Companies are spending more on web optimization tools, despite lack of tech skills

Despite the rise of external digital channels such as social media, the company’s website is often the most effective and easily controlled marketing channel at its disposal. Luckily for marketers, we’re in an age of increasingly sophisticated tools that allow them to give their customers exactly what they want when it comes to a website experience.

Software buying guide and reviews service TrustRadius recently conducted a survey on the usage of these web optimization tools (or as it calls them, “conversion rate optimization” CRO tools.) The results revealed the growing investment and adoption of this type of software, as brands get more savvy about making their websites into revenue generators.

Some noteworthy findings of the survey include:

  • Most companies plan to spend more on CRO software in the coming year. 59 percent plan to spend more on digital analytics tools, 48 percent will spend more on A/B testing tools.
  • A majority of businesses have moved beyond the infancy phase for CRO: 72 percent of companies surveyed have some CRO processes in place, 18 percent consider CRO part of their DNA 
  • Digital marketers rely on multiple tools for CRO: 91 percent of respondents use two or more tools for digital analytics, 43% for A/B testing. This pattern is consistent across company sizes. 
  • 58 percent of users spend more than $10,000 on digital analytics tools per year, 44% spend more than $10,000 on A/B testing software. Spend grows with company size and for the most part CRO maturity.

Clearly the days of just using analytics to inform your web optimization ideas are over. We’re seeing more companies move towards A/B and multivariate testing, behavior tracking and customer targeting that can effectively turn visitors into sales.

TrustRadius CEO Vinay Bhagat says his company classifies CRO platforms into three different categories, depending on the function they perform. This includes analytics platforms which record site visitor numbers, testing platforms which help optimize site content, and customer insights tools which include heat maps or click maps to help understand customer interactions. Out of the three, Bhagat says analytics are by far the most widely implemented, mostly due to the widespread adoption of Google Analytics as a free tool.

Although more people are starting to use testing and insights tools, there’s still very few marketers who have the skill set to effectively use these platforms.

“The market for testing is still pretty immature,” says Bhagat. “But as people start to demonstrate clear ROI associated with it, there will be broader adoption and the creation of full-time roles for testing”

For now, most of the CRO software expertise lies with consulting firms, although at the enterprise level, companies like Adobe and Monetate are offering training and professional services to educate users of their platforms.

While you would expect vendors who provide an all-in-one solution for analytics, testing and tracking would have a clear advantage in the market, Bhagat says most companies are happy to use different point solutions for each function. In other words, a company like Adobe, which offers Adobe Analytics, Adobe Target and Adobe Experience Manager in a unified, integrated way doesn’t quite deliver the exponential value over assembling a bunch of disparate tools, such as Google for analytics, Optimizely for testing, and Crazy Egg for click tracking.

“There’s certainly value in all-in-one integrated platforms,” says Bhagat. “But the customers and analysts we’ve spoken to say the current integrations between different point solutions available are sufficient to meet the market requirements.”

To check out more results from the survey, here’s a Slideshare presentation from TrustRadius.

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