CVR Optimization - How the Buyer Journey Matters

Get the most out of your marketing efforts with a better understanding of your buyer's journey is critical for CVR optimization.
Jess Cook

You're doing all the right things: iterating on your creative, testing your ads, and scaling the winners. But it's not translating into conversions like you'd hoped. 

In episode 5 of Resting Ad Face, Tyson Quick — Founder and Chief Growth Officer of Postclick — joined Susan and I to talk about how the cure lies in the post-click experience and why the full buyer journey is greater than the sum of its parts.

Here are some highlights:

To compete today, you can’t be content with 2% CVR

Marketers have come to accept the fact that a 2% conversion rate is the standard. But Tyson says that the key to thriving in today’s ecomm landscape is to find ways to double or triple that baseline CVR. 

This can be done most efficiently by using high-conversion, industry-specific landing page layouts and filling them with the highest converting content possible. 

The heavy lifting of CVR optimization falls on your post-click experience

High-performing ad creative doesn’t guarantee high conversion rates. Most often, the problem occurs when buyers land on a site that:

  • doesn’t instantly deliver what was promised in the ad
  • is difficult to navigate
  • isn’t aligned with their expectations

These problems can’t be solved by swapping out ad creative or putting more money behind the campaign. Marketers need to spend more time thinking about what happens after someone clicks on their ad when it comes to boosting conversion.

Using machine learning to optimize lets marketers get back to marketing

Marketers spend loads of time parsing, analyzing, and presenting performance data now that it’s so readily available. 

Tyson argues that, with the availability of machine learning to do the heavy lifting of data analysis for us, it’s time for marketers to get back to the more creative aspects of marketing — differentiation, messaging, creative execution, etc. 

ML and creative automation allow us to focus more on creative strategy so we can meet the demands of today’s ecomm realities.

For more, subscribe to Resting Ad Face on YouTube or your favorite podcast platform.


[00:00:05] Jess: Hey, everybody. Welcome to Resting Ad Face. I am Jess Cook, Head of Content at Marpipe and I'm here with my amazing co-host, Susan Wenograd.

[00:00:17] Susan: Hey, everybody. Nice to be back.

[00:00:20] Jess: And we are here today with our first guest ever. This is such an exciting day for us. Today we have Tyson Quick. He is the Founder and Chief Growth Officer at Postclick. And we're really excited to have you today, Tyson. Thanks for joining us.

[00:00:35] Tyson: Yeah, absolutely. I'm excited to be the, the first guest here.

[00:00:38] Jess: Yes, you are the inaugural. So would love to hear a little bit about who you are, your background, how you created Postclick, and what Postclick is all about.

[00:00:52] Tyson: Yeah, definitely. So my name's Tyson and I am the former CEO, but sole Founder of Postclick. And today I [00:01:00] am the Chief Growth Officer. So today I focus on really the intersection of product and marketing, the two areas that I'm most passionate about.

[00:01:09] Which is why I founded a marketing technology company, of course. So my background, in terms of my professional background, goes back to when I was about 21 years old. So 35 today. And I started my first company. And we thought we had an amazing idea. And when we went to market, you know, we realized all the realities of you can't just have a great idea unless it's exponentially great, I guess. And it, it, and expect it just to take off, right. So I became really fascinated with marketing because I felt like it's a superpower. If you can really tell compelling messages and reach customers, then really you can compete in any vertical, as long as you have a good product or service.

[00:01:51] So that kind of started my journey with with marketing and that was about 14 years ago. And now I've founded Postclick, which is a [00:02:00] 250-person marketing technology company focused on advertising conversion.

[00:02:05] Jess: And how do you focus on advertising conversion? Tell us a little bit about how Postclick actually works.

[00:02:12] Tyson: Absolutely. So Postclick is what we like to call a advertising conversion cloud. And that cloud consists of a, a few core components. And before I get into those core components, let's talk a little bit about the current state. So we are operating in a world where we have a $600 billion digital advertising ecosystem, and it's still growing double digits every year. So here in the next, you know, probably by the end of the decade, we're talking, you know, a trillion dollar digital ad market. Now 60% of that market is direct response. So marketers want someone to click on that ad and take an action right then and there, whether it's a purchase or a lead, they're bidding on that action.

