Tag Archives: number

Cut Through the Confusion in Google Analytics By Looking At These 12 Numbers Only

google analytics 12 metrics

Google Analytics is one of the best platforms for tracking almost any metric you can think of. And it’s completely free. That’s why marketers and even seven-figure companies all over the world use it. However, because it’s free, there are a few tradeoffs you have to make. One of those tradeoffs? You have to give up some user friendliness for affordability. Make no mistake: Google Analytics can go super deep. You can use it for some advanced applications, like finding out where users are abandoning the shopping cart. But if you’ve ever looked at Google Analytics before, you may have…

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Cut Through the Confusion in Google Analytics By Looking At These 12 Numbers Only

What Can You Learn From Tracking 17 Billion Email Opens?

email market share

Wow. Now, this is an infographic. So many infographics under-deliver. They’re forced. They spawned because it ended up on a “Marketing Q1” to-do list. And they end up being useless, enormous, ugly image files that just kills everyone’s bandwidth. An infographic is really a data visualization that presents useful data and makes it easy for viewers to do something actionable with it. That’s what the infographic below does. The number one takeaway from this graphic is: your list is reading your email on their phones. Are your emails optimized for mobile? Are you thinking about how people behave on mobile…

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What Can You Learn From Tracking 17 Billion Email Opens?

The KPIs Every Ecommerce Marketer Must Measure for Growth

graph ecommerce kpis

Good marketers are obsessed with numbers. They look at them every morning and end their day by checking them “one last time.” According to AdAge, 93% of CMOs are under more pressure to deliver a better ROI. The problem is, they can’t do that if they don’t understand performance at all stages of the marketing funnel. In this article, I’m going to outline key KPIs you must measure to help improve your ecommerce marketing. From awareness to retention, you’ll learn the metrics to watch daily and how to improve them. 1. Brand Name Search Brand awareness often gets a bad…

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The KPIs Every Ecommerce Marketer Must Measure for Growth

How To Conduct Competitor Research For Better Conversion Optimization Results

Note: This is a guest article written by Shane Barker, a renowned digital marketing consultant. Any and all opinions expressed in the post are Shane’s.


You want to increase your conversion rate. And you’ve implemented several CRO, or conversion rate optimization, strategies to help you do so. But have you considered researching about your competitors?

Understanding competition is crucial for the success of your business in every aspect. It will help you determine what you’re doing wrong, and what you can do better. It will also help you identify and capitalize on the weaknesses of your competitors.

In this post, you’ll learn the basics of conducting competitor research to enhance your CRO efforts.

#1: Identify Your Top Competitors

Before beginning your research, you need to know whom to research. Who are your biggest competitors? The simplest definition would be businesses where your target customers can get the same kind of services or products you offer.

Include both direct and indirect competitors.

  • Direct competitors are businesses that sell the same products or services as you.
  • Indirect competitors are those who sell products or services that fulfil the same need.

For example, Burger King and McDonald’s would be considered direct competitors because they have similar product offerings, that is, burgers. But Pizza Hut or Domino’s would be an indirect competitor of both Burger King and McDonald’s. Although they’re both fast food joints, Pizza Hut and Domino’s specialize in pizzas while the other two specialize in burgers.

Here are some of the ways you can identify your top competitors to conduct competitor research:

Google Search for Relevant Keywords

Make a list of keywords relevant to your business, and conduct a Google search using those keywords. The businesses that show up on the first page of your search results are your top competitors. List them for further research.

Let’s say you’re a wedding planner based in Sacramento. You can conduct a Google search using keywords like, “wedding planning in Sacramento,” “wedding planner in Sacramento,” “wedding planner Sacramento,” and so on.

Your top competitors in this case are the businesses that show up in the local pack and whose ads are displayed on the top of the page.

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You can find more competitors on the actual websites that show up in your search results. For the above example, if there are any sites that list wedding planners in the Sacramento area, you would need to check out those as well.

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Use SimilarWeb

SimilarWeb is a highly effective tool for identifying your competitors and determining their performance. All you need to do is type your website URL in the search bar and then click Start.

