The growth of Conversion Rate Optimisation

by David Mannheim

posted on: December 29th 2015

The popularity of Conversion Rate Optimisation is growing at an alarming rate. It's not hard to see why when you understand the full potential of the benefits of conversion optimisation.

Potentially the biggest earmark is that of #CRODAY where 2015 marked the very first international conversion rate optimisation day (9th April).

Google Trends show that Conversion Optimization, as an industry from a search term perspective, has never been higher - peaking in September 2015; even more so when we look at the term "A/B testing" since 2004.

Growth of the ecommerce industry

By 2019 ecommerce sales online are estimated to be £86.96m. [Source]

The entire industry of UK ecommerce is growing, which means that as we spend more, we will, in theory, naturally grow. However, the advent of new competition mixed with the proliferation of user experience and satisfaction (or dissatisfaction as the case may be) could be cause for concern. If the average ecommerce conversion rate in the UK is 2.6% - what are the other 97.4% of users doing? Will this figure go up or will it go down?

eCommerce has become the dominant channel for businesses to makes sales and the UK is leading the way. International research by Centre for Retail Research highlights online sales in the UK is expected to reach £52.25 billion by the end off this year, a total increase of 16.2%.  [Source]

Did you know that UK first country in world where half of all ad spend is on digital media? Digital advertising is expected to grow by 12% this year to £8.1bn, according to eMarketer. [Source]

Here are some statistics demonstrating this growth:

  • Each person expected to make 2 purchases online this year
  • Average shopper will spend £55.36 per purchase online
  • Brits the most frequent online shoppers in Europe
  • European online shoppers are set to spend £820 online vs £738 in 2014 – an increase of 1%.
  • Online sales are expected to grow by 2% in the UK in 2015 and 15.3% in 2016.
  • By 2019 ecommerce sales online are estimated to be £86.96m


Growth of Optimisation Tools

The rise of CRO and the acknowledgment of CRO as an operational imperative is clearly visible when one takes a look at the levels of investment CRO specialists have received over the past few years. Venture capitalists are vying for their attention, with companies like Kissmetrics receiving $7 million in 2013 or managing to raise $45.5 million in 2015. The rise of the investment levels, as well as the number of companies entering the market too are somewhat alarming.

Page views for A/B testing tools grew 30% between Q2 and Q3 of 2014 [Source] TrustRadius found that 43% of survey respondents use more than one A/B testing tool, but a whopping 91% use more than one digital analytics too [Source]

In addition to this, growth of Optimisation tools seem to be exponential; with Optimizely growing at an alarming rate above all others between 2012 and 2015. This data suggests that Optimizely started with 855 customers in 2012 and grew to 11435 customers at the end of 2015 (of the top 1m sites as understood by BuiltWith). The report below shows Analytics and Tracking / A/B Testing categories in 'Paid' and 'Maybe' pricing groups across BuiltWith Top 1m Sites data set between 2011-12-31 and 2015-12-31. Note: this report uses data where the Optimizely 'tag' is recognised within the source of the website)

[Sourced from]

Screen Shot 2016-01-05 at 12.11.28

Optimizely confirmed this data within their Partner Town Hall presentation of 2015 showing the growth of the platform. [Sourced from, Presented at Partner Town Hall EMEA, Q4 2015]

Screen Shot 2016-01-05 at 12.16.43

Growth of Optimisation teams

Companies such as, Skyscanner and Rental Cars all have their own teams dedicated purely to optimisation. If we take a look at, they have a whole floor dedicated just to optimisation

Shop Direct is currently running around 50 tests a month. This will rise to 100 by June this year and to 140 by the same time next year (2016). [Source]

[blockquote color="#2a2a2a" bordercolor="#2a2a2a" author="Ollie Scheers, Optimisation manager at"]So far we have delivered a 7 figure return on our investment in optimisation, and for every £1 we have spent on optimisation we have made roughly £14 back. This has been a fantastic return on investment for us.[/blockquote]


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David Mannheim

David is an experienced conversion optimiser and has worked across a series of core optimisation disciplines including web analytics, user experience and AB & MVT testing.

The growth of Conversion Rate Optimisation

by David Mannheim Time to read: 3 min