The following is a case study about how Tough Mudder achieved a 9% session uplift by optimizing for mobile. With the help of altima° and VWO, they identified and rectified pain points for their mobile users, to provide seamless event identification and sign-ups.
About the Company
Tough Mudder offers a series of mud and obstacle courses designed to test physical strength, stamina, and mental grit. Events aren’t timed races, but team activities that promote camaraderie and accomplishment as a community.
Tough Mudder wanted to ensure that enrolment on their mobile website was smooth and easy for their users. They partnered with altima°, a digital agency specializing in eCommerce, and VWO to ensure seamless event identification and sign-ups.
Research on Mobile Users
The agency first analyzed Tough Mudder’s Google Analytics data to identify any pain points across participants’ paths to enrollment. They analyzed existing rates from the Event List, which demonstrated that interested shoppers were not able to identify the events appropriate for them. The agency began to suspect that customers on mobile might not be discovering events easily enough.
On the mobile version of the original page, most relevant pieces of information like the event location and date, were being pushed too far down below the fold. In addition, lesser relevant page elements were possibly distracting users from the mission at hand. This is how it looked like:
The agency altima° decided to make the following changes in the variation:
Simplified header: Limiting the header copy to focus on the listed events. The following image shows how this looked.
List redesign: Redesigning the filter and event list to prominently feature the events themselves. The following image shows the same:
Additionally, an Urgency Message was added to encourage interested users to enroll in events nearing their deadline. See the following image to know how it was done:
For these three variations, seven different combinations were created and a multivariate test was run using VWO. The test experienced over 2k event sign-ups across 4 weeks. The combinations of variations are shown below:
After 4 weeks, Variation 2, which included the redesigned event list, proved to be the winning variation. This is not to say that other test variations were not successful. Variation 2 was just the MOST successful:
The winning variation produceda session value uplift of 9%! Combined with the next 2 rounds of optimization testing, altima° helped Tough Mudder earn a session value uplift of over 33%!
Why Did Variation 2 Win?
altima° prefers to let the numbers speak for themselves and not dwell on subjective observations. After all, who needs opinions when you’ve got data-backed results? altima°, however, draws the following conclusions on why Variation 2 won:
Social proof has demonstrated itself to be a worthy component of conversion optimization initiatives. These often include customer reviews and/or indications of popularity across social networks.
In fact, Tough Mudder experienced a significant lift in the session value due to the following test involving the addition of Facebook icons. It’s likely that the phrase Our Events Have Had Over 2 Million Participants Across 3 Continents warranted its own kind of social proof.
The most ambitious testing element to design and develop was also the most successful.
It appeared that an unnecessary amount of real estate was being afforded to the location filter. This was resolved by decreasing margins above and below the filter, along with removing the stylized blue graphic.
The events themselves now carried a more prominent position relative to the fold on mobile devices. Additionally, the list itself was made to be more easily read, with a light background and nondistracting text.
The underperformance of the urgency message came as a surprise. It was believed that this element would prove to be valuable, further demonstrating the importance of testing with VWO.
Something to consider is that not every event included an urgency message. After all, not every enrolment period was soon to close. Therefore, it could be the case that some customers were less encouraged to click through and enroll in an individually relevant event if they felt that they had more time to do so later.
They might have understood that their event of interest wasn’t promoting urgency and was, therefore, not a priority. It also might have been the case that an urgency message was introduced too early in the steps to event enrolment.
How did you find this case study? There are more testing theories to discuss! Please reach out to altima° and VWO to discuss. You could also drop in a line in the Comments section below.
Clearly defining the key performance indicators, or KPIs, is the first step to any Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) campaign. It is only through tracking and measuring results on these KPIs that a business can optimize for growth.
The KPIs in CRO can be broadly divided into two categories: macro and micro conversions (or goals).
Macro conversions are the primary goals of a website. Examples of macro conversions for SaaS, eCommerce, or any other online enterprise could be revenue, contact us, request a quote, and free-trial.
Micro conversions are defined as steps or milestones that help you reach the end goal. Micro conversion examples would include email clicks, downloads on white paper, blog subscriptions, and so on.
