Consumer-centric CRO: removing the true barriers to conversion

When thinking about Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO), most minds gravitate towards onsite micro interactions to funnel customers through like calculated sheep. For example, removing the ‘X’ from a popup to trick more viewers into clicking.

Well, we’ve taken to the streets to get genuine feedback from real consumers and clients, and the consensus is that CRO should not come at the cost of great user experience or elevated service. We couldn’t agree more.

A consumer-focused approach

Our approach to CRO hinges on the consumer. So, to craft our CRO methodology we built a mechanism to discover, prioritise, implement and monitor tests in a way that digs far deeper than traditional CRO programmes. And this is all centred around why customers want to complete an action, rather than pushing them to do so.

We don’t believe in trapping customers through incessant pop-ups or overbearing CTAs; rather, we set out to help our clients understand things from their customer’s point of view, grasping what the true barriers to conversions may be, and how to weigh up low hanging fruit with longer term investments.

Our approach looks all the way from an acquisition perspective to understand how customers may land themselves on certain pathways to begin with, to retention programmes and follow up behaviours to understand by how much we’re really moving the needle. We want to help analyse, map and leverage user behaviour to help find priority areas to test that come naturally.

Sounds smashing, how do you do it?

We start with observation and analysis to build out a detailed journey or empathy map. We have an arsenal of different ways to unearth the true reasons why customers might be behaving a certain way; and our double pronged approach investigates the ‘how’ as well as the ‘why’ to give us a fuller picture of the ‘what’.

We utilise tactics such as surveys, detailed omnichannel data analysis, market research, and heatmaps to paint a quantitative picture, while leaning on qualitative approaches like user interviews, focus groups and digital billboards. We funnel all of this knowledge into our empathy map, which allows us to look across wider user journeys, through a macro and micro lens, enabling us to truly see what a customer sees…

From our map, we’re able to pinpoint what we like to think of as ‘levers’ that we can investigate and pull on to tailor our test and learn strategy and methodology for implementation. Each lever consists of what factor(s) might be affecting behaviour from a strategic and a functional perspective, even if not visible from a consumer view.

Typically, our levers stretch across four key areas: Technical, UX & Design, Content & Personalisation. Here’s a breakdown of what each of these key areas encompass:


• Completing holistic data analyses and omnichannel audits
• Swimming through a dataLayer to ensure tracking is registering correctly and applied to all possible pathways
• Digging into loading speed, page vitals, etc
• Perhaps the site structure or code isn’t complicit with Google requirements

UX & Design

• Navigation and wayfinding tools on certain action, page or journey on site
• Accessibility and search engine requirements
• Psychological inputs behind form and function of each action, page or journey on site
• Use of onsite movement or animation

Content & Personalisation

• Alignment to branding and audience requirements
• Alignment to acquisition campaigns and wider brand activity
• Content format use and implementation

Next: prioritising the opportunities at hand

What we tend to find is that there is never a shortage of opportunities to test or learn with, it’s prioritising them effectively where the true value comes.

For example, changing the colour of text might have a heightened impact on clicks, but changing the navigation of the page could funnel more visitors through and therefore contribute to a greater number of clicks. Likewise, altering the background colour of an ad might have an effect on engagement, but updating the directive in the ad text might skyrocket engagement.

The key here is mapping the opportunities back to the audience priorities and pain points, and cross referencing these with the business objectives. If the objective is to drive clicks, we need to optimise towards what might have the highest yield of clicks, not necessarily what might be the most obvious.

It’s essential that we’re implementing tests that achieve what we set out to do.

Within our prioritisation stage, we grade each opportunity by a few different factors depending on the task at hand – the main ones being Ease of Implementation and Impact Score. The goal is to prioritise tests where the Ease of Implementation is Low and the Impact Score is High.

Our Ease of Implementation metric is pretty straight forward. It’s essentially a high (3), medium (2) or low (1) score averaged from a 1-3 tally of the following:

  • How many teams might need to be involved (1 = just one team, 3 = multiple teams)
  • How ‘out there’ is this change? I.e. will this push client boundaries and require additional time to clear through the necessary parties? (1 = very straight-forward change and no additional sign-offs require, 3 = internal and client sign-offs required, pushes brand guidelines)

The next metric we use is Impact Score, which is also a high (3), medium (2) or low (1) measurement averaged from the below:

  • Would the test drive up the CPM by splitting budget/reach? (1 = yes, 3 = no)
  • What is the confidence score of the test? (0 = below 60%, 1 = 60 – 75% confidence, 3 = as close to 100% confidence as possible)
  • Estimated impact the test will have on a specific objective i.e. driving clicks (1 = Little impact, 3 = major impact)
  • Personalisation score to target audiences/segments (1 = Low personalisation, 3 = Very personalised to target audience(s)/segment(s)

Using this framework allows us to effectively prioritise which tests will genuinely meet our goals, and help our target audiences to complete our desired action.

Quite the science… Who has it worked for?

Royal Canin, manufacturer of specialist premium dog and cat food, came to us when their site wasn’t converting to the best of its ability.

In our upfront approach, we identified several insights around customer segments and particular behaviours that we could tap into to increase pet food purchases. In applying the insights to the conversion goals with the client, we decided to focus on one insight in particular to serve as the North Star for our tests: Pet owners of new puppies and kittens are faced with numerous questions and concerns around pet food and general wellbeing of their pet, and couldn’t readily find this information when they engaged with, nor were they exposed to the depth of the content that would genuinely aid them during this stage of them and their pets life.

Using this as a primary focus, we devised and ran a series of CRO tests that focused on helping users find the right pet food for them through better navigation of the site, alongside making it more intuitive to continue engaging with the brand for all relevant questions surrounding their puppy or kitten.

As a result of the work, the brand was able to reach more Pet Owners and tell the Royal Canin story to this audience, ultimately increasing trust in the brand and as a result product sales. The tests ultimately led to:

  • Increased page views on the dog product page x439% (to 43%)
  • Reduced bounce rate by 1.5% (17.5% to 16%)
  • Increased click through rates to partner sites (where the product was sold) by 17.5% (63% to 80.5%) on desktop and by 22% (24.5% to 46.5%) on mobile

Ready to talk?

If you’re interested in learning more about how IMA HOME can help you get to know your customers and increase your conversions or actions taken, then say hello at

Written by:

Adriana Goldenberg Senior Integrated Planner


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