[00:02:55] However, and of course this is fueling the business models of some of the [00:03:00] largest companies on the planet. As we know, right, Google and Facebook, and now even Amazon and TikTok and all these big platforms, it's really fueling their, their rise to the, the trillion dollar market cap ranks. But the reality is the vast majority of these ad clicks don't convert.

[00:03:16] And we've just come to accept that. Just, oh, okay, we're gonna get 2, 3% conversion rate. It just is what it is. I'll have to build that in, but we can't not use it. If we're a digital company. If we, if we have a presence online, cuz it's too important of a channel for us. It's how customers, you know, are gonna discover us.

[00:03:34] So we really focus on what happens after the click. So in today's spend, we're spending about $400 billion on direct response advertising, the current conversion rates on Google, where it's a high intent search. It's a high intent channel, right? People are searching for specific things.

[00:03:53] Still only converts just barely over 3%. So our goal is like, can we get that 3% to 6%, [00:04:00] 10% assuming that if customers found what they were looking for, that they are gonna take action. Now, not everyone cuz you're still in the discovery mode, but can you get that more to like a 10%? And if so you could make that, you know, $400 billion worth essentially two to three times more.

[00:04:17] Right? So it's a multi-hundred billion dollar, trillion dollar opportunity of inefficiency. So Postclick focuses on, well, how are we gonna make that happen? And today we believe it's a relevancy problem. Most people don't find what they were looking for. It doesn't match their intent. And in order to find intent, it's a couple things. It's the user experience — did the user experience help augment the story and the content to, to make it easy, to consume the value and, and, and answer your question.

[00:04:45] Is this what I'm looking for? Is this what I expected? And it's also the optimization and experimentation of usability and also messaging and narrative. So we've really infused a lot of technologies to [00:05:00] make it both highly scalable, so you can build these Postclick landing page experiences, if you will, and then use machine learning to recommend content or automatically change the user experience on your behalf

[00:05:14] so we can really mainstream the idea of, of conversion automation and really use the capabilities of both what people are good at and what machines are good at to drive those conversions higher.

[00:05:26] Jess: That's great. Talk to us a little bit more about the, the testing and the optimization. So, you know, obviously that's, that's what Resting Ad Face is all about.

[00:05:34] We're the pre-click, right? Marpipe is the pre-click, everything you see in the ad to get you to that conversion event. And so talk to us a little bit, about what you do to help bring more people in and get bigger conversions.

[00:05:48] Tyson: Oh, absolutely. Yeah. So, you know, it's kinda like a science experiment and what drew me to marketing and to the conversion space, is it, [00:06:00] you know, I was fascinated by the fact that today we have these powerful technologies to reach people, right? The pre-click, the area you, that you focus on at Marpipe. You can really, with precision, pay to reach someone and drive them to your, you know, product or service. It's a powerful thing. And you know, in terms of the conversion, I felt like, well, this is great. If you really can master that and you have the tools at least to do it today, you know, it takes time, it takes expertise still, but you have the tools and increasingly, so, I mean, Marpipe is helping, helping figure out some of those aspects of scaling that side more scientifically.

[00:06:36] But you know, if without the post-click side matching that scale, matching that optimization, then you know, you're just driving clicks and you're not converting them. So my passion was like, well, if you can really figure out the science behind, you know, fully utilizing that pre-click and you can do the same on the post-click, then theoretically, any company with a valuable product or service should be able to [00:07:00] profitably do customer acquisition.

[00:07:02] Reach out only to the people who are likely to buy this and then convert those people when they do get a click at the highest likelihood that they will. So it's a very powerful thing. And for me, why am I passionate about it? First of all, and why are we passionate about it as a company? You know, I think that it's not just about advertising and marketing and driving clicks and driving value.

[00:07:23] What would it do to the global economy if you could dramatically increase the efficiency of customer acquisition? How many more businesses would thrive and be able to hire people and be able to, you know, find an, even if it's a niche audience and just profitably acquire them? You know, because some companies, a lot of companies are operating in very thin profit margins and if they can't figure that out, even if they have a good product and service, they can't compete.