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This step generates an overview of your site’s ranking and traffic, as shown in the screenshot below. As the goal here is to identify competitors, you need to click the option that says, “Similar Sites,” as shown on the left sidebar.

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You will then get a list of some of the websites similar to yours, which you can sort based on the extent of similarity or ranking. Add them to your list so that you have a clear idea about who your competitors are.

Additionally, click each of these results to check where the websites stand in terms of ranking, traffic, and so on. This performance analysis can be used as part of the third step in this guide.

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#2: Try Out Your Competition

Another important step in competitor research is to experience their services or products first-hand.

When dealing with ecommerce stores, try ordering from them. Analyze every aspect of the purchase process to identify what they’re doing right and what mistakes they’re making.

Maybe they’ve implemented a chatbot to help their shoppers find what they’re looking for quickly and easily. To improve your CRO, consider adding a chatbot to your website as well.

You should also analyze the user experience (UX) of your competitors’ websites. Ensuring a good user experience is an essential part of successful CRO.

To analyze the UX of your competitors, ask yourself questions such as:

  • How easy is it for you to navigate your competitor’s website?
  • Are there too many distractions on any of their webpages?
  • Are you having a tough time reading the copy because of a bad font choice?
  • Is the process of completing a purchase easy?

Additionally, analyze their post-purchase service to see how well they respond to customer complaints. These questions can help you understand more about your competition. Analyze their services to determine what they’re doing well, what you can improve on, and what mistakes you should avoid.

In the case of a brick-and-mortar shop, try visiting the establishment to experience its service. Make a note of the store’s ambiance, how friendly the staff is, how well they present their products, and so on.

You can also ask the opinions of friends and family or your customers who have visited the place.

#3: Analyze Competitor Performance and Strategy

This is one of the most important steps in competitor research. When you think of analyzing their performance and strategy, several aspects may come to mind. Not sure what exactly to prioritize, or where to start?

Analyze the following to conduct your competitor research more efficiently:

Traffic and Ranking

One of the key factors to consider when analyzing the performance of your competitors is their ranking. Find out how they rank for specific keywords, and compare their performance against your own.

For competitor performance analysis, you can use SEMrush, which you can access for free. You also have the option to upgrade to one of their paid plans, which allow for more results and reports per day.

In the screenshot below, the tool gives you a report on the website’s paid and organic search traffic. Using this tool, you can compare the amount of branded traffic and non-branded traffic and get some insight into the PPC campaigns of your competitors.

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SEMrush can help you find out what your competitors are doing right so that you can use those opportunities to improve your CRO efforts.

The tool will also give you a list of keywords for which each website is ranked, along with the position and search volume for each keyword.

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SpyFu is another useful tool for conducting competitor research. The tool helps you find your competitors on typing your website URL in the search bar.

The most useful aspect of this tool is that it identifies the top organic and paid keywords used by your competitors. It also helps you to identify the keywords you share with your competitors.

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Link Profiles

Link profiles is another important aspect to help you conduct competitor research. According to Moz, link profiles are among the top search ranking factors.

A good link profile will improve your website ranking, which will improve its visibility. The more visible your website is, the better your chances are of improving traffic. Increased traffic often leads to higher conversions.

This means that you need to conduct competitor research to find out where they stand in terms of backlinks. Find out which websites are linking to them and how many backlinks they currently have. This will help you determine what backlinking goals you should set and which websites you should target through your backlinking efforts.

You can use basic tools such as Backlink Checker from Small SEO Tools to check which pages are linking to your competitors. For more detailed reports, you can use the two tools mentioned earlier, SEMrush and SpyFu.

SpyFu gives you a list of pages linking to your competitors. In addition, it shows the number of organic clicks and domain strength of the websites linking to your competitors.

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SEMrush is even more comprehensive. It gives you a report on the number of backlinks your competitor has and the number of domains linking to these backlinks.

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Also, you can use SEMrush to view the top anchor texts being used to link to your competitors.

