How Does CRO Differ From UX

Kimberley Maunder

Mar 28 .

We often talk about Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) and User Experience (UX) as a pair, which can sometimes make it confusing to understand the difference between the two. While they definitely work well in tandem, and in some ways overlap, they each have a unique purpose. A little like coffee and donuts! Or bacon and eggs! Good apart, but better together…

Let’s look at what makes UX and CRO similar, as well as what makes them different:

Where do CRO and UX overlap?

At the end of the day, both of these marketing areas are all about the customer experience (and really, so is SEO!). They are both about making it as good an experience as possible when someone visits your site. They both want to make the customer journey better with an end result in customer satisfaction. But they are far from the same thing.

What is the difference between CRO and UX?

Some say CRO is the “what” of your site, while UX is the “why”. What does this mean? CRO is all about what is happening on your site, what a user is doing in their journey, while UX is about why things happen, why a user might get frustrated, why they might not click a button. While the two have similar goals, they are not the same. UX is about making a website easy and enjoyable to navigate, while CRO is specifically about the action – or conversion – the user takes.

CRO V UX quote

The tests completed and the way success is measured is also different between CRO and UX. CRO measures conversion rate. This is typically by seeing how Version A versus Version B performs, whether it’s specifically via a split test or just making changes and comparing the difference over time. Higher conversion rate = success.

UX is measured by how the user interacts with the site and user-specific metrics. This could be by completing user surveys to see what a user really thinks and collating a group of people to find matching threads, or via things like bounce rate, time on site, etc. Usually all of these tactics will be used in unison for the best results.

Another difference is when you can use CRO and UX. While UX work can happen both while developing a website and once it is live, CRO can only be done on existing sites. However, we are big believers in iterating on what is existing, which is why we like to use these services together as much as possible.

An easy way to think about this is the way we break these two areas down with our clients in our Digital Experience analysis. UX looks at; navigation, content, presentation, interaction, and value & usefulness and analyses these areas against the 10 Usability Heuristics. CRO looks at; site structure, calls to action, values, and checkout/lead process with the aim of presenting a number of testing opportunities to improve conversions.

Why you should do both

CRO and UX can often intertwine, while also having some unique differences, which is why it is so important to find balance between optimising for conversions and improving the experience of users. Good user experience will often mean better conversions, and improving conversion rate will often dip into UX work. While they can be implemented individually, for the best results, a collaborative approach is always best!

In case you couldn’t tell, we have a lot of love for CRO and UX! If you want to chat about it or have more questions, hit us up today.

Kimberley Maunder

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