edge technologies, and its applications in CRO, as in many other industries, are extensive. For example, it can be harnessed to dynamically iterate through real-time experiments, eliminating underperforming ideas and adjusting variants without interrupting the ongoing experiment.

Summarizing testing logs, AI in a CRO tool can highlight key findings, compile results, and even suggest future steps. Moreover, generative AI can leverage historical visitor behavior data to anticipate behavior for upcoming A/B tests.

At VWO, we have taken strides in integrating generative AI into our platform to speed up your testing for faster growth. The inclusion of AI in VWO Surveys summarizes visitor responses, providing key highlights and actionable insights. This swift analysis saves you from the hassle of sifting through piles of survey responses. Additionally, you can receive personalized testing ideas for your webpage based on your goals. All it takes is scanning the page URL to display relevant testing ideas.

We’ve already received positive feedback from our partners and customers for our innovation, and one such appreciation post is provided below:

Positive feedback from VWO partners
Image source: LinkedIn

2. Incorporate augmented reality and virtual reality 

Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) provide personalized, lifelike experiences that significantly influence purchasing decisions. Both technologies leave a lasting impression on customers who appreciate the convenience of online shopping or research but still desire the precision of inspection typically found in offline stores. As customer expectations evolve, integrating AR and VR into conversion rate optimization strategies becomes essential for businesses dedicated to delivering exceptional online experiences.

Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) Illustration
Image source: ExpandCart

Imagine a scenario where an online furniture store utilizes VR for virtual room visualization. Visitors can virtually place furniture in their living spaces, creating an immersive experience that boosts confidence, reduces returns, and increases conversion rates. On the AR front, think of a cosmetic brand allowing mobile users to virtually try on makeup through their device’s camera. This enhances their shopping journeys with personalized visualizations and informed purchase decisions.

These technologies work best with mobile devices, lending more convenience to users on the go. Hence, incorporating and testing them through mobile optimization will give you a competitive edge in buyers’ minds by making shopping easier for them.

If you’re a product manager interested in experimenting with ambitious feature releases, you can leverage behavior analytics capabilities for in-depth visitor behavior research and a controlled feature roll-out using VWO. The tool is intuitive, requiring only a bit of guidance to get started. Take a free trial or request a demo now.

3. Integrate social proof without fail

Customers seek validation for their choices – “Has anyone else chosen the same product or service and been satisfied?” Real talk from real people – reviews, shoutouts, user-generated content, and testimonials – social proof can transform your visitors into customers and, eventually, into raving fans. This is one of those CRO trends that will only strengthen and gain momentum with each passing year. 

Want to take customer reviews to a new level? eCommerce enthusiasts can consider adding a “Customer Showcase” on their sites. Let your customers showcase their style by submitting pictures with your products and a few words about how awesome they feel. If you’re in the SaaS game, dive into detailed case studies, revealing the challenges your clients faced, how your software helped, and the positive outcomes. 

Here’s an impactful success story from the eLearning industry as well. Wikijob, the largest search engine in the UK, added testimonials to its aptitude test page and saw a 34% increase in purchases

WikiJob - Control
WikiJob - Variation

4. Ensure data cleanliness and integrity

This is one of the conversion rate optimization trends that you thought could let go of and didn’t expect to pop up in this list, right? But it’s high time that you prioritize the cleanliness of your data.

Inaccurate or incomplete data can lead to misguided decisions, affecting the visitor experience and the average conversion rate on your website. As a part of the conversion rate optimization process, running tests is common, but it may unwittingly attract bad data.

To address these challenges, businesses should prioritize regular audits of data collection processes, ensuring accuracy, up-to-date information, and error-free sources. Regular assessments of the performance of analytics tools and platforms are necessary to guarantee the reliability of the data they provide. Further, ensure dataset quality by eliminating duplicates and irrelevant observations.  

Identify and remove observations that don’t align with the specific problem you’re analyzing. For instance, when analyzing data on customers from Latin America, remove observations from customers from EMEA. That will help maintain data quality for in-depth analysis of CRO tests and results. 

At VWO, we’ve made testing reports more reliable by securing server-side campaigns through the blocking of traffic from bot user agents and malicious IP addresses. We hope this will help businesses make even more informed and better business decisions. Read our latest product update for more details. 

5. Delve deeper into visitor behavior research

One CRO trend destined to steal the spotlight is the growing significance of visitor research. It’s no longer just about eye-catching graphics and catchy slogans. You must focus on crafting a tailored online experience that directly addresses your target audience’s desires and pain points on your landing page or website. 

To achieve this, explore tools such as heatmaps, session recordings, form analytics, and surveys. Heatmaps and recordings aid in understanding visitor behavior by analyzing their actions on your website. Surveys provide direct feedback from visitors, and form analytics reveal potential friction points in form completion. By staying vigilant and proactively identifying issues through these tools, you can address them before they impede the visitor’s journey on your website.