[00:07:45] So, so that's the passion for me. Behind it. And the way that we go about it is we, we treat it like a platform. So our belief is that the reason that the ad platforms work so well and why these companies have scaled [00:08:00] is that they've standardized enough of the aspects.

[00:08:03] And what we found is that when you create standardization in, you know, landing pages for industries and use cases, and you drive a focus on being able to automate the layouts, like automate the usability in the same way that, you know, Google could change the ad format and say, "Hey, does that drive more clicks?"

[00:08:23] They can upgrade that while you focus on the messaging. And the longer that we focus on the, this aesthetics and the layouts, the more we're not focusing on driving relevancy and, and unique content. So, so. Think of it like this, everyone today is building a custom website and hoping it converts and maybe layering on some testing.

[00:08:43] Well, instead, the future is, everyone comes in, says here's my industry. Here's my use case. Given some marginal customization, cuz various things are gonna be different about you or your product or your your service. But generally it's gonna be similar. [00:09:00] The use case is similar and you don't have to really worry about it.

[00:09:03] You're given the best five performing layouts. You can maybe customize the form a little bit. You can customize your product because it has different details, but by and large, here's the best performing product sales page or here's the best performing, like, mortgage application form. And you just now need to focus on the content.

[00:09:20] What makes you unique? So it's, hypers scalable and capable of automatic layout optimization in the same way that any web platform who controls that experience can optimize for their use case.

[00:09:31] Susan: I think tied to that too, like. I've worked in a bunch of different areas of marketing in my career, but I've heavily been on the media side. And I think that's one of the biggest struggles that we have on the media side is that we don't have a lot of control or influence over what happens once someone gets to the site.

[00:09:47] So that's always the hardest part because to your point, a lot of times they're locked into whatever Shopify theme they picked or it's like, whatever it was, they picked they're like, "This is our thing." And as a media buyer, I can look at it and say, okay, well it's [00:10:00] confusing. I don't know where the cart is.

[00:10:01] I don't understand the discount. And it may even be that the brand knows that they have these limitations, but there's not easy ways for them to fix them cuz it requires coding or requires all this other stuff. And it's also one of those things where, what works well for people that come from an ad might be different if they come to experience the brand and wanna learn about it in a more organic way.

[00:10:20] So, right. What you're saying completely resonates because it's, there's just been so many times where it's like all the stats look great, except the conversion is terrible. And it's like from, you know, from a media side, spending more or changing your creative, doesn't help that, you know? And I've had to have those tough conversations with brands where I'm like, look, you know, we can spend more all you want and you can make me change out the creative all you want.

[00:10:41] But the problem is not that like, all of those numbers are fine. It's when they get to the site, they just abandon because they're not seeing what they want. They're not understanding what you're showing them. They're not seeing what they expect. And there's, there's just such a disconnect there because a lot of times it's like, here's our media budget drive to our site and you're like, but wait, I'm driving people to a store and there's not a [00:11:00] salesperson there to greet them

[00:11:00] right? So it's kinda like, we're just dumping them off in the middle of an aisle. Like, "Good luck. I hope you find what you're looking for."

[00:11:06] Tyson: No, it's, it's, it's still a problem. And it, this is why we really champion this idea. We call the post-click era. It's like, and the goal is to get people to start talking about post-click.

[00:11:17] It's better for both the pre-click and the post-click side, because today only about 2% of the effort is focused on the post-click side. So you're right. If someone comes to an ad agency or an ad technology, and they're like, I'm getting all these clicks, but like my conversions aren't going up. And we're like yeah,

[00:11:32] but your, your destination is not relevant. Yeah. And let's be honest, the whole business model on of Google, for example, is driving relevant

[00:11:42] Susan: Yeah. They don't want you to bounce back

[00:11:44] Tyson: relevant pages. Right.

[00:11:45] Susan: They ding your quality score. If people keep landing on sites and they hit back because they don't find what they want.