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Landing Page Strategy

In addition to your competitors’ performance, you need to determine their ability to impress their audience. This means that you need to analyze their landing page strategy and identify their strengths and weaknesses.

Ask yourself:

  • How strong is the headline?
  • Is the value proposition clear?
  • Is the landing page design aesthetically pleasing?
  • Are there any visuals on the page?

These are just some of the questions you need to ask when analyzing the landing pages of your competitors.

Pricing Strategy

When you conduct competitor research, it’s also important to analyze their pricing strategy. Their rates maybe are more competitive and, therefore, your target customers are choosing them over you.

What can you do to present your rates in a more appealing manner to enhance your CRO efforts?

  • Are your competitors offering multiple pricing options?
  • Are there any guarantees that make their offers more trustworthy?
  • Do they compare various pricing options?
  • What are the biggest strengths and weaknesses of their pricing strategies?

Next Steps

Now you know more about how to conduct competitor research to improve your conversions rate optimization strategy. Next, you need to make a list of the top strengths and weaknesses of each competitor based on the data you have collected.

For example, one competitor’s top strengths may be an excellent landing page design and a good backlinking strategy. But the same competitor could be lagging in terms of organic search ranking and customer service as well.

From this list, you can identify opportunities to improve your CRO efforts. Your competitor research can also provide you with insights into the mistakes you should avoid and ways to improve your service so that it stands out from your competitors.

Got any questions about the tips provided here? Feel free to ask them or to share your ideas in the comments below.

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The Top 10 Most Common AdWords Mistakes (And How To Fix Them)

Top 10 Google Adwords Mistakes

AdWords can be an incredibly powerful platform for growing your business, but the truth is that most businesses are wasting thousands of dollars every month due to poor account management. If you feel like you could be generating more revenue from AdWords, chances are that you’re making some of these ten common mistakes that are inhibiting your performance. In this post I will be showing you ten common AdWords mistakes that I’ve seen literally hundreds of advertisers make. And, more importantly, I’m going to show you exactly how to fix them, so you can take next steps towards creating an…

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The Top 10 Most Common AdWords Mistakes (And How To Fix Them)

GPU Animation: Doing It Right

Most people now know that modern web browsers use the GPU to render parts of web pages, especially ones with animation. For example, a CSS animation using the transform property looks much smoother than one using the left and top properties. But if you ask, “How do I get smooth animation from the GPU?” in most cases, you’ll hear something like, “Use transform: translateZ(0) or will-change: transform.”

gpu-animation-done-right

These properties have become something like how we used zoom: 1 for Internet Explorer 6 (if you catch my drift) in terms of preparing animation for the GPU — or compositing, as browser vendors like to call it. But sometimes animation that is nice and smooth in a simple demo runs very slowly on a real website, introduces visual artifacts or even crashes the browser. Why does this happen? How do we fix it? Let’s try to understand.

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GPU Animation: Doing It Right

10 Questions to Ask Yourself When Your Conversion Rates Are Below Average

10-questions-ab-test-blog
Don’t wait until it’s too late. Check and maintain your conversion rates often, just like you would your car. Image via Shutterstock.

A major faux pas I often see with conversion rates is that businesses only seem to to address them when alarms are triggered.

Conversion rates require ongoing maintenance and should be regular focal points in your optimization and marketing efforts. Like a vehicle engine, they should be checked and maintained regularly.

When conversion rates aren’t what you had expected, it’s not uncommon for marketers and business owners to start making knee-jerk tweaks to on-page elements, hoping to lift conversions through A/B testing. While there may be some benefit to tweaking the size of buttons and adjusting landing page headlines and CTAs, there’s a great deal more to conversion optimization.

You must take a scientific approach that includes qualitative and quantitative data, rather than an à la carte strategy of piecing together what you think might be most effective.

Before making any changes to your landing pages, ask yourself these 10 critical questions:

1. Is there an audience/market fit for the product?

Analyzing the market for your product is something you do in the early stages of product development before launching. It’s part of gathering initial research on your audience and what they want or need. When you experience conversion problems, you may want to revisit this.