Ben, a mobile and telecom company, utilized heatmaps and session recordings to gain qualitative insights into visitor behavior on its product page. Observing that visitors encountered difficulty choosing phone colors, as revealed by these qualitative tools, the team decided to make changes, such as elevating the position of the color palette. This tweak boosted conversions by 17.63% and cut down customer calls to Ben’s support center, easing confusion about chosen colors during orders.

Ben, a mobile and telecom company - Control
Ben, a mobile and telecom company - Variation

6. Accelerating testing velocity

Future developments in conversion rate optimization will hinge on an increased testing velocity. The higher the frequency of tests, the greater the likelihood of seamlessly integrating the latest trends. At a time when visitor preferences evolve swiftly, staying ahead necessitates prompt adaptation. This approach maintains an upward-trending average website conversion rate since you implement changes that receive visitors ‘stamp of approval,’ as validated by data.

With rapid testing, businesses can efficiently iterate and refine strategies in a short time. This allows them to experiment, fail, learn, and grow swiftly, gaining insights into what works and avoiding costly ideas or changes. Take Hubstaff, a dedicated SaaS software, for example. The team is consistently running a minimum of five distinct experiments on its website at any given moment.

Yet, generating a continuous stream of hypotheses or testing ideas isn’t a walk in the park. Here’s how the power of AI in VWO comes to your rescue. Enter your web page’s URL, and AI will provide personalized testing ideas based on scientific principles, delivering clear and actionable insights. It’s a game-changer, simplifying the complex process of generating testing ideas and keeping you on track for continuous conversion rate optimization.

7. Running tests that solve real customer problems 

Rather than settling for small tweaks, businesses should undertake thorough analyses to identify and address the root issues faced by their visitors. For example, rather than simply adjusting button colors and being complacent, delve into customer feedback, conduct user testing, and utilize analytics to understand genuine pain points. By aligning strategies with customer needs, businesses not only enhance their experiences but also foster long-term customer loyalty, translating into sustained growth and improved conversion rates.

8. Building personalized experiences

Online audiences now demand more than cookie-cutter websites. They crave personalized experiences as unique as they are. Businesses find themselves compelled to roll out the virtual red carpet, delivering tailored content, offers, and recommendations that resonate with each visitor’s wants and needs on their landing pages.

It’s a simple equation. When visitors feel understood and valued, they’re more likely to linger, actively engage with your brand, and, ultimately, become repeat customers. 

A case in point is One Click, a global eyewear brand. They wanted to improve conversion rates by personalizing the checkout page for users based on their country. Using VWO custom segmentation, they dynamically adjusted and localized the content. This test increased conversion rates by 30% and also improved engagement on the website. 

Control 2

Further, if you’re looking to delve directly into launching personalized campaigns, VWO Personalize can be your go-to capability.

Consider this scenario: during analyzing session recordings, you notice that female students are clicking the inquiry link the most for designing courses on your eLearning website. Responding to this insight, you decide to launch a personalized campaign offering a 15% discount on an early bird offer for those who enroll within a specific time. 

This strategic move aims to guide them down the sales funnel, leveraging the power of personalization. This is just one example; watch the webinar below to learn about personalization examples from various industries, addressing conversion challenges.

A VWO webinar on personalization for tackling conversion challenges
A VWO webinar on personalization for tackling conversion challenges

As much as its impact on SEO, voice search will be one of the significant future developments in conversion rate optimization. Integrating voice search into CRO strategies enhances visitor convenience, providing a seamless and hands-free experience.

Online audiences appreciate the efficiency and ease of simply speaking their queries, making the online shopping experience more convenient. On the other side, businesses find it easier to better understand visitors’ intent, leading to more accurate and relevant search results. This automatically creates an environment conducive to conversion growth. 

Let’s say you see the scope to improve search on your website to enhance visitor interaction. You may see if introducing a voice search feature brings any stark difference in visitor behavior and consequently in your sales. 

We found a great article to help you get started with voice search for CRO. Gather ideas, and if you want to test their suitability for your website, you can always rely on VWO.

10. Streamlining checkout processes

Don’t leave it to visitors to decipher your checkout process, especially with the dwindling attention spans of online audiences. Did you know Gen Z has an average attention span of just one second? The challenge is real, and nobody wants to waste time navigating a complicated checkout process.

Losing customers after they’ve filled their carts and are ready to hit that “checkout” button is a significant setback. The reasons can be many, and you can’t be sure which factor to attribute to a poor checkout rate. It is at this juncture that another CRO trend – leveraging behavior analytics – plays a big role. 

Once you have figured out where visitors are facing hiccups, you can understand what to fix. Some ideas that help reduce cart abandonments: shortening the form length, offering multiple payment options, and including a guest checkout feature. 

