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Investing in Paid Media vs. Investing in CRO

Investing in Paid Media vs. Investing in CRO

The cost of everything is going up. And that includes the cost of winning a new customer. Last year, the cost per lead for Google ads went up for 91% of sectors. The statistic isn’t completely surprising. In 2022 many of the world’s major economies saw inflation hit record rates and sent governments scrambling to get it under control without triggering recessions. Now, headed into the rest of this year, brands must balance the cost of acquisition with growing business. How? Balancing spend from the top of funnel with PPC ads with conversion rate optimization (CRO) to close the sale.

Top-of-Funnel Focus

Obviously if shoppers can’t find you, they can’t buy from you. Increasing awareness is the job of top-of-funnel marketing like content marketing, SEO and paid ads. These are effective ways to get your brand in front of the right customers.

When you properly target your ads, they reach the consumers most likely to click through and check out your brand and its offerings. In 2022, the click through rate for paid ads remained at 6.3% – unchanged from 2021. The conversion rate for paid ads fell 14% year-over-year while the cost per click went up 2%. The economics of paid ads are shifting. But what else can brands do?

Shifting to organic search investments like SEO is the next logical step. Optimizing your site for organic search means you don’t have to rely on paid ads as your sole source of discovery. This means making sure your site includes the right keywords in the right context and amount. Google prioritizes usefulness in its algorithms. Does your site answer customer questions? Does it offer the products and experiences that consumers are looking for? SEO optimization puts your brand and products in front of shoppers.

Getting Higher Conversion Rates

So the shopper has found you. Now what? You’ve invested time and money into getting customers to your site and now you want them to buy. You want them to go from browsers to buyers. You want them to convert. For that, you need to focus on conversion rate optimization (CRO).

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What is CRO?

vector image of a laptop screen with different webpage layouts CRO is the process of evaluating and making changes to your website that reduce barriers to purchase.

What Kind of Barriers?

Even the best-designed ecommerce store can cause friction for buyers. You can spend lots of money designing your web store and still have elements that frustrate buyers and drive them away without making a purchase.

  1. Misplaced calls-to-action – If CTAs aren’t displayed correctly (in the right colors, in the right size and in the right places on the website), customers are likely to miss them.
  2. Cluttered pages – If a page has too much information, customers can get confused or frustrated and just click out.
  3. Sparsely populated pages – Just like too much information causes frustration, too little information leaves customers confused. For example, if you have a product that is customizable, how do shoppers know that? How many clicks does it take for a shopper to see the value and options of your product?
  4. Complicated checkout process – Too many steps, too many form fills, no security reassurance and unclear shipping charges are just some of ways customers become frustrated with the checkout process.
  5. Forcing account creation – Yes, your business wants to capture customer information so you can better target them with messaging and offers, but the best way to win and keep new customers is to let them do the driving. That is, give customers control over the type and amount of data they need to give you to complete a purchase.

How Do I Know Where the Barriers Are?

You can use free, online tools like Google Analytics to help you identify website elements that might be a problem. For example, if you have a high drop-off rate on a certain part of the checkout process, you should look at that page and try to identify the problem.

As with anything free, these tools will only get you so far. To get a complete view and analysis of what’s working on your website and what’s not, you may need to enlist a paid service.

Finding the Balance

To grow your ecommerce business, you need shoppers to find your store and complete a purchase. With the cost of paid ads on the rise, you cannot afford to have an unbalanced strategy. Optimizing for SEO can help consumers find your site. But to move shoppers down the funnel and get them to complete a purchase, you must also invest in CRO.

Knowing which elements of your website are helping and which are hurting lets you make decisions to correct problems.

If your budget can’t take the increasing paid ad prices, it might be time to optimize for something else. Air360 is an ecommerce experience intelligence platform that lets you quickly and easily understand how shoppers interact with your site so you can improve conversion rates.

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