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Conversion Rate Optimization: Whose Responsibility Is It, Anyway?

Posted by LKWD on January 19, 2014
conversion-rate-optimization

Used to be, in the agency world, we had to sell clients (or bosses – when I say clients here, I’m talking bosses too) on the idea of PPC. Heck, we used to have to sell clients on the idea of a website once upon a time.

As recently as 5-6 years ago, clients didn’t know what PPC was, or that it even existed. That’s all changed now. I’ve met few clients who didn’t have at least a basic understanding of PPC. They may not be experts at it, but they know what it is.

Nowadays it’s not hard to convince clients to engage in PPC, or even SEO for that matter. Driving qualified traffic to your website via search is something almost everyone wants to do.

The challenge today is what happens once people get to the websites.

Conversion rate optimization, or CRO, has been around for a long time. Entire companies exist to help website owners with CRO. Entire books have been written about it. Great blog posts like this one are being written about it. And still, it seems, few companies are actually doing it.

As a PPC manager, then, how much can we be responsible for conversions? And how can we lower the cost per conversion without touching the landing page?

It’s a constant challenge for both agency and in-house PPC’ers. When I worked in-house, I had more input into website optimization than I often do now in an agency setting, but our in-house web development resources were stretched thin. There were always 20 other projects ahead of CRO.

In the agency world, it’s both better and worse. Sometimes we have a budget for CRO – that definitely falls in the “better” camp. But sometimes, clients are unwilling or unable to optimize their websites. I’ve had clients who can’t even install tracking codes, much less use them to optimize for conversion.

So what’s our responsibility as a PPC manager, then? Well, of course there’s still a lot you can do:

  • Optimize ad copy & keywords for conversion rate or cost per conversion
  • Optimize for CPC
  • Pare down the program to the best-converting keywords, ad networks, etc.

Those are all good things to do, depending on the situation. In my opinion, though, a good PPC manager will do one thing no matter what the situation:

Make recommendations for improvement.

So often I see advertisers whose campaigns have been optimized to within an inch of their lives, and yet the website is terrible. It practically scares visitors away instead of enticing them to convert. And of course, conversion rates are low.

It’s our job as PPC managers to recommend simple site changes that could make a big difference in the conversion rate. We may not be the ones to implement the changes, but it’s our responsibility to suggest them.

What do you think? How have you convinced your client or boss to do some CRO? Is CRO your responsibility as a PPC manager, or is it someone else’s? Share in the comments!

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