Testing Mind Map Series: How to Think Like a CRO Pro (Part 62)

Cristina Molina
July 10, 2024 ·
Interview with Cristina Molina

Interview with Cristina Molina

Every couple of weeks, we get up close and personal with some of the brightest minds in the CRO and experimentation community.

We’re on a mission to discover what lies behind their success. Get real answers to your toughest questions. Share hidden gems and unique insights you won’t find in the books. Condense years of real-world experience into actionable tactics and strategies.

This week, we’re chatting with Cristina Molina, Senior CRO Specialist at Verifone, a company that offers reliable payment ecosystems for commerce.

Cristina, tell us about yourself. What inspired you to get into testing & optimization?

Honestly, it wasn’t something I planned for. Before starting to work on CRO, I had a basic understanding of it. I knew the fundamentals but hadn’t yet discovered its full value and potential.

I had the opportunity to start working as a Customer Success Manager for AB Tasty. This is where I began to uncover the depth of this discipline. While it was incredibly interesting to dive in and learn about CRO, what really resonated with me was working with various companies, training them in this area, and being part of that discovery process where people understood the value of experimenting and optimizing. This truly inspired me to continue and expand my profile in this direction.

How many years have you been testing for?

It’s been six years, since 2018.

What’s the one resource you recommend to aspiring testers & optimizers?

The 2Checkout CRO Knowledge Repository. Before this repository was created, I would’ve had trouble recommending just one resource. Here, you’ll find some of the most relevant resources combined in one place, updated regularly, and you can even make suggestions if you feel something should be included. Pretty cool!

Answer in 5 words or less: What is the discipline of optimization to you?

Understand before acting.

As part of the CRO methodology, you need to research and understand your data, users, product, and your way of thinking. It teaches you how to build use cases and form the right hypotheses. And even if it can sound very reflective, it doesn’t mean slow. With the right methodology and team, you can achieve agility in growing your business.

What are the top 3 things people MUST understand before they start optimizing?

  1. Your product and, hand in hand, your goals. Why are you selling your product? How do you measure its success? Focus not only on your macro-conversions (the purchase, revenue, lead generation, new subscriptions) but also pay attention to all steps of your product and the user journey to really optimize it.
  2. Your audience. Who needs what you offer? Put yourself in your audience’s shoes and ask yourself: ‘Why are they going to your site?’; ‘What do you want these users to think when they reach any page on your web?’; If they hesitate and think ‘Oh wait, do I need this?’ or ‘I thought this was something else’ or ‘I’m so lost, how do I get it?’ – ‘What are the possible reasons behind it?’

    Put yourself in their shoes; however, do not forget that it is your product. Make it easy for your audience to interact with it, listen to reduce any roadblocks or limitations, and also guide them.
  1. The same way, link your audience with your data. Understand user behavior by analyzing quantitative and qualitative data. Ultimately, you need to know where you are coming from to move forward. Data-driven decisions are key to optimizing at any level – functionality, for certain audience segments, visual aspects, etc. Analyze data, heatmaps, session recording, click maps… you should have a bunch of tools to identify and prioritize your optimization strategy based on your goals.

How do you treat qualitative & quantitative data to minimize bias?

Sometimes you might think that just analyzing and cross-referencing data is enough. Then, run A/B tests, and that’s it, the result the quantitative data is telling you is your result.

We don’t question the results we “want” to see. But when results are negative, we all become Sherlock Holmes and check every recording we have and try to find out what happened through NPSs and any tool available to us.

Having those tools at hand from the beginning, I would check them to understand general behavior and corner cases and make sure all resources tell a consistent story.

How (to you) is experimentation different from CRO?

Experimentation is a broader concept—it’s in itself a methodology. You can do experiments to try to optimize the Conversion Rate, typically using A/B testing. But experimentation as such will be the way to understand how and where to grow your product.

Talk to us about some unique experiments you’ve run over the years.

I’ve had the chance to manage experimentation programs in several industries and understand their needs. I’ll divide it into my main areas of focus during these past years:

  • E-commerce: Within e-commerce, there are many critical points to focus on. We can have a complex funnel where identifying and mapping all user interactions is a key preliminary step.

