23/12/2014 22:34 GMT | Updated 22/02/2015 05:59 GMT

Strictly Speaking, Conversion Rate Optimisation Has the X Factor

As we head towards the end of another year, the nights draw in, the cold frost nips and millions recently relaxed in front of their TV's to watch the climax of two British TV phenomenons; Strictly Come Dancing and the X Factor.

Reality TV has many similarities to social media; let's face it, many of us are sycophantic, inquisitive (or nosey) beings, we love to share good news and voice our opinions, and we also love a bit of drama and incredulity that a dance-off or sing-off - or even a bake-off - can bring.

Oh the scandal! How on earth did Pixie Lott go so soon? Why did that boy band with far too many members and little talent for singing get voted off? The nation hangs on every word as the digital world is dominated by them, trending every Saturday evening without fail.


Now what the digital marketing world really should be dominated by is its own talent show, one not dominated by desperate people searching for their 15 minutes of fame, but a contest that makes a difference to the way people use the internet. The world wide web is surely more important than a singing contest where the winner disappears without a trace, or a dancing contest where the winning actor/singer/cricketer promise to 'keep dancing' and we never, ever see them dance again, (except for the Christmas specials, of course, and then they only invite back the decent ones or those that are really bad so we can laugh at them).

That's right, the internet deserves its very own talent contest; multiple contests per minute in fact. A/B testing is Digital Marketing's very own bake-off, except that the winner could really make a difference rather than pixelate into anonymity - let's face it, we remember the calamities rather than the winners, that's why X Factor encourage the untalented so the nation can laugh in their faces - their montages receive millions of YouTube hits (I refuse to link to any, sorry).

Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) testing won't humiliate (at least it shouldn't!), it will improve the way in which we use the web. Website's that improve usability, via testing, reap the benefits as users will be able to book the service/buy the item they want with ease so they can get on with their day. They'll tell their friends and will come back for more. It really is that simple.

Now really is the time to look at split testing web pages in order to see which variation people prefer - was it the Eastender dancing the Tango or the Reality TV 'Star' (famous for not a lot - barely even 15 minutes), dancing the Cha-Cha-Cha? And what better way to decide how you cater to your customers than actually letting them vote on it? CRO is data science in its rawest form and if applied strategically it can help any online business grow significantly, as even the smallest increase in conversion rate can improve your business like no other facet of marketing.

James Root is Head of Conversion at High Position and Managing Editor of ICE Viral.