Catching the customer’s eye in the hopes of drawing them onto a retail site where they will hopefully be inspired to buy something (or at least look at an ad that will later impel them to buy something) has been a hallmark of digital marketing since the first moment there was a digital space in which to market.
But while most of us ignore the proliferation of ads we see online every day, occasionally clicking when something of interest actually pops up, ContentSquare founder and CEO Jonathan Cherki found himself looking at the banner ads of the internet and feeling both disappointed and inspired.
Disappointed because of his strong suspicion that the vast majority of eCommerce pop-up ads were wholly ineffective and inspired because it occurred to him that this might be a problem he was able to fix.
“Early in my career, I was a mathematician who got into investing because I love numbers,” Cherki explained to PYMNTS. “And this is when I noticed companies spending a lot of money on banner ads without converting to revenue. And I wanted to know why.”
Thus, ContentSquare was born in 2012 as a statistical service company — though it has since grown into full-fledged user experience (UX) analytics and optimization platform that helps businesses understand how and why users are interacting with their website, mobile and app.
The goal, noted Cherki, is to take all that data and then package it up as profitable actions that increase engagement, reduce acquisition costs and maximize retail conversion rates. Today the firm is co-headquartered in New York and Paris, with a third office in London. It currently employs 140, a far cry from the one employee (its CEO) it had when it founded. But then it needs a lot of workers — according to Cherki, the business has grown 20-fold over the last four years.
So what is their secret? Cherki said the key is accepting some truths about the market.
“The Best Advertisers Aren’t Necessarily The Best Salespersons”
Until rather recently, Cherki said, most of the power in the online marketing area is around initial acquisition — i.e., making that first contact and drawing the customer in. This is the work of advertising, he added, and it has been dominant, which is fine but for the fact that the full equation isn’t about just bringing the customer — it is about selling them something.
That idea, he noted, has been harder to move the market to.
“Until recently, the market was focused on acquisition, and I was convinced the next big thing was UX and conversion. However, companies did not understand the importance of [these] and definitely did not have teams in place to concentrate on such things. We had to wait for the market to catch up to our vision and help it mature.”
But that maturity is happening now — and the proof is in ContentSquare’s clients’ success stories, said Cherki.
“For example, Lacoste … used our software and guidance to optimize their product page journey paths, which resulted in a 53 percent overall uplift in conversion rates. L’Occitane worked with ContentSquare in turning their mobile visitors into purchasers and saw a 15 percent increase in a very short timeframe. And most recently Sephora also saw a similar sales increase of around 15 percent for their eCommerce initiatives.”
The examples abound, Cherki said — and all stem from a similar place: ContentSquare’s commitment to improving the customer experience at the most granular level.
“What we do best is analyze every step of the payment process so we can recommend to companies what adjustments they need to make to get potential purchases to fruition and give their customers the best experience possible. Our goal is to give companies the tools to democratize the decision-making process to allow each team member access to data, therefore creating the perfect user experience and increasing conversion.”
And, he noted, given their growth so far and ever-lengthening client list, the only thing to do is keep on growing.
High on the agenda for the firm in 2017 is global expansion into U.S., Germany and other parts of the world.
Also ranking is further engineering and improving their artificial intelligence, since, as Cherki noted, it is really itself the backbone of the customer journey.
But more broadly, ContentSquare has a bigger vision of making the world of digital experiences easier and better for everyone, with better data for all.
“Our vision is to make the digital experience intuitive. That every digital experience will be as intuitive as brushing your teeth in the morning. And our goal is to be the leader in user experience,” said Cherki.
It’s a big goal, especially for a small firm. But then, four years ago, ContentSquare was a really small firm — thinking big as served them well so far.