[00:11:50] Like ultimately that's just, that's gonna hurt your media. So the two things definitely affect each other. But it's amazing how hard it is to get brands to embrace that idea. And I think to them, it just feels like it's a lot of work [00:12:00] and some of them grew up in the era where, you know, you could have really crappy landing pages and you'd kind of sell whatever, because there just wasn't a lot of competition.

[00:12:08] But that's obviously changed now. So trying to have those conversations about like, It's not, this is not something you can fix by just changing what you pay in media or how you target. It's like your store is the problem. You know, a lot of brands don't wanna tackle that, cuz it feels like a really heavy lift to try and figure out.

[00:12:24] I've had so many of those, those conversations where I'm like your site sucks. I'm sorry.

[00:12:29] Jess: Yeah.

[00:12:30] Susan: Love the products. Can help you target. Your site's terrible.

[00:12:33] Jess: Your ad looks like Nordstrom and I'm getting dropped off at Kmart. Like

[00:12:36] Susan: exactly. Yeah.

[00:12:37] Jess: Not gonna happen.

[00:12:38] Susan: Pretty much.

[00:12:41] Jess: Tyson, sometimes we see really surprising things pop up across our tests. Either something we weren't expecting or something that was like, you know, really, really interesting, for example, like dollars off always perform better than percent [00:13:00] off, even if the offer is the exact same amount. What have you seen that's really interesting or surprising on your side or, or on your customers' side, in terms of like what they're testing, the content they're using through Postclick?

[00:13:14] Tyson: Yeah. Well, I'd say that the most surprising thing is that humans are not very good at knowing what's gonna convert well.

[00:13:21] So that's the very problem of, I think why this idea of this whole concept of conversion optimization is not scaled is because the reality is that I don't care how long we try to, you know, invest in educating the market,

[00:13:34] humans are just gonna have analysis paralysis and they're just gonna be guessing. Okay. And this is the, at the very core of what we're trying to solve. We're trying to say, you don't know what's gonna convert and neither do we. Let's see how we can have a machine have the capabilities of figuring out what that thing is.

[00:13:51] Now, of course, it's important to not let the machine change copy that now is inaccurate or untruthful, [00:14:00] right? That's not the intent here. But the way in which we communicate, the, the way in which we build user experiences is unknown. And that variance changes rapidly by the type of person, the demographic location, et cetera.

[00:14:15] And so to try to think that you're gonna be a scientist on all of that psychology is basically impossible. So we've accepted that we need to pass that over to our machine overlords while we focus on brand and, and differentiation of product and services, and like what makes us unique? Not how do we communicate it. And think of it like this.

[00:14:37] Say you're gonna go buy a new Tesla Roadster. Right. First of all, you're doing really great for yourself if you're buying new,

[00:14:43] Jess: You have arrived.

[00:14:45] Tyson: Right. But you go in and you go to the showroom, right. And two people go in. It's likely that those two people have a lot of the similar questions that they're gonna ask. But it's, it's almost guaranteed,

[00:14:58] it would be almost impossible that they ask [00:15:00] the same exact questions, right. Because what matters to them in this purchase decision is gonna be slightly different. So to assume that we can create these really generic experiences, or we can try to do conversion optimization at scale is a fool's errand.

[00:15:15] So therefore, like we need to have some system that helps us do this at a massive scale and then informs us what worked. And most of the time, we're like, "Oh, I would've had no idea, like good thing that you helped me do that." And it might be as simple as, look, in this part of the world, a very short, concise page to, to the point, focus on pricing,

[00:15:36] for example, was what mattered most. Whereas over here they cared, you know, this audience for whatever reason, wanted to dig in more and they wanted to see more photos. I don't know. Who knows? We could theorize all day long why, why that's the case, but we don't really know. And, that's where things need to move.

[00:15:52] Right. And us as marketers need to focus on what we are best at, and we're not these macro psychologists at a [00:16:00] global scale, you know, conversion rate optimization geniuses. Yeah,

[00:16:04] Jess: It's so funny you say that. So we ran a study. We basically threw out a quiz and we showed like five sets of two ads side by side. Each of them had one difference between them and they had been multivariate tested on Marpipe.

