Faces of Optiverse: Shane Germann, Chief of Conversion Optimization

by Optimizely ‎02-12-2015 February 12, 2015 - edited ‎02-12-2015 February 12, 2015


Shane is the winner of our recent contest: What do you want to take away from Opticon 2015. He's extremeley talented and has extensive experience with CRO. I would encourage you all to get to know him. I asked Shane a few questions and here are his responses: 


Name: Shane Germann

Title: Chief of Conversion Optimization at Sellpoints

Twitter/LinkedIn: @shanegermann   www.linkedin.com/in/shanegermann


Tell us about your journey to work in Conversion Rate Optimization. Did you mean to? Why/Why not?


Getting into CRO was semi-intentional. I started in the sector about 2 years ago, while working as an implementation specialist for a small SEO shop. UX optimization almost always becomes a priority for websites once they begin to see solid traffic. I guess back then I had this understanding that beautiful, well designed websites were the keys to performance. Of course that is important, but in my experience AB testing at Sellpoints, where we are constantly focused on impacting conversion, I have gained much more statistically solid insights into improving sales performance.


In your contest response, you highlighted the importance of not only optimizing a sales funnel to increase conversions, but also creating the intent to buy. Are there any companies you feel do this well? Do you have any thoughts around how this might be done in the digital space?


Suggestion is very powerful, and as web designers we have plenty of tools at our disposal by which we might suggest, or imply something. Right now, I think that GoPro is accomplishing this better than anyone. They profit from the sale of video cameras, but their marketing team sells a lifestyle. It creates a desire to buy, suggesting that GoPro will make you surf like a pro, by placing you in a pro surfer’s point of view. Of course, GoPro has the advantage that their product outputs a medium that fits perfectly on all the devices that consumers love staring at, but the execution is still very effective. The actual effectiveness of lifestyle content marketing has long been debated, but AB testing has given us a quantifiable way to measure the impact of suggestive strategies.



How are you thinking about mobile? Do you have any best practices regarding CRO and mobile you’d like to share?


I feel that mobile is highly underexplored in the world of CRO. I saw something recently that showed ecommerce conversion rates on tablet surpassing those on desktop in 2014. People want their mobile experiences to be easier, they are ready to buy, they want to be guided rather than having to spend time figuring out how to checkout. My philosophy about mobile, is that less is more. I particularly feel this way about forms, where a clunky, long experience can be a serious conversion killer for mobile users.


Given your experiences, what are the must-have skill(s) to be effective at optimization?


Lately, I have been really attracted to candidates who are interested in psychology, but the real must-haves are statistical analysis, design experience, and willingness to take risks.


We have a tradition at Optimizely where new employees share a fact that others wouldn’t otherwise know. What would your fun fact be?


I’m a cowboy. I was born and raised on a cattle ranch in southwest Montana. I spent many a day buckin’ bales and fixin’ fence, and I’ve probably birthed more calves than is appropriate to discuss in a CRO interview Smiley Wink