Improving macro goals is imperative to the growth of any enterprise. However, it is equally important that enterprises measure micro goals so as to enhance overall website usability. Avinash Kaushik talks on similar lines: “Focus on measuring your macro (overall) conversions, but for optimal awesomeness, identify and measure your micro conversions as well.”
In this blog post, we discuss why enterprises should:
Each micro conversion acts as a process milestone in the conversion funnel and impacts the ultimate step, or macro conversion. The following example explains this in a simple manner. Let’s take the case of a regular conversion funnel of a SaaS website. The funnel starts at the home page and ends with a purchase.
The visits from the home page to the features page and from the features page to the pricing page are micro conversions in this example. These micro conversions have the same end goal, that is, “purchases”.
If we were to double micro conversions from the home page to the “features” page, the result would be almost same as shown in the table below:
The number of completed purchases, that is, the macro conversion, also doubled. This example illustrates how micro conversions can have an impact on the macro conversions in a funnel.
Dr. Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director and CEO of MECLABS, shares the same thought “The funnel represents and should be thought of as a representation of what is the heart of marketing, and that is a series of decisions. Those decisions are key transitions; I would call them micro-yeses. There are a series of micro-yeses necessary to help someone achieve an ultimate yes. The Ultimate Yes is the sale in most cases. At each of these junctures, we have to help people climb up the funnel.”
Micro conversions help you assess buyer readiness, or intent.
Micro conversions help you assess points of friction in a buyer’s journey.
Micro Conversions Help You Assess Buyer Readiness or Intent
All visitors who land on your website don’t have the intent to make a purchase. Some of them could be running a quick comparative research while others could be checking out your products or services during their first visit. Tracking micro conversions helps you understand whether a visitor could be a potential customer. For instance, tracking micro conversions, such as downloading a product brochure or adding a product to a wishlist, shows the future possibility of conversions on a macro goal.
These micro conversions, or secondary goals, are worth tracking as they clearly show that a visitor might have an interest in your business or product.
Here is an example:
PriceCharting conducted a preliminary A/B test to study if their buyers intended to buy from them at higher prices. They used the learning from this preliminary test for future testing. The objective of the test was defined as: Figuring out how price sensitive were the customers. On the “control,” they used “Starts at $4” next to the “Price Guide” CTA. Two other variations were studied against control. One of them stated a starting price of $2 next to the CTA, and the other mentioned $1 as the starting price.
The test results showed that the variation which stated the highest buys won the most clicks on the “Pricing Guide” CTA. This implied that people visiting PriceCharting valued their products and showed readiness to buy even at higher prices. The learning from this exercise for PriceCharting’s future tests was that price was not a major factor influencing their visitors.
Micro Conversions Help You Assess Points of Friction in Your Buyer’s Journey
Along with providing a complete view of your buyer’s journey, tracking micro conversions also helps identify drop-offs on the conversion funnel. For example, on an eCommerce website, users frequently visiting the product page but not adding products to cart implies something is putting off the visitors for moving from “product” to “add-to-cart.” Optimizing the micro goal here, which is increasing “add-to-cart” actions, will ultimately result in increased revenue.
Here’s an example of a multi-step sign-up form on a SaaS website. Suppose many users do not complete the form. By tracking micro conversions on the form, you will be able to identify the friction points. Maybe one of the steps in the form that asks for credit card information of users brings the most friction. With this knowledge, you can assess where users lie in their buyer journey and optimize the form accordingly. Optimizing each step in the form or micro conversions will help you improve your macro conversion.
When testing, the primary goal in the above examples can be to improve micro conversions. A case study by VWO talks about how displaying a banner for top deals increased engagement by 105% for eCommerce client Bakker-helligom. Ben Vooren, an online marketer at Bakker, realized that visitors go to the information pages and read the information, but leave without buying from the website, which was the macro goal. This was the friction that Ben wanted to address. He hypothesized that adding commercially-focused banners at the top of all the information pages (micro goal) will help resolve this friction. The test was run for 12 days on 8,000 visitors. The winning variation led to a 104.99% increase in visits to the “top deals page” and a statistical significance of 99.99%.
