Marino Fresch, marketing director for Eventbrite UK and Ireland, asks what can the event industry learn from e-commerce


Nobody needs to tell organisers that it’s in their best interests to keep things as simple as possible for attendees. Complex registration processes deter potential visitors and can even create negative perceptions of the event itself. More and more event professionals are moving to online event registration with as few steps involved as possible and an integrated, smooth, and secure online payment system.

If you can get past the dry terminology, Conversion Rate Optimisation (or CRO) is a vital – and actually fairly simple – approach a lot of organisers should be following but aren’t. CRO in essence makes selling tickets into a science, and ensures more visitors ‘convert’ to ticket buyers once they land on your webpage. This conversion rate is hugely important, as it reflects the quality and effectiveness of marketing campaigns, the event website, and the registration/ticketing process.

There are many ways to approach CRO, but let’s look at four cheap and easy ones.

A/B Testing is one of the most established methods. The idea is that you split your existing traffic to the site between two versions of the same page, and then analyse which version converts better.

The classic example is where your page has a black button that says “Register now” and after a suitable amount of time, usually a week or so, you change this to a larger bright green “Register now” button. You can then look at the results and see whether the new green button has produced more registrations than the old black one.

And if it has, you’d then consider permanently changing the button across your site; and move on to another test. For example, is “Register now” more or less effective than “Book your place”?

Another option is User Testing. This is all about sitting down and actually observing how a person interacts with your site. A qualitative method of CRO, User Testing has to be handled with caution, because it’s easy to get distracted by people with strong opinions about their experience of the site.

One way to mitigate this is to list the outcomes of your User Testing, and then A/B test each of them before making a final decision.

Meanwhile Goal Tracking in Google Analytics is a great high-level way to understand where you have a problem across a user’s journey, as opposed to a single page.

Typically a web visitor will go through at least two steps before they provide you with their card details. For example they may click on a link from your email, which takes them to the landing page. From there, they might check the speaker line-up, before clicking to register for the event. At this point they might click on terms and conditions, before finally entering their card details and clicking “confirm”.

By looking at how the traffic moves from page to page of your website, Google Analytics will tell you if there’s a page or stage in the journey that is causing people to abandon the ticket buying process.

Ultimately, CRO is a reminder to us all that we are in the business of customer service. We need to be ensuring that potential attendees get the best possible experience, and that needs to start way before the event itself.