Use keyword tools, and platforms like Google Trends to discover the volume of interest in your particular product. If the traffic shows a steady or growing interest, then how well does the product in its current form align with the needs of the people searching for it?

Revisit your audience research and review the needs and problems of your customer. Make sure your product addresses those needs and provides a solution. Then look to how you position the product to ensure customers can see the value.

2. How accurate is your audience-targeting strategy?

There’s nothing quite as frustrating as watching hundreds of people visit your product or landing pages, only to be left with empty carts and no opt-ins.

visitors-no-conversions

It’s not easy to figure out what’s holding them back, but one of the first questions you should ask is whether you’re targeting the right people.

You may very well have a great product for the market, but if you’re presenting it to the wrong audience then you’ll never generate significant interest. This holds true for major, established brands as much as new startups.

Don’t start A/B testing without reading this ebook!

Learn how to build, test and optimize your landing pages with The Ultimate Guide to Landing Page Optimization.
By entering your email you’ll receive weekly Unbounce Blog updates and other resources to help you become a marketing genius.

3. Has trust been established?

Asking people to hand over personal and financial information on the web requires a huge leap of faith. You need to establish trust before asking them to add a product to their carts and complete the checkout process or even to give you their email address.

One study from Taylor Nelson Sofres showed that consumers might terminate as many as 70% of online purchases due to a lack of trust. People may really want what you’re selling, but if they don’t trust you, then they’ll never convert.

There are several ways to establish and grow trust, which include:

establish-trust
Testimonials, notable recognitions and brand affiliations help to build trust among prospective customers. Image via ContentMarketer.io.

4. Do customers understand the benefits and value?

For customers, everything comes down to value, which is the foundation of your unique selling positions (USP.) You can’t just convince someone to buy something through conversion tricks like big buttons and snappy graphics. If they don’t understand the product’s value or how it might benefit them, then they have no reason to buy.

You have to communicate the value of your products accurately and succinctly, breaking down what you’re selling to the most basic level so your customer sees the benefits, rather than just the features.

Here’s a great example that I took from Unbounce:

unbounce-lp-benefits

This landing page put a big the value proposition right up front, mixing in high-impact benefit statements that help seat the value with the audience.

5. What is the purchase experience really like?

It’s important to understand the journey your customer has to follow in order to reach the point where they’re willing to convert. While your landing pages or ecommerce site might look clean, the next step toward a conversion could make the whole thing come crashing down.

Providing top-notch user experiences across all devices is imperative, which includes minimizing the number of clicks necessary to complete the transaction.

Complicated site navigation and checkout processes are among the top causes of cart abandonment. Test your conversion paths internally, and consider trying out a service like UserTesting.com to get unbiased consumer feedback on your UX.

6. Where are the leaks in the funnel?

Figuring out where people exit your site can be a good indicator of why people leave —– at the very least, it can help you narrow down where to start your investigation. Working backwards from the exit point can uncover friction points you didn’t even know existed.

Open your analytics and monitor the visitor flow. Pay close attention to where traffic enters, the number of steps users have to take while navigating from page to page, and trace the point where they typically exit.

Chart your own journey through your website while examining the on-page elements and user experience. Be sure to compare visitor behavior with your funnel visualization to determine when a leak is actually a leak.

7. What are the biggest friction points?

Friction in your sales funnel can be defined as anything that gets in the way of a conversion, either by slowing it down or stopping it completely. Some friction points might include:

  • Slow load times
  • Too many form fields
  • Too many clicks to complete an action
  • Hidden or missing information (like withholding shipping or contact information)
  • Poorly written copy and readability issues
  • Stop words
  • Garish design

(For additional insights into possible friction points in your own funnel, this article from Jeremy Smith, posted on Kissmetrics is a wealth of knowledge.)

You can reduce friction on your own site by taking small steps and testing them to see how they alter your conversion rates. Ask as few questions as possible, avoid overwhelming the customer with too many options, aim for clean and pleasing designs and hire a pro copywriter to make a stronger connection through words.

