Be Aware of Adoption/Defection Latency

For those who prefer video–

For those of you who like to read (talking to you, Lars)–

Have you ever wondered why there is a delay between a change initiated by you and when that change registers? This is known as adoption latency. It’s the time gap between action and outcome. Defection latency is the evil twin.

To understand adoption latency let’s look at a phenomenon from the eCommerce world. Looking at your Google Analytics data you will likely definitely notice desktop conversions rates are 2x mobile conversion rates. This trend has held steady for years.

Initially, we speculated mobile visitors were in a different state of mind, constantly multitasking, making their attention fragmented. This, coupled with the idea that mobile users are in “research” mode and not “buying” mode should explain why desktop conversions are higher, right? Not necessarily.


Photo credit: Photo by Bruce Mars from Pexels

Know the biggest reason for mass shoppers not to buy on their phone? Habit. I myself almost always prefer to “investigate” on my phone but place orders on my desktop. Also, to me, the idea of placing an order somehow seems unsafe; it’s a public network. It’s an irrational fear, but I can’t seem to shake it (thanks, System 1!).

It’s taken a long time but the shift is happening. If you look at the numbers, younger shoppers convert much more on mobile devices because that psychological friction isn’t there. However, most marketers are not prepared for the long run, they see the numbers now and think sales will continue to be primarily from the desktop. At their own peril, they’re ignoring adoption latency.

What about defection latency? There are plenty of examples for this too. Have you ever heard of the company Kodak? Do you know Kodak pioneered digital photography?


They made a crucial mistake when evaluating the market. They told themselves that people are still buying a ton of traditional film cameras, so clearly there is a lot of demand for it. Wrong. They were ignoring defection latency.

Consumers wanted the new technology. But were paralyzed by habit and terrified of change. Their behavior didn’t reflect their intent. So Kodak continued on their course. And then, one day, it was too late.

Let’s look at an example from the world of email marketing. The scenario: A marketing executive knows that emails drive 20% of overall sales and wants to grow that. They increase email frequency, sending an email every 10 days vs. every 14 days (what they were doing previously). What happens? An increase in revenue. That correlation signals to the team that the strategy is working. The manager keeps increasing the frequency each quarter until eventually, an email is being sent every 2 days. While this happening, revenue continues to go up.

The company even surveys their customers and they say they want fewer emails, but they are obviously wrong because the numbers tell a different story.

The company continues harvesting their email channel until one day, they have a 45% unsubscription rate. That’s almost half their customers.

The main point to take away from adoption and defection latency is that we need to always look under the surface.


What’s LCRO?

CRO = Conversion rate optimization

LCRO = Layered conversion rate optimization

Here is how my process used to be: when working on a conversion project I’d block a chunk of time and apply brute force to come up with the best idea I could.

I didn’t know any better and my intention was good.

But, it turns out, this isn’t the best way to develop a killer test concept.

Now I do things differently.

First, we deconstruct a page. Deconstruction is a process where we systematically evaluate every word, pixel, and emotion conveyed on the page. Each deconstructed element should nudge the shopper along the conversion path. Anything that doesn’t should be considered for elimination. Once deconstruction is complete we assemble the first iteration of our test concept. The concept doesn’t have to be perfect at this point.

We then take this concept and deconstruct it.

The process is repeated several times (each iteration is called a layer). These are the layers that give LCRO its name.


No doubt this process is more time consuming but the idea that ultimately emerges at the other end is objectively better.

Not going to lie. It’s hard to move to layered approach because, as experts, we believe our first big idea is amazing. Confirmation bias makes it really hard to dispel ideas that have already emerged. Poured concrete hardens.

This is why deconstruction is so important. Deconstruction is a wrecking ball, it isn’t emotionally tied to the idea, it just smashes it to bits.

If you want to develop a truly great idea; take it, smash it to bits, and rework it.


Driving Conversions in a World Where User Attention Is Really Low

Don’t know about you but for me, 2017 has been the year when I’ve had to admit I have a problem. A problem with fragmented attention.

Whether it’s email, instant messaging, or even reading research articles on conversion optimization I find it hard to focus for too long.

And this doesn’t only apply to my work and personal life. This also applies to potential buyers on your site.

Looking at Google Analytics data it’s hard to miss the general trend that session durations are down, Exit rates are high, abandons are high, and percentage of shoppers who scroll to the bottom of a page is low. And those who scroll, scroll fast.

We already know 83% of what’s on a page is invisible to shoppers. And the reason it’s invisible is because shoppers are distracted.

To overcome this marketers have applied a novel trick, amp up the marketing message. If people can only see 17% of what’s on a page let’s make each marketing message scream out to get the user’s attention.

This works in the short term (novelty effect) but it’s a bad idea in the long run because if EVERYTHING on your page is marked important then we’re kinda back to square one.

2018 will be the year when marketers will start thinking deeply about conversion optimization in a world where shoppers have fragmented attention. Our product pages have been designed for shoppers that are willing to spend 90 seconds, what do we do in a world where shoppers are willing to invest only 70 seconds? How do we pitch our story?

Things to things to think about in 2018 …

Don’t Be Lazy This Holiday Season

During the holiday selling season websites typically add a sitewide design theme and/or message:


But they keep the rest of the site the same. For many sites, holiday selling is THE make/break part of their year.

Now, we know product page descriptions are THE single biggest conversion catalysts.

So, here is my question, why not rewrite your product page description around the holiday selling season? Tweak copy emphasis around themes like “treat yourself”, “amazing gift”, “celebrate”, etc.

I know what you’re thinking, “I have 561 SKUs, I can’t possibly rewrite every product page”.

Bad thought.

If you look at sales you’ll see 5 out of these 561 items drive a bulk of sales (also called Zipf’s Law). Surely, you’re not THAT busy that you can’t take out 4 hours to rewrite the description of a product page that drives 40% of annual sales.