Optimize Those Micro Conversions Which Impact Macro Conversions
While running an A/B test for multiple variations, studying micro conversions on each of those variations can provide valuable insights. It can show you which changes impacted micro conversions, resulted in improved macro conversions, and which ones did not. As we mentioned, there are a number of micro conversions that you can look to optimize. But not all of these would contribute equally to macro conversions.
For instance, to optimize an eCommerce product page with macro goal of “increasing checkout”, there could be a number of test variations that you can run:
In Variation 1 the CTA ‘add to wish-list’ is made prominent In Variation 2 the CTA ‘save for later’ is made prominent
Both of these variations will not yield the same impact on the macro goal of increasing checkouts. You may realise that making the “save for later” CTA more prominent is yielding more increase in checkouts. So you would want to prioritize that micro conversion in the subsequent tests.
That said, when running a conversion rate optimization program, the test goal should be set as close to revenue as possible. There are two scenarios explained here wherein optimization for micro conversions can prove disastrous:
When Macro Conversions are Not Considered
Solely optimizing for micro conversions without considering how it impacts a major business goal is a total waste of time and efforts.
Peep Laja from ConversionXL says, “If you don’t have enough transaction volume to measure final purchases or revenue, that sucks. But if you now optimize for micro conversions instead, you might be just wasting everyone’s time as you can’t really measure business impact.”
For example, an eCommerce website can increase micro conversions (visits from the home page to the product page) by making the menu bar prominent on the home page. This change might result in higher visits to the product page. However, if you are not tracking the impact of this change on macro conversion (checkouts), the whole optimization process would lack direction.
When the Focus is on Quick Results
A/B tests with macro conversions as the primary goal can take a long time to provide conclusive results. Conversely, certain tests which measure micro conversions have a lesser testing time.
This happens because macro goals are always less in number in comparison to micro. For statistically significant results, a good amount of conversions on the macro goal are required. This exercise would take comparatively much more time than collecting micro conversions.
For example, on a SaaS website, if your primary goal was to increase visits from “the home page to the products page,” the test will take lesser time (because it has higher traffic) to give conclusive results compared to if the primary goal for the test was “Request a Demo.”
However, testing micro conversions with the objective of completing an experiment faster can lead to failure. While you can track different micro conversions, each of them may not result in a winning variation. This happens because each of those micro conversions might not directly lead to a lift in conversion rates. The false Micro-Conversion Testing Assumption example explained in a post on WidderFunnel, is one example that explains this. The gist of the proposed example is that optimizing micro conversions by assuming an equal drop-off at each stage of the funnel ultimately led to the loss of revenue.
The success of a CRO program rests on how well you define your micro and macro goals. The closer your micro goals are to the end goal in the funnel, the higher are your chances of getting a winning variation. On the other hand, tracking micro conversions and improving them can help you enhance the overall UX of your website.
What metrics are you tracking and optimizing for your conversion rate optimization program? Drop us a comment and let us know.
(This is a guest post, authored by Danny de Vries, Senior CRO Consultant with Traffic4U)
Every year, Conversion Optimizers around the world vie for the annual WhichTestWon Online Testing Awards, which are awarded by an independent organization situated in the USA. Anyone can enter the competition by submitting their A/B and multivariate test cases which are then reviewed and judged on multiple factors. The most interesting and inspiring cases are then eligible to win either a Gold, Silver or Bronze badge across a range of categories.
This year, twelve out of the thirty test case winners of the 6th annual international WhichTestWon Online Testing Awards are Dutch. With one golden award, two silver awards and an honorable mention, Traffic4u emerged as one of the strong pillars of the Dutch Optimization prowess. This blog covers our three award winning A/B test cases, starting with the golden award winner.
De Hypothekers Associatie: Users Need Guidance
The test case of De Hypothekers Associatie, the biggest independent mortgage consultancy service in the Netherlands, received a golden award in the category ‘Form Elements’. As a consultancy firm, they rely on advising clients about mortgages and other related financial decisions. However, before contacting a consultancy, users typically want to understand for themselves what their financial possibilities are regarding mortgages and buying of properties. So, a user who’s just begun exploring options is unlikely to contact De Hypothekers Associatie or check for an appointment.
