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Conversion Jam 2017: the key insights

Conversion Jam in Stockholm is one of the biggest and most influential conferences on conversion optimization worldwide. We're happy to share the key insights we got from the 7 top speakers.


  • Traditional USPs such as 'lowest price' are losing their value. You have to distinguish yourself with your service.
  • Traditional marketing doesn't work anymore. People don't trust companies, they trust people. Real people.
  • Take care of your existing customers. They are your marketeers and probably your biggest source of income.
  • Don't be afraid to ask your customer questions. You'll learn a lot from them.
  • Only then can you start writing: first describe the symptoms, then the solution (your product or service).
  • The fold exists: pay attention to the content that's visible before scrolling.
  • Make sure you have the technical knowledge in house to measure things correctly, so you can base your recommendations on reliable data.

1. Jono Alderson

Twitter: @jonoalderson

Conversion Jam 2017 key insights Jono Alderson
"If you're just chasing conversions rather than customers, expect to start losing market share." - Jono Alderson

Don't focus on conversion, focus on your customer. Not only for their first purchase, but for all of their purchases: optimize and invest in the lifetime value of your customer.

The goal is to have returning customers who only want to buy from you. Because they have no reason to look somewhere else. Look at what Amazon is doing with Amazon Prime.

Traditional USPs such as 'lowest price' and free delivery within 24 hours are losing their value. Everyone is using them, so they don't distinguish you from your competitors anymore. Your focus should be more on the service behind the product than the product itself.

Big players don't need big means anymore. It's all about good ideas and how you incorporate those into the life of the consumer. Think about Airbnb: they don't own any of the rooms, they just have the platform. 

Beware: this is a disadvantage as well. Competitors can come out of nowhere, exactly because they don't need big means anymore. 

2. Tiffany daSilva

Twitter: @bellastone

Conversion Jam 2017: key insights Tiffany daSilva
"Normal kids go for lemonade stands, I went for affiliate marketing." - Tiffany daSilva

4 tips on how to deal with your job as a CRO person:

1. Set clear expectations and goals so you know what you're aiming for. And so you avoid arguments between you and your client, or you and your boss.

2. Don't panic if you don't know everyhing. Be aware of your strong and your weak points. Make a list of the things you'd like to work on and tackle them one by one: 1 every year (e.g. improving your Google Analytics skills).

3. Sharing is caring: is a question or issue bothering you? Don't keep it to yourself, share it with others. Chances are your colleagues are struggling with the same thing.

4. Don't be afraid to share your successes, or you'll never get appreciated for your work. It's more important than focusing on the things that went wrong. So learn from your mistakes and share your success stories!

3. Chris Out

Twitter: @chrisout

Conversion Jam 2017: key insights Chris Out
"Stop throwing spaghetti on the wall and see what sticks. Start analyzing." - Chris Out

Have the right mindset: focus on the growth of your company, product or service. All your decisions should have growth as the ultimate goal.

That's why it's important to have just one main goal: 1 key metric you would like to improve. And that metric should be related to revenue or customer lifetime value.

Feedback is crucial for growth. Not only internal feedback, but feedback from your customers as well.

Don't be afraid to ask your customer questions. People often feel embarrassed, but there's so much you can learn from asking simple questions. Such as: "What would you miss the most if we/our product didn't exist anymore?"

A question we've been asking in customer surveys for years, by the way.

4. Gerry McGovern

Twitter: @gerrymcgovern

Conversion Jam 2017: key insights Gerry McGovern
"Odds of being struck by lightning: 0.03%. Industry standard of banner ad CTR: 0,04%." Gerry McGovern tells it like it is.

People don't trust traditional marketing anymore. People are getting immune to banners, fluffy marketing copy and happy people in visuals. 

"As soon as we get the sense something is an ad, we shut down. You are almost as likely to get hit by lightning as you are to click on an online banner ad."