[00:16:18] And so we would say, you know which of these had an ad-to-cart rate increase of a 350%? Which of these images dropped CPA by 67%? Things like that. And people could only guess correctly, 52% of the time. Like, you might as well flip a coin.

[00:16:39] Tyson: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely.

[00:16:40] Jess: And, and it's universal across length of career and its universal across all the different titles within marketing.

[00:16:50] Tyson: Yeah.

[00:16:50] Jess: I mean, we had CMOs and VPs of Marketing, taking this all the way across to creatives and, and, you know, content managers, things like that. So it is, it's a universal issue. [00:17:00] It's something that we have the data at our fingertips now to like get rid of it.

[00:17:05] And yet it's still a really pervasive problem. And so, hopefully, you know, things like Postclick things like Marpipe are gonna help kind of eliminate that a bit or, or do what we can to get brands, to be more data-driven in their creative decisions than they have been previously.

[00:17:24] Tyson: Yeah. And let the machine be more data-driven, right?

[00:17:26] Like, yeah. Don't try to be a data scientist yourself, because let's be honest, like marketers by and large are not data scientists.

[00:17:34] Like marketers really want to be thinking about how we're gonna be different? How what's their main communication that we're doing? Not, you know, again, not these scientists that are like, I'm a UX scientist. I am optimizing UX every day. Like that's really by and large of function within product organizations.

[00:17:51] Right? Yeah. And you know, what kind of videos can we create? And, and these like more creative expressions connecting with the [00:18:00] customer because we, you know, we went into a creative field, right, as marketers, like that's really by and large what, what, what makes marketing great. It's funny cuz like we all love watching the Super Bowl by and large for the, for the ads because it's a great expression of art and creativity and, and thinking about brands and their value and a, in a fun way.

[00:18:19] And if we had more time to focus on that, than trying to meet the demands of a, a digital world where we have billions of users across billions of devices and, and we're spending five, 10 dollars per click. And we're trying to figure out how to optimize, you know, that budget, then we're not, we don't have time for doing the things that are really gonna differentiate us in the world as, as brands.

[00:18:43] Right. And, and what we want to be doing as marketers. Like let's like get marketers back to, you know, what we want to be.

[00:18:50] Jess: So two, two more things I'd love to touch on with you, Tyson. One is the storytelling of the journey of you know, we're [00:19:00] testing ads, we're finding, what's working, take that headline and that image and use it elsewhere, use it

[00:19:05] in your packaging, use it on your landing page because now we know it's resonating. And, and so would just love to hear a little bit about what you're seeing on that front at Postclick of, you know, people kind of knowing what to use and and testing certain things and, and then applying that elsewhere.

[00:19:24] Tyson: Yeah, that's a, that's a great question. I think it's, there's two parts of that. The first one is trying to understand generally the like emotive drivers, like the emotional aspect of what resonates with, with your consumer base. And it varies by industry and use case and even by, you know, location. So I think before we get into like the, minute aspects and like specific headlines or whatever, I think getting a general sense of like this sentiment that works well.

[00:19:50] So they know like, okay, generally how we communicate should follow this type of of, of, of methodology. Now in terms of like specific other [00:20:00] things, from a user experience standpoint when we're talking about digital experiences, like I don't have to guess anymore, this is just what's working, awesome. So let's look at the messaging here. And this is really a relationship between the machine and, and the human

[00:20:11] when you're looking at messaging and headlines and whatnot. And you'll find that there's some things that are going to win predominantly at a broad level. And I think that's a great learning to take away and say, "Hey, how can we apply this into either bigger campaigns?" You know, we're gonna take this one concept

[00:20:28] that's working really well. This, this whole headline around this expression of like getting people's interest in what we do and blowing that up into a bigger thing. Because the what we do is not gonna do that for you. It's gonna say, well, for this audience or for this majority of people, this main way of catching their attention and expressing your values working really well.

[00:20:47] But we're not gonna say, go and blow that up to a whole video and, and move that into a, you know, the physical space have a conference around that concept. So it's, it's almost like either surfacing new things to you and saying, did you think about this [00:21:00] as an alternative? The machine is not gonna come up with the baseline. Or it's gonna confirm things from a scientific approach and say, you know, you, you guessed a bunch of things. This is actually working really well. Some reason the intern came up with it and you would've, you know, probably not listened to them, you know, as much as, as you should have.