In order to empower users to research the possibilities regarding mortgages, De Hypothekers Associatie created several pages on which users could calculate their maximum mortgage loan, monthly mortgage payments, etc. The experiment included the control page shown below, on which users could calculate their mortgage loan:
Previous A/B tests on the website of De Hypotheker Associatie clearly showed the need for guidance on the website, which was the result of testing call-to-action buttons. For instance, a button that said ‘Next step’ significantly outperformed other CTAs with copy like ‘Contact us’ and ‘Advise me’. This result implied two things:
Users want information in small digestible chunks
Users like to explore what lies ahead instead of being plainly told what the next step is
The follow-up action was to apply this insight to the calculation page, as the lack of guidance could potentially result in fewer mortgage appointments and paying clients.
The hypothesis was that users need to be guided through the process of calculating the maximum loan amount they could receive. The test variation of the “Loan calculation page” included a clear step-by-step flow guiding users through the calculation process. This was in stark contrast with the control situation that had a more simplistic flow. It was assumed that guiding users through the calculation process would lead to more calculations and hence, more appointments for the consultancy. The screenshot of the variant can be found below.
Guiding customers through the loan-calculation process resulted in a significant uplift of more than 18% in terms of number of loan calculations on that particular page. Furthermore, the number of mortgage appointments also increased by more than 18%.
Why Do Users Need Guidance?
It goes without saying that mortgages are boring and complex. But it becomes a necessity when you are (or want to be) a home owner. Also, taking out a mortgage is a high stakes financial decision that isn’t typically made in a day without sufficient information. Because of this, people need advice on where to begin, what steps to undertake, what the possibilities are and what options suit their situation best. The test results show that including clear guidance on the steps to follow can result in a statistically significant uplift in conversion.
In the category ‘Copy Test’, the A/B test of Fietsvoordeelshop received a Silver Award. Fietsvoordeelshop is one of the leading bike web-shops in the Netherlands offering an assortment of bikes from top brands for discounted prices.
The website lacked a prominently visible indication of the actual discount users would get on the different products. Discounts were displayed in an orange text right next to the big orange CTA button.
It was hypothesized that Fietsvoordeelshop was losing potential sales by not showing customer savings very effectively. We expected an increase in click-through-rate to the shopping cart by making the savings prominently visible. The discount, which was shown in orange text Uw voordeel: €550,00, was changed to a more visible green badge that contrasted with the orange CTA button (here’s more on the importance of contrast in design). See the variant below:
Results showed that the variation outperformed the control with 26.3% statistically significant uplift in Shopping Cart entries. So it’s one thing to offer discounts on products, but unless the benefit clearly stands out, users are likely to miss it and never convert.
Follow-through and Stay Consistent
Although we found an increase in click-throughs to the shopping cart, we didn’t see this effect (or somewhat similar) in the checkout steps following the shopping cart entry. The reason for this could be that the discount badge was only shown on the pages before ‘add to shopping cart’ and not on the subsequent check out pages. In order to sustain the positive influence, it might be a good idea to retain the badge all the way through the checkout. However, it has to be tested if repeatedly showing the savings during the final steps in the checkout process leads to an increase in actual sales.
Omoda: Icons Perform Better (on mobile devices)
The second Silver Award Winning test case belongs to the Dutch shoe retailer Omoda. It came in second in the category ‘Images & Icons’. Omoda is one of the top shoe retailers in The Netherlands offering a range of shoes from world-class brands for women, men and kids. The case serves to show how important it is to segment your test results. Read more about visitor segmentation and how it can help increase website conversions.
Each of the Omoda product pages feature their unique selling points. While these were placed near the call-to-action Plaats in shopping bag and were definitely visible, we believed they weren’t visible enough. The Reasons?
The USPs appeared in a bulleted list, but it blended too well with other text on the page and did not command attention.
The page also included a big black area for customer service elements. Because the page was largely white, the black areas would get more attention, distracting users from the primary goal of the page – viewing shoe details and adding the product to the shopping bag.