One of the simplest examples of improvement through the removal of friction comes from Expedia.

expedia-split-test
One seemingly insignificant change can have a dramatic impact on conversion. Image source.

By removing the “company name” field — just a single field on the submission form — Expedia made it easier for people to complete the form. That reduction in friction led to a $12 million increase in profit.

Given the size of Expedia and the volume of traffic they see, you could expect to see a lift like this through A/B testing. Changes don’t always being about such dramatic results, but you’ll never know the potential unless you start testing to remove those friction points in your funnel.

8. How do my customers feel about the process?

When you have concerns about your conversion rates, often the best place to turn for insights are the consumers.

Use feedback tools like a consumer survey to reach out to current customers, as well as those who abandoned their carts midway through the shopping experience. Ask them to provide information on why they made a purchase, why they chose not to, difficulties they experienced while on your site, feedback on design, etc.

This approach not only provides quality insight into what could be the likely cause of poor conversions, but also shows customers (and potential customers) that you’re making an effort to improve your site based on their feedback.

9. What does the data say?

Whenever possible, you want to make changes based on the data you’ve accumulated. Don’t focus solely on the conversion metrics of your website; analyze the data from your social ads and insights, visitor flow, bounce rates, time spent on page and more. Let the data drive your actions; otherwise you’re just firing wildly into the dark and hoping to hit your target.

Whether we’re talking about the ROI for content marketing or boosting ecommerce sales, data always matters. When you make changes, measure the new data and monitor those changes against the original. It’s the only way to know if you’re headed in the right direction.

10. How are my competitors selling this?

While I always warn people not to follow their competitors, you should still be aware of what they’re doing to leverage competitive insights garnered from their market research.

If your conversions are plummeting for specific products or services, look to the competition. How are they positioning their products? What are they doing differently to hook and engage the target audience? Draw comparisons and see how they align with the insights you’ve gleaned from your data to determine which elements you should test and improve upon.

Over to you for the questions

Now it’s time to look at your funnel and start asking the tough questions:

  • Do you need to re-verify product/market fit?
  • How accurate is your audience targeting?
  • Does your audience trust you?
  • Do your customers understand the benefits and value?
  • What’s the purchase experience like for the customer?
  • Where are the leaks in the funnel?
  • Are there major friction points killing conversions?
  • What feedback can customers offer about the process?
  • What does your data say about the conversion process?
  • What are your competitors doing right?

Remember to pay close attention to the numbers and make your changes based on data — not assumptions.

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10 Questions to Ask Yourself When Your Conversion Rates Are Below Average

A 4-Fold Approach to Increasing Conversion Rate on your Website

The problem with a traffic graph that’s going upward is that it’s not determinant of the number of customers. You can keep investing in traffic acquisition strategies until the cows come home, but that won’t yield any tangible results if you don’t optimize your website for conversions.

But how do you go about adopting conversion optimization and increasing conversion on your website?

A formalized conversion optimization program works like this:

  1. Researching into the existing data and finding gaps in the conversion funnel
  2. Planning and developing testable hypotheses
  3. Creating test variations and executing those tests
  4. Analyzing the tests and using the analysis in subsequent tests

In this post, we are going to run you through the ways to increase conversion rate through this scientific process:

Fold 1 – Digging Deep into Research

Research is needed to figure out your current situation and which among the existing processes need to be changed, or completely removed. Here are some steps that you can start with.

  • Finding the Current Conversion Funnel and Leaks
  • Performing Qualitative and Quantitative Data Analysis
  • Setting Goals that Prioritize ROI

Find the Current Conversion Funnel and Leaks

First and foremost, it is imperative to take stock of your current performance and workflows. You can apply an as-is analysis to gather insights on the current conversion rates, user’s journey, and the leaks in the conversion funnel.

Begin with the mapping of your company’s conversion funnel. You can visualize specific sequences in which users are becoming paying customers. This process will help you create a blueprint of how “strangers” can be turned into “promoters.”