Flos USA, an innovative lighting seller, leveraged behavior analytics to analyze visitor behavior on every page of their website – starting from the homepage, listing page, to the checkout page. By identifying actual pain points, they realized what changes to make. This strategic approach increased their checkout rate by 125%

Flos USA - Control
Flos USA - Variation

11. Go for multichannel optimization

Modern consumers expect a unified and coherent experience as they move across different channels when engaging with a brand. Multichannel optimization puts the user at the center, focusing on providing a cohesive journey regardless of whether they start their interaction on a website, social platform, or via email.

Suppose you identify a group of audiences interacting with a paid search campaign for your OTT platform. Once they engage with the ad, they are directed to your website. It’s crucial to ensure that the website is optimized to guide them down the conversion funnel. You can sweeten the deal by offering incentives, such as a flat 20% discount for first-time members who download the app.

Upon app download, enhance their experience by suggesting shows they browsed or searched for during their website visit. Next, when they transition to watching your OTT on TV, optimize it in such a way that they can seamlessly resume their viewing experience from where they left off on the app.

All these optimization points can be efficiently implemented using VWO. Take advantage of our free trial to kickstart your journey into optimizing user journeys, enhancing engagement, and boosting conversion rates.

VWO Optimization - All at once

12. Use more referral and loyalty programs

Referral and loyalty programs in CRO highlight the shift from just gaining new customers to building lasting, mutually beneficial relationships between customers and businesses. 

Referral programs encourage current customers to refer friends, family, or colleagues to the business, creating a unique mechanism for customer acquisition. By offering incentives such as discounts or credits for successful referrals, businesses aim to capitalize on the trust and satisfaction established with their existing customer base. 

Loyalty programs are crafted to foster enduring relationships with existing customers. These initiatives aim to retain customers by rewarding their loyalty and frequent engagement with the brand, often through point systems, exclusive access, or other perks. 

To enhance the effectiveness of these programs, experimenting with different discount percentages, freebies, or exclusive access can help gauge which incentive level maximizes user participation. 

13. Increase engagement with gamification

When you infuse a dash of gamification – incorporating challenges, rewards, and progress bars – visitors are inclined to stay and engage on your website. Browsing your website becomes fun rather than a chore for them. And when your visitors are engaged, it will automatically increase the conversion rate for your website.

Take Duolingo, the language-learning platform, as an example. It seamlessly integrates gamified elements, where learners accumulate points, maintain streaks, and achieve milestones, transforming the typically challenging process of learning a language into an enjoyable and rewarding experience. 

Tinkoff Bank, a leading online financial services provider based in Russia, aimed to test whether implementing a gaming-style progress bar on the credit card application form page would motivate visitors to complete the form and reduce drop-offs. The progress bar on the Tinkoff website also incorporated rewards, employing gamification techniques to motivate visitors. This change resulted in an impressive overall conversion rate uplift of 35.8%.

14. Consider inclusive UX design 

Embracing inclusivity allows websites to not only create a positive visitor experience but also reach a broader audience, enhancing their conversion potential. Top brands like Apple and BBC have set industry standards, becoming beacons of accessibility and usability.

For instance, Apple provides features like Magnifier and Display Accommodations, empowering users to customize display settings to cater to various visual needs, including adjustments to text size, color filters, and contrast levels. On the other hand, the BBC stands out by ensuring a significant portion of its video content includes audio descriptions and subtitles. This thoughtful approach benefits users with visual or hearing impairments, enabling them to fully engage with multimedia content. 

Inspired by these ideas, businesses should zero in on inclusive UX design in CRO. If you have any doubts regarding the effectiveness of this  idea, you can always test and observe how visitors respond to these changes. While it may not directly impact revenue, it can significantly improve visitor engagement and earn the goodwill of your audiences. 

The impact of inclusive design goes beyond functionality; it shapes user perceptions. Users appreciate brands that prioritize inclusivity, and a positive perception of a brand’s commitment to accessibility contributes to increased trust and customer loyalty.

Inclusive Design Example
Image source: GOV.UK

Way forward 

Regret becomes a bitter pill to swallow when opportunities that could propel your business forward are missed. Resisting change and clinging to the status quo is a visionless strategy. Especially when the survival and growth of businesses hinge on staying abreast of trends in the world of digital marketing. 

Give your conversion rate optimization strategy a much-needed makeover by incorporating the top 14 trends we’ve explored. By understanding and adapting to customer behavior, anticipating their needs, and offering solutions, you’re not just meeting expectations – you’re exceeding them.

Turn your customers into raving fans by aligning your marketing strategies well with their preferences. If you believe that VWO can be a valuable companion on this journey of enhancing online conversions, take advantage of the free trial.

Pratyusha Guha
Hi, I’m Pratyusha Guha, a content marketer at Wingify. I love writing content that empathizes with readers and helps them solve challenges. When not writing, I’m reading non-fiction books on history, global diplomacy, self-growth, and personality development. I can’t function without music, so people almost always find me fully immersed in work with earphones plugged in, oblivious to the surrounding chatter. For anyone who wants to talk about life or feels the need to be heard, I can promise you non-judgemental listening.