Step-by-Step Process for Performing a CRO Audit: 8 Steps

Userpilot Team
12 min readNov 30, 2023

Looking to perform a CRO audit for your website and app?

A detailed audit reveals the state of your platforms, showing your weak points and conversion drivers.

Based on the insights you generate, you can create better experiences for website visitors and users, driving more engagement, conversion, and retention. This article provides a step-by-step guide.

TL;DR

  • A conversion rate optimization (CRO) audit is a comprehensive analysis of a website or digital product aimed at identifying and optimizing elements that influence conversion rates.
  • The best time to perform a CRO audit is several months after launch and after the number of paying customers changes over time.

Steps to perform a conversion rate optimization audit:

CRO audit checklist:

  1. Use social proof on your landing page to build trust with your target audience
  2. Clarify your value proposition on key web pages and inside your app
  3. Highlight your best pricing options
  4. Offer a discount on annual payment
  5. Personalize the customer journey from the beginning
  6. Use NPS surveys to monitor and improve user satisfaction
  7. Implement gamification elements to improve user engagement
  8. Use in-app messaging to trigger contextual upsell prompts
  9. Let users experience premium features
  • Userpilot can help you perform a proper CRO audit and address conversion issues. Book a demo now and see how you can use our tool to conduct in-app user behavior analysis, segment users for personalized experiences, and A/B test your hypotheses to see what works.

What is a conversion rate optimization (CRO) audit

A CRO audit is a comprehensive analysis of a customer’s journey on a website or digital product. A proper conversion audit helps you uncover any potential friction points preventing users from taking a desired action and progressing smoothly through the user journey.

When you should do a CRO audit?

You can conduct conversion rate optimization audits anytime you want, but to save resources and get the best results, conduct your audits at these key times:

  • Several months after launch: Initial launches may be accompanied by a “honeymoon period” where early adopters and enthusiasts engage with the product. Conducting a CRO audit after several months allows you to assess the sustained impact on user conversion, addressing any issues that might have emerged after the initial excitement.
  • After the number of paying customers changes over time: Whether the change indicates a growth or decline, a CRO audit will help you generate insights to enhance the customer experience and boost conversion rates.

How to perform a conversion rate optimization audit?

Rushing to perform CRO audits without proper planning or a good strategy can skew your data and make you jump to the wrong conclusions. Follow these steps for a comprehensive assessment.

Step 1: Define your conversion points

There are several conversion points in SaaS, each action bringing users closer to being paid customers or loyal users of your premium plans.

Here’s what the progression looks like:

  • Web pages and landing page conversion: These are usually the first point of interaction for most users. Evaluate the clarity and relevance of the content on your landing page and other important pages, ensuring each key section communicates a clear value proposition.
  • Pricing page conversions: Visitors to your pricing page have expressed interest in your product. Check that your pricing plans are presented clearly, and users can easily compare different options and make a purchase decision based on their needs and budget.
  • Free trial conversion: With a few exceptions, most trial users will convert to paid when they see that your tool can meet their needs and the pricing is justified. Ensure you provide users with a robust onboarding experience and remove any friction that could negatively impact conversion.
  • In-app conversion: Track feature usage and milestone completion to understand how users are interacting with your tool and find areas of improvement.
  • Growth conversion: This conversion focuses on metrics related to user expansion, such as upsells, cross-sells, and the conversion of existing users into advocates. Aim to understand what engagement is like in your product and identify ways to boost it. Poor engagement is usually a precursor of low conversion; customers will only be interested in exploring higher plans and add-ons if they’re enjoying their current plans.

Step 2: Set your goals and objectives

Your CRO audit goals will determine what activities you deploy and the metrics you track to measure success. So set SMART goals that align with your business objectives and the specific conversion points you want to improve.

For example, if you want to boost trial conversion, a good goal could be “Increase free trial to paid conversion by 20% in the next quarter.” Based on this goal, you can start analyzing your free trial strategy to see weak points that need to be improved.

These can be anything from creating a more detailed trial onboarding covering key features to implementing context-based upgrade prompts that motivate conversions.

Step 3: Choose the right metrics for your conversion audit

The metrics you track will depend on your chosen conversion point and the goals you have set.

Here’s a list of some conversion metrics to track:

  • Mobile vs. desktop bounce rate
  • Load times
  • User sessions
  • Landing page scroll depth
  • Signups/form conversion rate
  • Product page conversion rate
  • Trial-to-paid conversion rate
  • Customer acquisition cost (CAC)
  • Feature adoption rate

Step 4: Analyze your current conversion process with conversion funnel analysis

A conversion funnel represents the journey that users take from the initial awareness of your product or service to the ultimate desired action of converting into a paying customer.