Build Customer Journey to Increase Conversion Rate
Source

Peep Laja, conversion optimization expert and founder at ConversionXL has put together a step-by-step guide to creating user flows that are truly consumer-oriented.

In addition to identifying user flows, it is also important to study whether these are working. Are you experiencing churn in an area where you don’t expect to see it? Are you noticing less churn than you originally expected? Is your conversion funnel measuring the full customer journey or is it potentially missing a step?

Eric Fettman, developer of GoogleAnalyticsTest.com, a free resource for Google Analytics training and GA Individual Qualification preparation, makes some interesting observations on conversion funnels and customer journey:

  • Funnels help you visualize the process by providing a step-by-step breakup of the conversion data and churn.
  • User flow analysis helps your company understand points of customer confusion, and refine web copy and product positioning that affect your customer behavior. This analysis also highlights any “bugs” in the sequence that you may not have previously caught.

Perform Qualitative and Quantitative Data Analysis

After finding the workflow and gaps, the next step is to dive deeper into their causes. You can do this by researching on the What, How, and Why or what is often called the Simon Sinek’s golden circle:

Research to Increase Conversion Rate
Source
  • WHAT are users doing on your website
    This includes quantitative analysis of the amount of traffic landing, dropping off or converting from different pages of your website. You can use tools like Google Analytics (GA) for this purpose.
  • HOW are they behaving
    Now that you know a certain number of people are landing on your website, it’d next be useful to know what they are doing there. For instance, if they’re clicking a link or CTA, scrolling down, filling a form, or the like. Various visitor behavior analysis tools like heatmaps, visitor recordings, and form analysis can help achieve this.
  • WHY are they behaving that way
    You can also find out why your users are performing the way they are by qualitative on-page surveys and heuristic analysis.

Set Goals that Prioritize ROI

After peeking into the gaps with your conversion strategy, you should set clear goals for optimization.

It is important to arrive at a quantified expected conversion rate because that gives your testing efforts a direction. Otherwise, you might end up improving the conversion rate on a page by 1% and sit cozy without realizing its actual potential.

You can use benchmarking studies to decide the improvement you can expect through the proposed change. MarketingSherpa defines the following benchmarks for conversion rate optimization:

Conversion Rate Benchmarking

You should find the main goals of your business, based on the current strategy. What are you focused on now? Is it the total users acquired, is it the number of photos uploaded, or is it the revenue generated?

Whatever it is, you want to focus on something that’s neither too soft (“increase brand recognition”) nor too tactical (“increase page views per session”).

Fold 2 – Planning your A/B Tests

Based on this research, you should next plan your A/B tests to increase your conversion rate.

By now, you should have received enough insights to make an educated guess about what changes to your pages or funnel can bring about a desired change.

Construct a Strong Hypothesis

A structured hypothesis paves the direction for your optimization efforts. Even if the hypothesis fails, you can retrace your steps and correct it wherever it went wrong. Without this structured process, optimization efforts may go astray and lose their purpose.

At its core, a hypothesis is a statement that consists of three parts:

You believe that if we [make a change], we expect [a desirable result] because of [corresponding research].

Here’s an example of a good hypothesis.

I believe moving trust signals closer to the billing form will result in 5% more checkouts because the 56% bounce rate from that page could be due to lack of confidence.

For more information, read this post on building strong testing hypotheses.

Prioritize Your Hypotheses

After you have a list of testing hypotheses, the next step is to zero in on the hypothesis to test first. Here is a list of prioritization frameworks such as:

For detailed knowledge, you can read the post on prioritizing A/B testing hypotheses.

Fold 3 – Executing A/B Tests to Increase Conversion Rate

After the planning, it’s time for application. The plan that you’ve charted to optimize your business process needs to be deployed.

Which Type of Test to Run

A/B, Split, and Multivariate are not different alternatives to do a task. These are methods to do different tasks, so choosing any of these should depend entirely on the task at hand.

Split testing (or split URL testing) is used when:

  • Design needs major changes to the original page such that creating a separate page (housed on a different URL) is easier.
  • Back-end changes are necessary.
  • Pages to be tested already exist on different URLs.

