Qualitative vs Quantitative: When to Use Each in CRO Testing

By Tinuiti Team

Google Analytics is powerful software. It breaks down data about your website’s visitors into digestible chunks and helps you measure performance over time. It’s not a mind-reading tool, however, because it won’t tell you why customers behave the way they do. This is where CRO testing comes in useful with Qualitative and Quantitative data. Here we’ll break down the difference between the two, and provide you with scenarios where one would be preferred over the other when formulating your own CRO testing strategy.

Quantitative Versus Qualitative Data

In Conversion Rate Optimization, we rely heavily on the two primary types of data: qualitative and quantitative.

Quantitative data gives you numbers. It tells you how many people visited your website in a certain time period and how long people stayed on your site. However, it doesn’t illustrate the reasons behind those facts.

Qualitative data, by contrast, helps you understand the why behind consumer behavior. For instance, the results of a visitor survey will communicate not only how your prospects feel, but why they fell that way.

If you want to make effective site improvements, you need just as much qualitative data as quantitative. The why helps you make informed decisions based on how your prospects make decisions based on how your users behave on your website.

When to Use Quantitative Data

The right data set depends on your ultimate goal.

Quantitative data is most useful for identifying concrete facts. For instance, bounce rates can tell you which pages on your website perform least effectively. You can use that data to improve the page, such as by A/B testing different versions.

You’re also best served by quantitative data when choosing which pages on your site to optimize. For instance, boosting conversion rates by 5% on a page that gets 100 visitors won’t provide as much of an experiment ROI as increasing conversion rates by 2% on a page that gets 1,000 visitors.

Other aspects of design and marketing can benefit from quantitative data analysis, such as choosing which devices you want to optimize your content for and better understanding the types of content that interest your audience.

When to Use Qualitative Data

You’ll benefit from qualitative data when you’re looking for the motivation behind the action. For instance, if you want to know why bounce rates have increased on a particular site, you’ll want to dive into qualitative research. Perhaps users felt anxiety when asked for personal contact information right from the start, or maybe they felt dissuaded by the high-pressure sales language. Knowing these motivations will help you formulate a more effective CRO testing recommendation and strategy to boost test performance and ROI.

Qualitative data comes into play when you want to study how users interact with a page. Heat maps will demonstrate where the most common visitor eye-path was after arriving on the page. If your current CTA (call-to-action) is in an area of the site that is receiving no click or hover engagement, you can move it to more popular spots on the page for better conversions.

Similarly, surveys and polls prove useful for understanding why customers feel a specific way about your product, shipping options, or website usability. They can provide actionable feedback based on their lived experiences, eliminating the guesswork when it comes to formulating testing hypothesis.

Best Tools for Qualitative Data

We’ve found that some tools work better than others when collecting qualitative data. If you’re interested in heatmapping, we recommend highly-rated programs like CrazyEgg and HotJar. If you want to record sessions, turn to and Clicktale. For surveys and polls, we’ve had positive experiences with SurveyMonkey and Qualaroo.

If you’re looking for an all-around program that combines different types of qualitative data into one neat package, check out HotJar. It’s inexpensive and efficient.

Now that you’re armed with a working knowledge of qualitative and quantitative data, you can dive back into Google Analytics with confidence – knowing that piecing the full user behavior story together requires integrating qualitative learnings as well. Figuring out how to leverage behavior research alongside strict numbers will better improve your A/B Testing strategy and CRO ROI. If you’re not sure how to set up the ideal marketing and advertising campaign, read our case study: Gilt City Increases PPC Clicks by 16% While Reducing CPA by 20%.

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