Conversion in the Age of Context

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conversion in the age of context

Conversion Rate Optimization was never simple, but it used to be simpler.

You have a page with your product’s details, and you want people to proceed to put it in the cart, and follow through to the sale. The page is seen by people who came from your landing page, or referred to by search engines. Most people find it the same way, and view it on the same screen size.

Fast forward to this year. The pages are viewed in different screen sizes, in a hundred varying devices. If you haven’t implemented Responsive Design or a mobile version, the user experience is broken.

But even before they get to your page, there’s a fundamental difference. They might have seen the star ratings on Google. On the Knowledge Graph section at the right, they might have found some of the supplementary information they need. There’s a slew of ZMOT considerations to think about - whether they’ve seen comparisons on review sites, videos about it on YouTube, any of a dozen search considerations that didn’t exist before.

So before they even get to your page, many visitors already know something about you - that’s context, and it should affect your conversion in different ways.

People Need to See Your Information Early

Visitors search for information about your industry, and they see a blog entry with someone’s face tied to it. They search for reviews and there are star ratings right on the search results page. People search for a restaurant on their phone, and the nearest one can be identified, along with location data.

What’s happening is a shift in how searches are being provided. On top of what’s explicitly being asked for - the search term - search engines are appending what they know about the intent with everything else that they know. The time of the search. The location of the search, especially if it comes from mobile phones. Search history, sites previously visited are all factored in.

On your site, the search engines are trying to collect and display more information, too. 

1.If your content is tied to a Google Plus account, they’ll show your author.
2.If you’ve marked up your address and your numbers, they can display on the results page.

You can go to to find the range of tags available, but the point is, contextual information is being displayed to your potential prospects whether you like it or not. It might as well be from you.

Think About All Searchers for a Term - Not Just Customers

More searchers coming into your site may be a good thing, but not when you can’t get into their heads. 

The thing about it is that as Moz recommends while dealing with the pogo stick problem, you can’t think of just your customers. You need to think about searchers, because if most of them bounce from your site, you’ll have a tougher time ranking and getting potential prospects to see your site in the first place.

So do your research about what search terms are driving people to your site, and figure out the top things they need so they don’t bounce. 

Multi-device Strategy, Multi-channel Attribution

There are no two ways about it - for the digital marketers, there are a host of new things to learn, and far more things to tune. You need to invest in either Responsive Design  or a mobile version, depending on what your analytics data suggests. You need to have a social strategy that looks at conversions not in social, a web site strategy that looks beyond just web site conversions, and track everything.

The changes - social, mobile,  even the overhaul of search that deals less with keywords and more about context - all present opportunity. Make sure you capitalize, and you’ll have a leg up in the fast-changing environment.


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