Multivariate testing is used when multiple changes are proposed for a single page and you want to test each combination of these changes.

You should opt for an A/B test when the variations are few and not distinct.

How Long Should You Run the Test

You also need to decide the test duration before you start running the test.

The test duration is dependent on the number of visitors your website receives and the expected conversion rate you are looking for. You can use this free test duration calculator to find the duration you should run your tests for.

After you’re clear on these, you can begin creating variations and start running your tests.

Fold 4 – Analyzing Test Results

To conclude, you should also be able to check and analyze test results. This will arm you with information that you can not only apply to the current pages but also use as future learning.

No matter what the result—positive, negative, or inconclusive—it is imperative to delve deeper and gather insights.

When you are analyzing A/B test results, check if you are looking for the correct metric. If multiple metrics (secondary metrics along with the primary) are involved, you need to analyze all of them individually.

You should also create different segments from your A/B tests and analyze them separately to get a clear picture. The results you derive from generic, non-segmented testing will may lead to skewed actions.

Look at how experts derive insights from A/B Test results in this post.

Your Thoughts

How do you increase conversion rate on your website? Write to us in the comments below.

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A 4-Fold Approach to Increasing Conversion Rate on your Website

Web Development Reading List #155: On JSPerf, Client Hints, And Keeping The Balance

As people working in front of a screen all day, we often struggle to find the right balance. I’m not talking about work-life balance alone here, but of how our life that is completely virtual during the day often causes us to not take real life into account.

Wreckage

We tend to forget that our bodies need something else than coding all day. And we need to take care of our fellow human beings in real life as well. Just think about this number: The average US person will spend over 9 hours in front of a screen today. Time to become more aware of how we can keep the balance between the virtual and the real world.

The post Web Development Reading List #155: On JSPerf, Client Hints, And Keeping The Balance appeared first on Smashing Magazine.

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Web Development Reading List #155: On JSPerf, Client Hints, And Keeping The Balance

How RuneScape Leveled Up Revenue Through Process-Driven CRO

The following is a case study about how RuneScape followed a structured conversion optimization (CRO) program to increase revenue on its website.

About RuneScape

RuneScape is a fantasy massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG). It was developed by Jagex and launched in January 2001.

The popularity of the game is enormous. RuneScape has welcomed over 250 million players to its world since its release. More than 2 million users play every month, and millions more watch avidly through social channels.

RuneScape has consistently strived to deliver a great experience to its users—not just limited to the game but also on its website. After all, it’s the website where users find forums and game guides, and buy in-game items.

The CRO Team

Rob Marfleet, UX Specialist at Jagex, takes care of User Experience and CRO across the payment flow on the website (the payment gateway and its preceding pages). Dave Parrott, Payments Services Director at Jagex, and Nastassja Gilmartin, Payments Manager at Jagex, help Rob in identifying testing opportunities and analyzing test results.

Rob Marfleet, UX Specialist at Jagex, takes care of User Experience and CRO across the payment flow on the website.

Rob works with teams of designers and developers that help facilitate implementation of winning test variants on the RuneScape website.

Additionally, Rob takes help from Disha Ahuja, Client Success Manager at VWO, to utilize the VWO platform to its full potential.

About the Case

About 50% of users on the RuneScape website arrive as direct traffic. The other half of the traffic consists of users from referrals, social media, and email marketing campaigns.

Rob adds, “This is mainly down to RuneScape enjoying a very loyal user base, with many players having played for several years.”

The CRO team aims to optimize high-potential pages, that is, pages that are closest to the payment gateway and require minimum effort in optimization. The Treasure Hunter page on the website is one such high-potential page that the team chose to optimize.

The Treasure Hunter page lets users buy keys to unlock treasure chests in the game. The treasure chests contain items that can be used within RuneScape.

Rob explains, “Treasure Hunter activity is an optional mini-game within RuneScapekeys are earned through play, but can also be gathered in bundles that are purchasable on the site.