Below is an image of the control version:
The hypothesis was that addressing both these issues to make the USPs more visible would lead to an increase in sales. We created a Multivariate test which allowed us to test both assumptions – USPs aren’t visible enough and the black area is too distracting. All variations are shown below:
Combination 2: changing the black color to a more neutral grey and moving the customer review rating to the top of the box
Combination 3: using icons and black text instead of grey text to let the USPs stand out better
Combination 4: using elements from combination-2 and combination-3
Overall results for this test told us that the hypothesis should be rejected; there was no convincing proof that any combination would perform significantly better or worse than the control situation. But, through segmentation we found that the hypothesis did work positively on mobile devices and resulted in a whopping 13.6% uplift in sales. Initially, the overall results seemed inconclusive because of a 5.2% drop in sales on desktop and tablet devices.
Users Behave Differently on Different Devices
The results of this test show the device-dependency of hypotheses and the effectiveness of using icons to make USPs stand out better. On the basis of this test, we recommend that you always segment test results to observe the effect of the hypothesis through different dimensions and not make blind decisions.
In the light of previous A/B tests, we believe that the reason why icons perform better on mobile is because desktop and tablet users are more likely to click on the prominent USPs — like terms of payment or delivery — in order to see more details. But, since the USPs aren’t clickable, desktop users would not able to get any additional information. This could irk potential buyers and get them to bounce away. On a mobile device however, with less screen real-estate and the device being less suited to opening multiple tabs, users are less likely to search for additional information.
Understand What Drives Your Visitors And Keep Testing
The above cases have one thing in common. No, it’s not the awards. The commonality is that in each of these cases, we were able to successfully ‘assume’ what drove website visitors. Research using data and/or user feedback told us that a certain effect was occurring. We put this understanding in the required perspective (depending on the type of website and/or product, device, seasonality, user flow etc.) and made certain assumptions about the possible causes for these effects. Then we used A/B and multivariate testing to check if our assumptions were correct. Testing, in fact, is all about learning from your website visitors.
So the visitors land on your travel website, search for flights and accommodation and then randomly leave without completing the booking — almost on a whim. If your website has also been seeing a similar trend, then you are not alone.
On an average, more than 95% traffic coming on hotel, airline and tour packages websites leave without completing the purchase process. Why? Because travel eCommerce is one of the trickiest online businesses — thanks to lengthy marketing funnels, complex search parameters, complicated checkout processes, multiple forms and massive personalization. The average conversion rate (% of website visitors turning into customers) of travel websites is a dismal 4% — far below the 10% conversion rate of financial and media firms.
But you can always improve this figure by optimizing your website so that more visitors turn to customers. Here are 14 tips you can implement on your website to make more visitors convert — complete the transaction.
1) Make your ‘Site Search’ smart and intuitive
For no other industry is the search function as critical as for travel websites. In the case of eCommerce stores, visitors operate in the ‘browsing and finding’ mode. They may or may not use a site search. But when it comes to travel sites, the entire premise of the prospective transaction is based on site search. Only when a visitor selects a location and a date, will he find relevant results from which he/she will make a choice. Not only should your site search be extremely fast and accurate, it should be as intuitive as possible.
There are four key search parameters — date, location, budget and number of people. You can use drop-down menus for calendar and locations, and pre-define different budget categories for visitors to choose from. You can also save their booking history and populate past search parameters for convenience.
2) How and what you display in site search results is crucial
The result page that appears after a visitor inputs his search combination can overwhelm a visitor into abandonment if the information is presented in a haphazard manner. It’s important that the visitor gets all the needed information without having to leave the funnel. The flight and hotel options should be displayed in a clean layout with pricing being highlighted.
An editable search bar should also be prominently displayed so that the visitor can modify the search results without hitting the back button.
3) The progress bar is your lifeboat
The booking process is extremely complex with many steps in the booking funnel – hotel booking, flight booking, amenities, cab pick and drop. Complex booking experiences make travelers switch to higher cost offline channels. In a survey conducted among US passengers, it was found that at least 18% of travelers don’t find online planning and booking easy.
It’s extremely difficult to cut down on the amount of information that must be collected during the booking process. But dividing the process into identifiable steps makes customers’ life much easier. These identifiable steps are like road signs — the customer will know what lies ahead after they complete that step.
4) This is the add-ons market: Upsell and Cross-sell with elan
Would they want to add on travel insurance as a package deal? Or perhaps, get flight seats with extra legroom at a little extra cost? Or may be extend the trip by three days to get a steal of a deal? The options for add-ons, cross-sells and upsells are immense in the online travel business — extra baggage, hotel upgrades, meals — all are additional services that could be clubbed with the booking to increase the average order value.
