Heuristic analysis in conversion rate optimization

All webmasters want traffic on their websites to skyrocket, and so do you. However, an increase in traffic will only be beneficial if you are able to persuade your site’s visitors to do what you want them to do. It could be anything: buying from your shared affiliate product links, subscribing to your newsletter services, or enrolling for your trial eBook.

But, if your site has a poor conversion rate, logging even a million visitors will be pointless. So, it is necessary that you strongly focus on conversion rate optimization (CRO) as well, to increase your chances of success.

And, this is where the unique methodology called Heuristic Analytics can be immensely helpful. But, what is this all about? What role does heuristic play in CRO? How does it qualify as one of the best CRO practices?

Read on to learn more.

What is Heuristic?

Heuristic (Thank You, Wikipedia!) is an approach to problem solving, learning or discovery that employs a practical method, not guaranteed to be optimal or perfect, but sufficient for the immediate goals. Common examples are rules of thumb, educated guesses, stereotypes, profiles or common sense.

Understanding Heuristic

To deal with the challenge of CRO, heuristic serves as an effective method or solution. This problem-solving approach enables you to overcome challenges quickly and easily. It can be learned from experience or taught by someone and applied to real-time decision-making. In a nutshell, it is a shortcut process that involves taking a few turns along the way and is not a point-to-point method.

Why Heuristic?

Heuristic helps you achieve CRO for your website, without having to start from scratch. In other words, it serves as the ideal shortcut to CRO success. But, how does it do this? Let us examine some key scenarios and examples.

According to Jeremy Smith, a conversion expert, a conversion optimizer may encounter the following queries on a regular basis:

  1. What image works best for your site: the bright one or the dark one? Likely solution: Since senior citizens stereotypically prefer muted colors, it may be better to go for dark colors. This is intuitive judgment.
  2. Should we use a Social Security Number (SSN) field, while capturing user information for distributing free eBooks from our site? Likely solution: No, as many will be extremely resistant to providing their SSN just to get a free eBook. This is common sense.
  3. How many steps should the checkout process consist of on your website? Likely solution: Three, as it is a rule of thumb.

These solutions are examples of a heuristic approach and its impact on getting the conversion scenario going for your website, when faced with similar queries. In short, you can say that it offers a solution for your problems by using the easiest and quickest approach.

Conversion Sequence Equation

In a conversion process, the probability of a conversion (C) is the most vital factor and needs to be increased. The highly popular conversion optimization heuristic can be summarized by looking briefly at the various important factors in the conversion process.

To increase the probability of a conversion, you thus need to:

  • Increase the user’s motivation (m),
  • Be completely clear about the value proposition (v),
  • Add incentives (i) to take the appropriate action, and
  • Reduce or remove all the friction elements (f) and user anxiety (a) that you possibly can.

This can be summarized in the form of the following equation:

C = 4m + 3v + 2 (i-f) - 2a

This just helps you list all the main factors involved in any conversion optimization process. The idea always remains the same: You can structure it according to this heuristic for quick and efficient results.

Apart from the above popular heuristic, one can even keep track of several usability metrics that can help you improve the effectiveness of your website and its conversion optimization. Some of the popular ones, according to usability consultant Jakob Nielsen, include:

  • User control and freedom,
  • Error prevention,
  • Consistency and standards,
  • Visibility of system status, and
  • Flexibility and efficiency of use.

So, what do you think about Heuristic Analysis? Can you make it work for YOU?

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