Why are companies such as Amazon, Airbnb and Uber that successful? Not because we trust the companies or the platforms, but because we trust their users. They are real people

  • The user reviews are written by real people and don't contain marketing fluff.
  • Negative reviews are important as well. People might even read them more and they make you real. If your reviews are too perfect, you look fake.

Companies are currently obsessed with attracting new customers and they are ignoring their existing customers entirely.
That is their biggest mistake, because your existing customer is your marketeer.

Earning your customers' trust is getting more and more important, because it's easier than ever before to switch to a competitor. Instead of thinking from the viewpoint of your bottom line, you should think more in terms of solutions you offer people.

"Amazon is not obsessed with its competitors, but it is obsessed with its customers."

Conclusion: focus on existing customers, they take care of your marketing. 

5. Amy Harrison

Twitter: @HarrisonAmy

Conversion Jam 2017: key insights Amy Harrison
"The customer disconnect is not a copy problem - it's a story problem." - Amy Harrison

Find the gaps between what you say in your copy and the problem that is really bothering your customer.

A lot of companies talk from their perspective. They write about what they think is important. What they want to stress.
And to do this, most of the time they use general terms that apply to everyone and everything. Meaningless marketing fluff.

But how do you know what really bothers your customers? Ask them. (Yep, that's why at AGConsult everything is about user research.)

Only then should you start writing.

Start with describing the problems and symptoms that your customers recognize. Make them feel that you understand them. 
Only mention your product or service at the very end, as the solution of the problem you've described.

Your customers don't care about you. They only want one thing: to find a solution for their problem. Or a better version of themselves.

6. Simo Ahava

Twitter: @SimoAhava

Conversion Jam 2017: key insights Simo Ahava
"The best way to screw up your data - assume analytics is plug-and-play!" - Simo Ahava

The data that analytics tools such as Google Analytics measure and display by default is too general. With a default configuration, it's highly likely you're collecting the wrong data. You should adjust the data to your own needs.

“Data quality is earned, not acquired."

You have to understand how things are measured to be able to understand the data and to know whether the data is reliable. You need technical knowhow, preferably in your team.

Example: a pageview in Google Analytics is seen as the loading of a new page in your browser. This does not mean that the page was actually looked at. If you don't know this, you might draw the wrong conclusions.

Not only marketeers and CRO experts should know the importance of setting up Google Analytics correctly. Web builders should as well. 

7. Karl Gilis

Twitter: @AGConsult

Conversion Jam 2017: key insights Karl Gilis
"People don’t care about your company & your fancy solution, they care about themselves and what you can do for them." - Karl Gilis

1. The fold exists, it's not a myth.

Scrolling behavior is determined by what people see without the need to scroll. So please, pay extra attention to the content in that fitrst viewport. 

People will scroll for as long as the content is relevant. But relevant content is not enough: if there's a false bottom breaking the scroll flow, people will stop scrolling.

2. Pay attention to words

Design changes can give you amazing results, but only if your current design sucks donkey balls.

Is your design okay? Then you'll have to dig deeper. And change your copy so it changes your customers' behavior.

We're not talking about casually playing around with words. No, you need to find out what drives and motivates your visitors and clients. That's why you should do user research.

Finally, combine those insights with psychology and persuasion techniques to nudge your visitor in the right direction.

“If you don’t care about words, you’re a decorator, not a designer.”

"Change your copy so it changes behavior."

3. Be customer-centric

  • Focus on the problems and the situation of your visitor. It's not about you, it's about them.
  • Give your visitors what they want and you'll get what you want.
  • Say what you mean. Avoid general words and umbrella terms.

“Stop selling the way you want to sell, start selling the way people want to buy.” 

4. Don't scream for attention

It doesn't work in real life. And it definitely doesn't work online.

Designers think they can impress visitors with a pretty looking website. Very often though, pretty design results in a website that doesn't convert. (But hey, it got you that design award.)

Sliders don't work. They're a distraction. We've known this for a long time.

Unfortunately, new design trends keep popping up, that are actually the same thing. Such as video backgrounds.

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