CRO-Conversion Rate Optimization

What is conversion rate optimization (CRO)?

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is the practice of increasing the percentage of users who perform a desired action on a website. Desired actions can include purchasing a product, clicking ‘add to cart’, signing up for a service, filling out a form, or clicking on a link.

A more user-centric definition of CRO

Standard definitions of CRO, like the one we just wrote above, place their focus on conversion percentages, averages, and benchmarks. This emphasis on a numerical approach comes with a downside—the more you look at spreadsheets full of conversion data points and actions, the less you think of the individuals behind them.

Here is an alternative, more holistic and user-centric way of defining CRO: think of it as the process of focusing on understanding what drives, stops, and persuades your users, so you can give them the best user experience possible—and that, in turn, is what makes them convert and ultimately improves your website conversion rate.

Why do we think this second definition works better? Because focusing on the final action—the conversion—is obviously important, but in reality, a lot happens before that point:

  • Specific DRIVERS bring people to your website
  • Specific BARRIERS make them leave
  • Specific HOOKS persuade them to convert

When you’re working to improve conversions, not every problem is quantifiable, backed by hard numbers, and with a clear-cut answer. Yes: sometimes, an obvious bug is blocking 80% of your users from doing something, and fixing that one bug will save your entire business; other times, your website functions perfectly and yet people still are not converting. When this happens, you’ll need to dig deeper to understand the why beyond the data you have—you’ll need, in other words, to focus on your users first. And that’s what we at Hotjar think CRO is actually about.

Whether you own an ecommerce site or manage online marketing or SEO (search engine optimization), CRO will constantly be a top-of-mind topic to help your organization grow.

How to calculate conversion rate

Conversion rate is calculated by dividing the number of conversions (desired actions taken) by the total number of visitors and multiplying the result by 100 to get a percentage.


For example, if your web page had 18 sales and 450 visitors last month, your conversion rate is 18 divided by 450 (0.04), multiplied by 100 = 4%.