    Among all the experiments that can be conducted, a couple come to mind that I personally enjoyed testing and was fascinated by when reviewing the results.
    • Product Page: I remember a particular case on an online store for natural products. As part of the optimization roadmap, we were trying to come up with the most effective product page. Find the optimal element distribution to showcase the product, explain it, display different product options, product images, usage instructions, clearly state how to add it to the basket, address any possible questions, etc. We ran several testing iterations, and it was interesting to see which new elements or different distributions were not working or were effective for certain user segments.

      Let me give you an example, for mobile – we often think that keeping the CTA visible all the time will increase the chances of users adding the product. But what if users add the product by mistake or can’t see some information because they cannot get rid of the CTA? Finding the sweet spot for each element is interesting and can increase your product CR by 10% to 20%.
    • Copywriting – I’m adding it here, but this applies regardless of the goal or industry. Do not underestimate the power of the copy, ever. Use it to grab attention, engage, guide, explain, and reduce uncertainty. Testing the copy might not be unique, but it’s so needed when running an experimentation program.
  • Lead Generation: This links to landing page optimization. There is a certain type of test to run here based on setting expectations. What type of lead are you trying to generate on the landing page? And what can you expect from that lead? If you’re going to reach out to them, clearly mention when and how, being mindful of your resources. If they’re getting some sort of resource, like an eBook, or a report, let them know how they are going to get it and what it is for. And the golden rule: Do not ask for more information than is required. If you ask for more than it’s needed you increase your chances of ending up with inaccurate information or potential leads dropping off.
  • Shopping Cart: Of all the aspects you can test on a shopping cart, the most interesting to me has been seeing how performance varies when you change the cart layout. I have run experiments based on payment methods, security elements, and product summaries. However, testing different templates at a global level and understanding how these templates work on a per-country basis is extremely interesting. For example, going from a 1-column checkout to a 3-column one can offer an increase in CR of around 5%. Always look to adapt to the business requirements to ease the user journey.
CRO Expert Profile Cristina Molina

Huge thanks to Cristina for generously sharing her expertise with us. This kind of hard-won wisdom is pure gold. To all you optimizers out there, hopefully Cristina’s insights provided some useful food for thought as you continuously level up your skills.

We have fresh interviews dropping twice a month, so bookmark this blog and check back often. And if you missed any of our previous convos with CRO pros, now’s the time to get caught up and give these a read: Gursimran Gujral, Haley Carpenter, Rishi Rawat, Sina Fak, Eden Bidani, Jakub Linowski, Shiva Manjunath, Deborah O’Malley, Andra Baragan, Rich Page, Ruben de Boer, Abi Hough, Alex Birkett, John Ostrowski, Ryan Levander, Ryan Thomas, Bhavik Patel, Siobhan Solberg, Tim Mehta, Rommil Santiago, Steph Le Prevost, Nils Koppelmann, Danielle Schwolow, Kevin Szpak, Marianne Stjernvall, Christoph Böcker, Max Bradley, Samuel Hess, Riccardo Vandra, Lukas Petrauskas, Gabriela Florea, Sean Clanchy, Ryan Webb, Tracy Laranjo, Lucia van den Brink, LeAnn Reyes, Lucrezia Platé, Daniel Jones, May Chin, Kyle Hearnshaw, Gerda Vogt-Thomas, Melanie Kyrklund, Sahil Patel, Lucas Vos, David Sanchez del Real, Oliver Kenyon, David Stepien, Maria Luiza de Lange, Callum Dreniw, Shirley Lee, Rúben Marinheiro, Lorik Mullaademi, Sergio Simarro Villalba, Georgiana Hunter-Cozens, Asmir Muminovic, Edd Saunders, Marc Uitterhoeve, Zander Aycock, Eduardo Marconi Pinheiro Lima, Linda Bustos, and our latest with Marouscha Dorenbos.

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Cristina Molina
Cristina Molina Senior CRO Specialist at Verifone.
Carmen Apostu
Carmen Apostu In her role as Head of Content at Convert, Carmen is dedicated to delivering top-notch content that people can’t help but read through. Connect with Carmen on LinkedIn for any inquiries or requests.

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