This is how the original page looked like:

RuneScape Treasure Hunter control page for A/B TestOn clicking Continue on the Treasure Hunter page, users are directed to a Payment page where they can choose from multiple treasure chest packages.

RuneScape payment page
Payment page

The RuneScape CRO team thoroughly analyzed the Treasure Hunter page and identified optimization opportunities. Next, the team used VWO to capitalize on these opportunities.

Optimization Process

The CRO team followed the following process to improve conversions on the RuneScape website:

  • Setting a Goal
  • Finding Opportunities for Optimization
  • Creating Hypothesis
  • Developing Variation
  • Analyzing Test Results

Setting a Goal

The goal of the optimization campaign was to grow revenue by increasing the number of purchases.

Finding Opportunities for Optimization

The team at RuneScape studied a heatmap of the Treasure Hunter page. The heatmap showed that a significant number of users were clicking the Get Keys section on the page—a section which was not clickable. Users perhaps either wanted a direct access to the keys or wanted to search for further information.

Heatmap of RUneScape original page before A/B test
Heatmap of the original page

Next, the team watched visitor recording sessions on the page and observed that a lot of visitors on the Payment page returned to the Treasure Hunter page. The team realized that the Treasure Hunter page probably did not offer sufficient information about the treasure chest packages to users.

Creating Hypothesis

The team hypothesized that providing details about treasure chest packages on the Treasure Hunter page will lead to greater conversions on the Payment page.

Developing Variation

Based on the hypothesis, the team created a variation of the Treasure Hunter page. The variation included a new section highlighting four treasure chest packages. Here’s how it looked:

RuneScape Treasure Hunter variation page

An A/B test was run to find the better performing version between the original page and the variation.

Analyzing Test Results

The test ran for a month from August 15–September 13, 2016. The variation outperformed the control and increased the number of purchases by almost 10 percent.

RuneScape A/B Test analysis - Report
Test result report on VWO

Rob shares his learning from the A/B test:

I think one of the more important aspects to take note of here is that the page variation actually resulted in less traffic to the payment page, but increased the amount of purchases made. Effectively, we can say pretty confidently that by giving the users package information upfront, we created higher quality traffic to the next stage, simply through transparency, and informed the user before going forwardusers who went to the purchase page already knew what they were after.

This is incredibly useful when considering other areas of the payment flowif the effect can be replicated, it can potentially translate to more wins.

Next Steps

The CRO team did not stop after it found success with the A/B test. The team felt that the variation can be optimized even further.

The team realized that the offer of four treasure chest packages can possibly leave the users spoiled for choice. The team hypothesized that recommending one of the packages to users will help them choose better and, consequently, increase conversions.

Based on this hypothesis, the following variation was created:

RuneScape follow-up A/B Test variation

The variation featured a Recommended package. This variation was pitted against the winning page from the first A/B test.

The variation won and further increased the number of purchases by almost 6%.

Experience Using VWO

Rob shares, “As a hands-on user of VWO, I’ve personally experienced how quickly it allows prototyping and testing of new ideas, features and content. The ability to push changes, without having to involve multiple teams to relaunch areas of the site can’t be praised highly enough, and the ability to reverse those same changes instantaneously is equally as useful. It’s allowed me to run a number of campaigns straight away that would normally have to be scheduled further down the line, at a more opportune moment, and that’s pretty invaluable.

Using the actual software is very straightforward and easy to understand—campaigns can be built in a short period of time, and having Disha available any time to help determine the best testing practices has definitely helped me find wins—she’s super friendly and eager to help, and I’ve already implemented several testing campaigns that have been borne out of collaboration between her and myself, one of which, is in the process of being fully implemented on the site.”

What Do You Think?

Do you have any recommendations on how RuneScape can further improve user experience and conversions on its website? Did you get any conversion optimization ideas for your own online enterprise? Tell us using the comments section below.

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The post How RuneScape Leveled Up Revenue Through Process-Driven CRO appeared first on VWO Blog.

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How RuneScape Leveled Up Revenue Through Process-Driven CRO