Here’s an honest review of the CXL Institute Conversion Optimization Mini degree program from someone who has already taken the coursework and passed the exams.
Recently I passed the final test in this mini degree and looking back, I can’t say enough good things about it. The team at CXL designed and organized the entire program to combine an in-depth analysis of CRO tools and concepts (and in this they go extremely deep) with the application of these concepts through integrated homework and suggestions for practice and implementation.
Highly Practical and Highly In-depth and Technical
I have taken many courses throughout my years as a freelance writer and marketer, and many times I find myself wondering why an instructor is teaching something that there is no practical use for. With a few exceptions, I can say that even the most advanced courses in the mini-degree program have a very practical bend to them.
For example the few courses that I found most challenging included the courses in statistics, A/B testing, and advanced data analysis. There were a few times in the statistics course that it seemed we were running around on rabbit trails, but for the most part, these courses drove me to want to understand and learn more, because I could see how practical a deep understanding of these concepts were for becoming effective at conversion rate optimization.
Though I still feel on some of these subjects in particular, I need to continue to build up my knowledge, I also feel that from what I learned thus far at CXL, I am more than prepared to run and understand A/B testing than others in the field who without the foundational knowledge in statistics are just running tests without understanding what the tests are telling them.
A few weeks back I picked up the book Statistical Methods in Online A/B Testing, by Georgi Georgiev, the instructor that teaches the CXL module in Statistics for A/B testing, and the book has served as a great guide to elucidate the topics given in the course. I’d recommend it to anyone who has taken or is planning on taking the mini degree as a supplemental guide to statistical analysis in A/B testing.
CXL Really Does Stack Their Instructors from the Very Best Digital Marketers
Overall the quality of the instructors and the depth of their knowledge continues to impress me. CXL claims that they use the world’s top one percent in digital marketing as their instructors, and some might just think that that’s just a marketing slogan, but I can tell you after working through this mini degree program that I now believe that that’s not just empty slogan but it seems a goal that CXL is continuing to strive to achieve.
A few courses come to mind in this regard, but all of them are excellent: Momoko Price’s Product Messaging Course and Chris Mercer’s Google Analytics and Tag Manager Courses. Like the mini degree itself, these few courses seem to me to be exhaustive, full-throated, resources on their subjects.
As a writer, I found Momoko Price’s course fascinating. Coming from a non-conversion writing background, I found her process for researching and writing conversion copy to be a detailed step-by-step, practical approach that I intend to use here on out. There were so many surprises with this course, especially in the research section and Momoko provides numerous google sheets documents that she uses in her process that I am currently finding invaluable. It’s stuff I’m sure I’m going to come back to time and again.
Through Chris Mercer’s courses on Analytics and Tag Manager, I realized how much I did not know about these tools and find myself preparing to dig into them all the more readily with much more confidence and understanding than my previous google analytics certification could give me. Not only does Chris do an incredible job of explaining Analytics and Tag Manager, he also gives great information on how to organize and label information found in these tools for success.
Coupled with other courses in the mini degree program, like Fred Pike’s Google Analytics Audit and Jeff Sauer’s Using Analytics to Find Conversion Opportunities, I find that I am quickly becoming less of an analytics novice and more of a pro user day-by-day.
Not only do I know where to find certain dimensions and metrics, but I also know how to understand them, and most importantly how to use them to help improve conversions. It’s a great feeling to know that all this hard work that I have applied to this mini degree is actually giving me a good foundation in this highly technical, data-informed world of conversion optimization. I can’t wait to use these skills more.
Tools and Methods Used
I’ve made some mention of some of the tools that CXL goes deep on, such as Analytics and Tag Manager and all the downloads that Momoko Price gives in her product messaging course so that others can follow her process. But there are also many different tools discussed and implemented in this degree, both on the qualitative and the quantitative analysis side.
Some of these include tools for qualitative surveys, heatmaps, A/B calculators, Chrome extensions for Google Audits, tools to implement and program in R, and many more downloads to help keep the process organized and effective.
The mini degree program is set up ingeniously. From the start of the conversion rate optimization degree topics are all introduced at a general level, so there are really no surprises. Thanks to the excellent introduction by Brian Massey followed by Peep Laja’s Best Practices, you really feel like you know where you’re going and what the subject matter is about. But what is really the marked difference from this mini degree program than some other courses that teach CRO is how deep it goes after that general introduction.
Psychology, emotions and neurology in marketing (neuromarketing), statistical analysis and A/B testing, managing and analyzing qualitative and quantitative data are all addressed in turn and even these take many modules to flesh out, using the same tactic of giving a general overview of the foundational knowledge and then going even deeper.
The mini degree program is organized into four main sections: foundations, conversion research, optimization strategies, and conversion optimization program management.
If you’re considering taking this mini degree and wondering if it’s worth it, trust me it is. There’s a lot of marketing instruction out there in the wild west of the internet that talks a big game but doesn’t deliver the results that it promises. This degree at CXL was so valuable. It was all it promised to be and this is because of the quality of instructors and instruction given. The one percent is not just a slogan. They really mean it.