Five Myths of Conversion Optimization Debunked by Iryna Pototska

conversion optimization

Iryna PototskaIryna Pototska is a tech journalist at Yalantis, a mobile development company. She writes about mobile app development, industry trends, app marketing and app monetization strategies. Working with developers and designers, she also writes case studies about Yalantis projects. Today she debunks five large myths about conversion optimization.


Conversion optimization is like the Loch Ness monster. It’s popular, it’s elusive, and people invest a lot of time and money hunting it down. But just like Nessie, there’s a whole lot more myth than substance surrounding “conversion optimization.” Sure, you’ll find piles of articles on the web about how to “do it right.” You’ll find all the snake oil you can handle.

But let’s cut through the guru talk. Conversion optimization IS necessary. We do need to optimize, but we also need realistic expectations. Here are five big myths about conversion optimization, debunked. The truth may not be as romantic, but it can certainly grow your business.

Loch Ness Monster

(Loch Ness Monster. Image source)

(Don’t worry you can still believe in Nessie, we won’t judge.)

Myth 1. Conversion is about sales

The goal of conversion optimization is to drive more sales.

Truth: Conversion can be about sales, but in general it’s about getting your customers to do what you want them to. That’s a vague definition, but it’s vague because every business — and every app — has different goals. So what counts as a “conversion” within your app may be entirely different from other apps. “Conversion points” is the term we use to describe the concrete actions that align with your business goals. If your goal is to get more users, then signing up would be a conversion point. If you want users to pay for in-app items, then making the first in-app purchase would definitely be one of your conversion points.

In general terms, we can talk about two types of conversions: the first is downloading your app from the app store, and the second type is everything else that happens within the app. We’ll be focusing on in-app conversions.

What are examples of possible in-app conversions?

  • Creating an account with a login and password
  • Agreeing to receive email newsletters
  • Sending app invites to friends
  • Spending a defined minimum amount of time in an app
  • Sharing information about an app on social media
  • Clicking on an in-app ad
  • Making a purchase

You know your target audience and your product features best, so it’s up to you to decide what “conversion” means for your mobile app.

conversion optimization
(Image source)

Myth 2: We need to get more people to use our app to increase its conversion rate

Many people assume that there is a direct correlation between the amount of traffic your website, app or landing page get and high conversion rate. That’s why you can often hear that high conversion rate is impossible without high acquisition rate, and the fastest way to “fix” the problem with low conversion is to increase the traffic.

Truth: More users is great, but don’t conflate quantity with quality. Website traffic and your app’s position in the app store matter — a lot. As a general rule of thumb, more visitors and users means more revenue, and having more traffic also helps you run meaningful A/B tests.

But getting many users is not as important as getting the right users. Research shows that if you work too hard on channeling users to your app, your conversion rate might actually drop because your app is not what the majority of people are actually looking for. Think about it this way. Focusing exclusively on traffic can be kind of like bussing in a group of retirees to pitch your newest dating app to. (This analogy is especially apt if you’re paying for traffic). You’ve “boosted” your audience, but they’re neither impressed nor particularly awake. Your “conversion rate” would be a heck of a lot better if you showed off your concept to just two college students, one of whom found it interesting. The right audience is the key.

Myth 3. A solution that helped others with their app conversion optimization will work just as well for us

Learning from the best never hurts, but sometimes people assume that if they copy something that worked for their competitor it will also work for them. It’s easy to believe that getting the color scheme, page layout, and size of the copy on your landing page just right will mean success.

Believing in “best practices” is also part of the same problem. It can be very tempting to think there is a universal solution for conversion optimization, and that it’s enough to find this sacred knowledge and apply it to your app. There are multiple sources that will tell you quite confidently that using red for call to action buttons or creating exit intent notifications is the way to go, but they often happen to be wrong in their predictions.

Truth: Each business has a unique set of problems, and each app has its own strong and weak sides. You need to use trial and error to find what works best for your app.

Myth 4: Research is overrated, we already know our target audience well enough to optimize the conversion rate

It’s necessary to approach conversion optimization as a number of strategic changes rather than a single thing that has to be fixed.

Finding a weak spot in your app’s design, performance or security that makes people drop out can be tricky. One solution is to run A/B testing to learn where exactly users drop out from the app. There are several tools that can help you perform A/B testing in the most productive way by obtaining detailed insights about your customer needs and preferences.

ab testing process

(Image source)

Here are some A/B testing tools that can help you with your conversion rate optimization:

  • Woopra helps you track and analyze live customer data. Use Woopra to identify the weak spots in your conversion funnel. The data provided by this tool also helps measure marketing initiatives and potential return on investment.
  • Verify lets you collect and analyze user feedback on screens or mockups. You can gather feedback and understand what people think about your design.
  • Naview helps you create navigations through rapid testing. It’s a great tool for information architects.
  • Attensee helps you choose the best design variations of landing pages or marketing materials. This tool combines various tests and surveys to determine which design variation is best at hold your users’ attention. Best for pre-launch landing page optimization.
  • UserTesting.com lets you test your website or app on real users. You get videos of users performing specified tasks, along with answers to your questionnaire.

Thorough analytics and feedback are essential to conversion optimization, and A/B testing can help a lot.

Myth 5: If you do it right, you can double or triple your conversion rate right away

You need to be realistic about the potential impact of conversion optimization. Looking at case studies, it’s easy to get the impression that 50 to 90 percent conversion gains are the norm. In reality, your numbers will rarely be that rosy. What gains you can achieve through conversion rate optimization also depends on how well your app was performing previously. It’s a lot easier to double near-zero conversion rates than it is to boost a 3 percent conversion rate by even 50 percent.

Statistically, the global average eCommerce conversion rate is around 2.5 percent. If your app’s conversion rate is lower, then it’s reasonable to expect a significant increase. But if your conversion rate is already higher than the average, you’ll need to invest more time and money in CRO and wait longer before results really start to show.

It’s better to think of conversion optimization as an ongoing process. Just like ASO, conversion optimization should be an integral part of your marketing strategy. Big changes take time, and not all positive changes will directly increase your conversion rate.

Conversion rate is one of the essential aspects of your app marketing and promotion strategy. Conversion rate optimization is tricky and requires a lot of dedication, but it’s well worth the time and effort if you do it right.

  • Vladimir Kuryatnik

    Cool post but image size makes me a sad panda 🙁 3.8mb, so not mobile friendly

    • Hi Vladimir! Thanks for letting us know, we’ll make sure to update. ))

  • Zaven

    Great article Kristina 😉 Thanks! We write about mobile apps and working in IT team here: https://blog.zaven.co/ 🙂 We would love to get some feedback on what you think about our posts 😉 Good luck! Marta from Zaven team 🙂