Forget the old Mac vs Windows argument — I’ve used both and each has advantages depending on your personal setup. If you’re a Windows user, you may be waiting with bated breath to for the release of Windows 10 on July 29.
In a smart move, Microsoft has made the upgrade free for users of the last couple of Windows versions.
Background image: Pixabay
But it’s not the savvy marketing that I find most fascinating about the upcoming launch. Instead, looking beyond the hype, I think what Microsoft has said about its new operating system suggests some lessons that conversion optimizers should pay attention to. Here are five lessons I took away from the launch announcement.
1. Optimize for Voice Search
As we know, search engine optimization (SEO) is an important part of conversion rate optimization (CRO). After all, if you want people to take the desired action, they have to find your content first.
One of the ways they are doing that is with voice search. Cortana is Microsoft’s answer to Google Now and Apple’s Siri, and soon it won’t just be available on smartphones, but will be embedded into the desktop experience (something all the tech manufacturers seem to be working towards).
What does that mean for your strategy? Helping people find your content based on answering users’ questions seems like a great strategic move.
Find those questions by checking data from your web analytics, Google Webmaster Tools, your social media profiles and your customer service portal. You can check out sites like Quora too.
If your web pages answer questions real users ask, they will score higher for relevance — and we know how much Google loves that! Some sites have already caught onto the trend, like Freelancer FAQs, which uses questions as post titles.
Learn more about voice search with these insights into semantic search.
2. Personalization is Essential
Relevance isn’t just about search; it’s about the whole Windows experience, according to Microsoft. Windows Hello won’t just offer login security (with facial and fingerprint recognition and not a password in sight), but it will greet you with a smile (sounds a little creepy to me).
More than that, Windows will use its new browser, Edge (yes, Internet Explorer will finally, FINALLY walk the plank) to provide personalized and relevant results as you search and browse.
Whether you’re talking email or ecommerce, personalization is an important way to improve conversions; its integration into the new Windows means that web users will become used to a higher level of personalization. That means if you want pages to convert, you’ll have to get more personal.
Check out Hubspot’s guide to see how to get personalization right.
3. Optimize for Mobile
One thing I noticed about the Edge browser is that it’s supposed to make online interactions “faster and easier.” That includes distraction-free reading. You know what that says to me — you need fast loading websites ready for mobile users.
We already know that slow sites are conversion killers. Microsoft may be doing its part with a streamlined browser, but optimizers have to do theirs too.
In addition, Windows 10 will feature versions of Office with a “touch-first” interface. In other words, they are designed to be used efficiently and effectively on mobile devices. People have been promoting mobile-first design for a couple of years. With this approach, Microsoft has gone one better, sending a clear signal that they regard mobile devices as the most important ones.
As a conversion optimizer, here’s what you need to do:
4. Get Social
Windows is also getting more social, from the integration of Xbox and Xbox Live, to social gaming with friends, to new ways to share and comment on content.
No, Microsoft hasn’t revolutionized blog commenting, exactly, but Windows 10 includes a cool feature called “inking,” which lets you draw on a web page and save and share your annotated page. Sure, you have to save it to OneNote, but what you do with it after that is up to you.
Microsoft’s bet on greater social interaction confirms that this must be a focus for future conversion optimization efforts. And it also means there will be even more user data for conversion optimizers to track and explore. Optimizers will want to be clear on which parts of pages are getting “inked” and shared, delving even further into the data provided by heat maps.
In addition, it will be a good idea to:
- optimize web content for social media sharing
- work on social media conversion boosters
- use tools to get insights for better optimization
Check out Buffer’s mobile social media strategy guide for additional insight.
5. Think Cross-Platform UX
These days, it seems that every tech tool is trying to be all things to all people. Microsoft is no exception. Included in Windows 10 is a tool called Continuum, which aims to let users move smoothly between tablets and PCs. There are even going to be new Windows phones that will use the technology to work just like PCs. In some ways, this sounds like a nightmare, but it might be convenient, and convenience is a key part of a great user experience (UX).
As we’ve said before, good UX is about delivering what users want in the way that suits them best. So optimizing web pages and sites to give users a seamless experience no matter where they connect from is the way to go. Think about:
Check your key landing pages and web pages to see that they play nicely for people using Continuum. Otherwise, it’s back to the drawing board to start again.
With around 1.5 billion using Windows, this is a sizeable potential audience for your content. Check the announcement for yourself and see how this could affect your CRO strategy.
Have you got any insights into what’s coming up for CRO?
Read other Crazy Egg articles by Sharon Hurley Hall.