Historically, CRO has taken a backseat to SEO, PPC, and other forms of digital marketing. But it’s on the rise—60.8% of businesses are making CRO a priority.
As more companies think about starting or expanding CRO programs, the “agency or in-house?” question is also earning more attention. Hiring an agency can make sense for companies that don’t have the time or resources to build an in-house team.
But to find the right agency, you need to do your homework. CRO isn’t cheap: Picking an agency is a five- or six-figure decision. (Some 44% of companies spend more than $10,000 a year on A/B testing products alone—many spend far more.)
Before you start contacting agencies, weigh the pros and cons of doing the CRO work in-house versus outsourcing.
Should you outsource CRO to an agency?
Both in-house and agency CRO teams have advantages and drawbacks. The right choice depends on your company’s size, goals, and budget.
Even then, some limitations apply to any CRO program. For example, if you don’t have enough traffic to your site, you won’t have enough data to run tests. The potential ROI of CRO also varies based on revenue. Peep Laja, CXL Founder, explains:
If you increase sales by 1% for a company that makes $100 million, that’s $1 million of added revenue. CRO makes sense. But if you get that same 1% increase for a site that makes $1 million a year, the ROI—$10,000—isn’t there.
If your company and site clear those initial hurdles, here are other factors to consider.
Building an in-house team:
- Takes time. Finding seasoned CRO experts can take many months, and launching a CRO program can take even longer.
- Is prohibitively expensive for many companies. You’ll need at least $500,000 to build a skeletal team.
- Can be a bottleneck for launching multiple tests. An in-house team often can’t launch multiple tests because their plates are full.
- Doesn’t make sense if you have only one funnel to optimize. Once your in-house team maxes out conversions for that funnel, what will they do next?
On the other hand, hiring a CRO agency isn’t always the best fit either. This is the case if you have:
- No clear (or realistic) goals. You’re not aligned on what an experimentation program needs to achieve or can realistically achieve.
- No one to own the relationship. You need a point person who can clear roadblocks and hold the agency accountable.
- No one to implement changes. Test wins become revenue only after they’re deployed across the site.
The two options aren’t mutually exclusive: If you hire an agency, you can lean on them to help you build and run (or speed up) an in-house CRO program. They can also, periodically, serve as a second set of eyes on a program or come in to help resolve a particular challenge.
As Viljo Vabrit, Managing Director of CXL Agency notes:
The best goal for every organization should be running a CRO program in-house. Hiring a CRO agency should create additional capacity when there’s a lack of resources.
Agencies are also used to teach processes to improve existing CRO …read more
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