Analyzing this funnel is a pivotal aspect of the CRO audit as it unveils critical insights into user behavior and potential obstacles hindering your app and website’s conversion rate.

For example, if your funnel report shows there’s a significant drop-off between the trial and subscription stages, dig further to find and address the underlying reason. It could be a pricing issue or just the fact that users can’t see how your tool will change their lives.

conversion-funnel-analysis-CRO-audit
Generate conversion funnel reports with Userpilot.

Step 5: Couple your findings with user behavior data analysis

Implement user behavior analyses like feature tags, heat maps, and user testing to gain a comprehensive understanding of the user experience and how different user groups interact with your platform.

Combining the data from these analyses with your conversion funnel reports not only allows you to identify where users drop off but also understand the why behind these behaviors, enabling targeted and effective optimizations for improved conversion rates.

feature-tagging-in-Userpilot
Feature tagging on Userpilot.

Step 6: Use surveys for more in-depth qualitative analytics data

Quantitative data is good, but won’t always show you the full picture. Sometimes, collecting feedback directly from your customers is what you need to find missing pieces of the puzzle and gain actionable insights to improve conversion.

What kind of surveys should you trigger? No need to overthink it; simply use closed or open-ended questions to ask users why they’re not converting.

Here’s an example:

trial-end-survey-CRO-audit
Create in-app surveys in Userpilot.

Step 7: Form a conversion hypothesis

Armed with insights from quantitative data, user behavior analysis, and qualitative user feedback, create a specific hypothesis to test which improvements will have the most significant impact on conversions.

For example, if you’re struggling to convert trial users and the data shows these users aren’t interacting enough with your features, then you already have an idea of what the problem is.

A good hypothesis could be that implementing an interactive onboarding will enhance user understanding of core features, address common pain points, and increase the conversion rate from free trial users to paying customers.

Step 8: Use A/B testing and multivariate testing to test

With a hypothesis in hand, the final phase involves practical experimentation through A/B testing and multivariate testing.

A/B testing compares two versions of a flow or in-app element, while multivariate testing assesses multiple changes simultaneously. These two allow you to evaluate the effectiveness of proposed improvements in a controlled environment.

Going back to our example about interactive onboarding to explain core features, implement A/B testing to compare your current onboarding with the new change. Monitor user interactions and conversion rates for an extensive period — say a few weeks — and gather real-time data to validate or refute the hypothesis.

If the hypothesis proved true, implement the new change across all users. If there was no significant difference, then discard the test and go back to your data to find a new hypothesis. However, ensure you gave the test enough time to gather sufficient data before discarding the hypothesis.

multivariate-testing-results-
Creating A/B tests in Userpilot.

CRO audit checklist

Ensure your CRO audit process checks the following:

  • Use social proof to build user trust
  • Clarify your value proposition
  • Highlight your best pricing options
  • Offer a discount on annual payment
  • Personalize the customer journey from the beginning
  • Use NPS surveys to monitor and improve user satisfaction
  • Implement gamification elements to improve user engagement
  • Use in-app messaging to trigger contextual upsell prompts
  • Let users experience premium features

More details:

Landing pages CRO opportunities

Make the most of your landing pages by ensuring every element of the page contributes to conversion. Two things to keep in mind:

Use social proof to build user trust

Users need to know they can trust you, and your smart marketing will often be insufficient. People understand that companies sometimes sugarcoat facts to drive sales, but by seeing testimonials from real users, potential customers will be more convinced to use your tool.

Why? Because testimonials serve as authentic endorsements, offering a glimpse into real user experiences. They provide a human touch to your brand, showing that others have benefited from your product.

Incorporate testimonials strategically across your website, especially on key conversion pages. Doing this will reinforce your credibility and foster the trust necessary for users to take the desired actions, whether it’s signing up for a trial or taking a demo.

Trust aside, testimonials help site visitors see themselves in your customers, further convincing them to try your tool. For instance, consider the testimonial below. Visitors interested in boosting engagement and retention will relate to Kontentino’s experience and be motivated to sign up.

userpilot-landing-page-social-proof-
Kontentino’s testimonial motivates website visitors to take action.

Clarify your value proposition

Fine-tune your copy to attract your target audience and state exactly what you offer.

Whether on a landing page, feature description, or marketing material, the language you use should resonate with your target audience, clearly articulating the value they stand to gain by choosing your product. A well-defined value proposition not only attracts potential customers but also serves as a guiding light in their decision-making journey.

conversion-rate-optimization-cro-audit
Hootsuite’s well-articulated landing page.

Pricing page CRO opportunities

Check that your pricing page follows this CRO audit checklist:

Highlight your best pricing options

When it comes to the decision-making process, pricing is a pivotal factor for potential customers. To facilitate their purchase decision, prominently showcase your best pricing options and clearly explain the difference between each.