According to a TripAdvisor survey, free Wi-Fi is the most requested hotel amenity with 89% of travelers wanting it, followed by free parking and breakfast. However, you need to take care of two things when it comes to upselling and cross-selling. First: Don’t offer an upsell option when the visitor is at the checkout. You don’t tell the traveler what they don’t have and confuse them when they are about to close the deal. Secondly, don’t auto-check the add-ons as the customer might not notice them at that point but would get mighty pissed when they see the inflated cost at the checkout.
5) Personalization is the key
The incredible thing about online travel is that every booking is personalized to some extend. One traveler might always go for free Wi-fi as a criterion for hotel booking while another might always choose flights with 100% on-time record. Using a personalization tool to remember travelers’ booking history will help you make relevant offers the next time they come to your website. You could also track their in-session activity to understand their behavior and booking habits.
When you display the search results, you could also put badges on thumbnails to highlight a particular feature the traveler requested the last time. It’s a great way to catch their attention and offer relevant information really fast.
6) If you know them enough, offer recommendations
This is the second part of the personalization process. If a traveler has booked with you a couple of times, that’s good enough information for you to offer trip recommendations. If there is a lot of consistency in their booking behavior — sea-facing hotels, family trips, spa and recreational activities — you can assume he/she is a leisure traveler and accordingly recommend similar travel experiences.
Any information that is vague and open to reader’s interpretation is a potential conversion barrier. The multitude steps involved in the booking process are anyways a hindrance to smooth web experience. Review all the information throughout the funnel for ambiguities.
For example, when you ask visitors for their age, you might be showing them three options to choose from – kid, adult and elderly. Now you might think you have communicated yourself clearly but what about someone who is 17? He definitely does not think of himself as a kid and neither is he legally an adult. Or what about someone who is 59? An adult or elderly? There’s always some room for confusion here. And if the ticket prices vary according to these groups, then the visitor won’t think twice before abandoning you for some other website which clearly states the age group, like this:
Here’s another example of ambiguity. By looking at their analytics, Expedia found that many of their visitors were clicking the booking button but weren’t completing the transaction. After some analysis, they found that an optional field on the booking form (called ‘Company’) was confusing the travelers. The visitors thought the field required them to enter their bank name. Having entered the bank name, they then went on to enter their bank address (not home) in the address field. This was causing the credit card transaction to fail. Expedia simply deleted the ‘Company’ field and reaped in higher profits. (Here’s the full case study)
Here’s a look at what all information leisure travelers are interested in at the time of planning a holiday.
8) Make room for the last minute traveler
Last-minute queries on mobile device for hotels and accommodations went up by 79% during January 2012 compared to 2011. Tap into this most obvious market segment by prominently displaying a ‘Express booking’ button on your homepage.
9) Make them an offer they can’t refuse
The world of online travel is an unfair one. Google analysis shows that an average travel shopper visits 22 websites (Yessir, not a typo) in multiple shopping sessions before finally booking a trip. Planning a holiday is a thoughtful and complicated process with the visitor going on a ‘Control + W’ spree at the slightest of whims and inconveniences. You have to get their attention really fast and make them act right away in order to score transactions. One of the ways to do that is by using the Urgency principle — one of the six persuasive psychology principles mentioned in Robert Cialdini’s book ‘Influence’.
‘Last few tickets available at discounted price’
‘Book now to get a free hotel upgrade’
Book in the next one hour to get free wine on arrival
‘Get complimentary breakfast if booked in the next 30 minutes‘
There are endless ways to generate urgency and dissuade the visitors to go on a website hopping spree. However, be reasonable and don’t make a promise you can’t keep because that will just tarnish your reputation.
10) Wear nice shoes
Men are judged by the appearance of their shoes. And the authenticity of your business is judged by the appearance of your website. Shoddy design, clumsy layout, too many rotating image carousels, misspellings, bad grammar, unrecognizable security logos and no trust badges are all signs of a possible fake. Online frauds are the order of the day and visitors are ever more cautious about revealing their personal and credit card information online. Hence, it’s very important that your website oozes trust and authenticity.