[00:21:18] But this one thing is like very resonant. The reality is that you might find a whole bunch of golden nuggets in this long tail that you never can get to where you can never know, and we've gotta be in a business of knowing. We, we, we need to know, right. And if we're gonna meet the world in which it's evolved, which is everyone has a smartphone in their pocket, everyone searches Google multiple times a day.

[00:21:39] Everyone's scrolling feeds. If, if our business is going to be successful as marketers, and we're not gonna be just this annoying, terrible, you know, interruptive thing, then it's on us to try to be more relevant to people. So if they do engage with your ads, because

[00:21:55] companies like Marpipe are making these ads more engaging that are meaningful. You know, if [00:22:00] I'm looking for a trip coming up and I see a cool scuba diving experience, like, oh, I wanna engage with that ad. But if I go to that place and it's like, this is not the things I care about when I go scuba diving, like I'm outta here.

[00:22:10] If we can meet that scale, that already exists with hyper-relevant ads and post-click experiences, we are going to thrive and we're gonna make customers a lot happier as well.

[00:22:22] Jess: That's the soundbite right there. That was good.

[00:22:24] Susan: Agree. Yeah. That's the stuff.

[00:22:27] Jess: One more thing I wanted to explore was what are some KPIs?

[00:22:31] What are some key measurements that you're looking at to know that like you're testing your storytelling is working? Like, what are the things you at Postclick or your customers really center their use of Postclick around.

[00:22:44] Tyson: This is a funny thing, because we have like this crisis of Product market fit to a degree because the, the behavior is like, okay, great

[00:22:55] we've always had our web design team, like manage this. And we're like, yeah, okay, but it's actually more [00:23:00] of a digital marketing manager's like role, right. Because if, if it ends up being like the website manager, then they're already thinking like linear and they're like, oh, can I change this? Can I move that over here?

[00:23:10] Like, do you wanna move that over there and micromanage like this aesthetic nitpicking. Or do you want to drive conversions? Like, why are you making this page? Oh, well, yeah, we're trying to convert customers like then maybe relinquish a little bit of that aesthetic, you know, nitpicking and focus on the scale that exists in the digital marketing space, because you're, you're basically telling you yourself, you're telling the customer that, you know, better than them, even though the data says, this is what they want.

[00:23:40] So, so, so the product market fit dilemma is, like, is the right customer using our product? Are we talking to the right person? If it's like the brand manager and then we're like, whoa, whoa, whoa. Like, I, I get, we expect your opinion, but like this layout is driving people to buy your product more. Isn't that what your business cares about?

[00:23:57] So conversions, [00:24:00] 100%. And not just conversions but also it, it, you know, driving cost of clicks on ads down because the ad networks, as you all know, reward you for relevancy, because if, if someone clicks on that ad and where they, the place they go is not good, then that's a negative user experience.

[00:24:16] And the likelihood that they click on ads in the future goes down. So you're rewarded with quality. So it's a kind of a two-sided double whammy of, of ROI. And if people deviate from that and they want to, they wanna nitpick and I'm sure you see it as well with like, "No, I like that ad," like, okay, you like that ad, but your customers don't. Who wins here? And it comes back to the customer's always right.

[00:24:41] So, so I think you have to focus on the results. We're talking about the best possible way to present our value as companies to the right person at the right time. And that's proven in the data and it's proven in, you know, the cost efficiency.

[00:24:57] Jess: Absolutely. This has been [00:25:00] great. So glad to have you here, Tyson. Thank you so much for your wisdom and, and sharing your stories with us today. Great to have you.

[00:25:10] Tyson: Yeah, pleasure was mine. Glad to be here and thank you for inviting me to be your first guest.

[00:25:15] Jess: Absolutely. I was gonna say great first guest.

[00:25:18] Susan: Yes. Awesome.

[00:25:20] Jess: Well, thanks all. We will see you next time on Resting Ad Face. Bye.

[00:25:24] Bye.

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