Hidden charges will come back to hurt you, so you must be 100% transparent with the pricing for each plan. This way, customers won’t make decisions they’ll later regret.

zoom-pricing-cro-audit
Zoom’s detailed pricing page.

Offer a discount on the annual payment

This strategy is popular because it works. By offering a significant discount for annual subscriptions, you can entice customers to make a larger upfront payment, securing their business for a longer period and potentially reducing churn rates.

In addition to securing longer-term commitments, annual discounts can also lead to increased user satisfaction. Customers who opt for annual plans feel like they’re getting a better deal, and they’ll appreciate the convenience of not having to pay monthly or quarterly fees.

hotjar-pricing-
Hotjar offers a 20% discount for annual commitments.

Free trial CRO opportunities

Implement the following strategies when performing a free trial CRO audit:

Personalize the customer journey from the beginning

Personalization is a cornerstone of effective customer engagement, and it begins from the moment a user interacts with your product.

Leverage welcome surveys to collect customer data upfront and understand their needs and JTBDs. Use the data obtained to segment users based on similar characteristics and provide personalized experiences.

For example, if your product caters to teams and individual users, the onboarding for these user groups should be different. Another example: imagine you have two main use cases: a product manager and a UX designer. These roles have different objectives and will interact with varying features, so tailor your onboarding flows to their needs.

welcome-survey-example
Create personalized onboarding with Userpilot.

Use NPS surveys to monitor and improve customer satisfaction

Implement NPS surveys when the trial period is about to end to gather user sentiment data and understand possible dissatisfactions that will keep them from converting.

Begin by sending the usual quantitative question that asks users how likely they are to recommend you to others.

Based on their responses, trigger different follow-ups to identify their pain points or reasons they love your tool.

userpilot-nps-cro-audit
Create and track NPS surveys easily in Userpilot.

Use gamification elements to improve user engagement

Gamification helps to improve user engagement during free trials, leading to increased loyalty and customer lifetime value.

This strategy works because it triggers dopamine — the feel-good hormone that motivates us to take action.

Introducing gamified elements encourages active participation and exploration, increasing the likelihood of users becoming familiar with your product’s value proposition.

This engagement not only aids in retention during the trial period but also lays the groundwork for increased customer lifetime value as users transition to paid plans. The positive association with the gamified experience can contribute to a lasting emotional connection with your product.

Gamification example: Asana shows new users different magical creatures each time they hit an onboarding milestone. This encourages users to continue exploring the tool and realizing its value.

asana-gamification-example
Asana’s gamification example.

Growth CRO opportunities

Check the following CRO audit checklist to ensure your product is optimized for better retention and higher CLV:

Use in-app messaging to trigger contextual upsell prompts

Your users will convert better when you trigger contextual and personalized upsell prompts. For example, don’t ask someone to upgrade to premium and enjoy a better version of a feature they just started using. The user will ignore your prompt because they’ve not used the tool enough to know if they’re satisfied with the current version.

Once you’ve identified the right contexts, use UI elements like modals, banners, and sidebars to introduce users to your premium plans or add-ons.

For example, Slack prompts this contextual in-app upgrade message just when the user hits a usage limit. The user is more likely to upgrade at this point as they’ve had enough time to use the tool and probably need to start sending more messages.

slack-upsell-
Slack’s upgrade prompt.

Let users experience premium features

Allowing users to experience premium features, even if briefly, is a strategic move to showcase the value of higher-tier plans.

This approach aligns with the principle of “try before you buy,” enabling users to make informed decisions based on firsthand experience.

By strategically offering glimpses of premium features, you not only entice users to explore higher plans but also build trust in the value your product provides.

This tactic is particularly effective during the trial period, creating a pathway for users to seamlessly transition from exploration to commitment, ultimately contributing to increased conversions and customer satisfaction.

After experiencing the value your premium plans bring to their workflows and objectives, most users wouldn’t want to downgrade to lower tiers.

asana-cro-audit
Asana uses the reverse trial to boost the conversion rate.

Conclusion

The key to winning with conversion rate optimization is making a tireless commitment to understand your users and address their needs.

Stick to your conversion goals, but regularly track the results of your efforts and pivot based on qualitative and quantitative feedback from users.

Ready to begin the CRO audit? Userpilot can help! Book a demo now and see how you can use our tool to conduct in-app user behavior analysis, segment users for personalized experiences, and A/B test your hypotheses to see what works.

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Userpilot Team

Userpilot is a Product Growth Platform designed to help product teams improve product metrics through in-app experiences without code. Check out userpilot.com