When you are asking for their credit card information, display a security seal along with it. Use testimonials, customer reviews, media coverage and privacy policies to win the visitor’s trust. Hotels and airlines should ensure their booking processes are secure.
Planetamex, a travel agency, didn’t come across as credible due to the use of dated logos and award seals on its website. They ran an A/B test and replaced the homepage banner with the one built around the credibility markers of the AMEX brand. This new version increased their phone call conversions by 48%.
11) Don’t make them hunt for the login button
The customers will return to your website to update, modify or cancel their bookings or just to look up flight schedule, flight number, hotel location or any of the various pieces of information that make a booking. They will also come back to look up their frequent flier miles or seek information about the loyalty programs. Make sure you display the Login button pretty prominently on the homepage as Delta does above so that the customer doesn’t have to frustratingly hunt for them.
12) Reviews are a goldmine
Reviews are a great form of social proof in any kind of online business. But if you are into the travel business, their importance can’t be emphasized enough. Here are some thundering facts about reviews in the online travel business.
Around 70% of travelers look at 20 reviews in the trip planning phase.
A word of caution though. Don’t go about faking reviews, because frankly it shows.
13) Make sure your website works seamlessly across all devices
If you haven’t done this by now. Get up from that couch and get to work right away. Because if your mobile and tablet sites are not optimized for conversions, you are pissing off a mighty chunk of potential customers, and losing reputation and money alike. Want some hard facts? Here are a few:
Invest in a responsive design so that the visitor has a seamless experience across all devices. And if you have different websites for mobile and tablet, make sure they have the same functionality and features.
14) Invest in cool tools
Let’s face it. The competition in online travel and hospitality segment is immense with little distinguishing one website from another. If you want to be noticed amid the crowd, you will have to go an extra mile and offer a unique service and tool no one else is offering (or at least offer it in a cooler way).
Kayak offers an ‘explore’ tool that let’s you scan the world map for places you can travel to within a specified budget.
Similarly, Bing Travel had a cool ‘price predictor’ tool which would forecast whether fares for a particular flight and location would increase or go down. Alas! Microsoft killed the tool earlier this year, much to the disdain of travelers.
The First Optimization Step
If you are just beginning with the optimization process, looking at the maximum drop off page in your analytics would be a good starting point to fix the leaking conversions. Should you have any questions about website optimization, conversions, A/B testing and Matthew McConaughey, please drop in a message in the comment section.
Among the various solutions it offers is a free downloadable e-book on ways to control Type 2 diabetes.
The website had a landing page for the e-book with an opt-in box asking for visitors’ e-mail address. Here’s how the landing page originally looked.
Martin Malmberg of TheSolutionForDiabetes.com wanted to see if adding a line about respecting the privacy of the visitors would affect the sign-ups. So he used Visual Website Optimizer to set up a simple A/B test. He created a variation which had the text — “We respect your privacy” — just below the call to action (CTA) button.
A/B Test Result
Martin’s hunch was correct. Adding the text about privacy did affect the conversions — but surprisingly negatively! The version with the privacy text registered a 24.41% drop in conversions! The test was run for over a month with the original recording a 99% chance to beat the variation.
What really happened here?
You might be wondering what really happened here. Using any kind of trust indicator or copy that addresses visitors’ fears is usually considered a best practice. And why not? According to a survey, 36% online customers consider ‘identity fraud’ as their most prominent worry.
Then why did adding “We respect your privacy” right below the call to action (CTA) button decrease conversions in this case?
Possible reasons why the Variation failed
1) The privacy text introduced fear
When asked why he thought the variation failed, Martin said, “I guess people started to worry about spam and privacy concerns after reading such a text. Whereas, the thought doesn’t even enter their heads without that text. So, at least in my niche, with my traffic sources, it seems best not to use such a text, even when worded positively.”
So instead of assuaging visitors’ apprehensions, the text had a counteractive effect as it instilled the seeds of distrust and worry in the minds of visitors.
2) The text acts as a distraction
This is just an extension of the first point. The privacy text right below the CTA might have been distracting visitors and took the focus away from the offer. It’s usually considered a good practice to keep the landing page as focused on the offer as possible.