tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/optimisation-inc-testing-cro Latest Optimisation (inc testing, CRO) content from Econsultancy 2016-10-11T14:57:00+01:00 tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68394 2016-10-11T14:57:00+01:00 2016-10-11T14:57:00+01:00 CRO: Four key factors for increasing conversion rates Nikki Gilliland <p>Here are four key factors that contribute to improved conversion rates:</p> <h3>Increased budgets </h3> <p>Our research found that over half of companies plan to increase their CRO budgets over the course of the next year.</p> <p>This increased investment means that many will be in the position to experiment more with techniques and strive to deliver better results.</p> <p>With 73% of those who have already increased their CRO budget seeing improved conversion rates, there appears to be a clear correlation between investment and result.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0236/figure56.png" alt="" width="780" height="563"></p> <h3>A structured approach</h3> <p>Without a strategy in place and clear goals in mind, conversion rate optimization can prove overwhelming.</p> <p>As a result, it is important for companies to undertake a structured approach to collecting data and understanding customer pain points – i.e. where and why they might abandon the site. </p> <p>By breaking down these different areas, the best optimization ideas and opportunities can arise.</p> <p>In terms of results, 35% of companies now say they take a structured approach to improving conversion rates, with 52% seeing a significant increase in sales from adopting this type of framework. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0237/figure66.png" alt="" width="780" height="576"></p> <h3>Regular testing</h3> <p>Alongside 60% and 53% of responding companies deeming A/B and multivariate testing the most valuable, there has also been an increase in the frequency of testing undertaken.</p> <p>Currently, 11% of companies are likely to say they run testing at least three times a month.</p> <p>Despite this, there is room for improvement in the type of tests run, with the most complex and sophisticated programmes seeing the best results. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0234/figure28.png" alt="" width="780" height="580"></p> <h3>Greater personalization</h3> <p>Despite personalization being the most difficult method for improving conversion rates (a factor which might be behind the slight decline in those using it) – it is still one of the most valuable.</p> <p>More than half (56%) of companies consider personalization of a website ‘highly valuable’.</p> <p>A key tactic is using customer engagement data to devise personalised experiences, so it is encouraging to see that companies are 23% more likely to implement this into their strategies than they were last year.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0235/figure46.png" alt="" width="780" height="579"></p> <p>For more on this topic, you can download the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/conversion-rate-optimization-report-2016/" target="_blank">full report here.</a>  </p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68331 2016-10-11T14:13:00+01:00 2016-10-11T14:13:00+01:00 An in-depth analysis of how Expedia converts visitors into customers: Part two Duraid Shaihob <p>Let's begin...</p> <h3>Scenario #3: Organic social media traffic</h3> <h4>The Situation</h4> <p>Our Texas man now decides to skip Google search altogether. Instead, he casually browses Twitter for news and a bit of travel inspiration.</p> <p>That’s when he stumbles upon this tweet from Expedia:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0138/expedia_chat.png" alt="" width="700" height="655"></p> <p>And lands on this page:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0139/expedia_landing_page.png" alt="" width="700" height="340"> </p> <p>How does Expedia turns this visitor into a customer? </p> <p>Let’s find out.</p> <h3>The landing page</h3> <p>On Expedia’s Twitter profile, the homepage advertised isn’t Expedia.com; it’s viewfinder.expedia.com - Expedia’s travel blog.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0140/expedia_blog.png" alt="" width="750" height="373"> </p> <p>There are no direct prompts, pop-ups or links to turn traffic from the blog into customers. Instead, the blog is focused more on building the Expedia brand.</p> <p>Landing on the blog, you see that there’s a separate tab for “Destinations”. One of the destinations listed here is New York City:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0141/expedia_viewfinder.png" alt="" width="559" height="528"> </p> <p>Clicking on this link in the dropdown menu, you see a list of blog posts for different things to do in NYC:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0142/expedia_nyc.png" alt="" width="750" height="335"></p> <p>Note that there still isn’t a call-to-action here - the goal of this blog is to educate and entertain users, not to push them products.</p> <p>Once you click on a blog post, however, you see two things:</p> <p><strong>1.</strong> A hotel deal highlighted in the sidebar (although for some reason, this post shows a deal for Salt Lake City, not New York City).</p> <p><strong>2.</strong> A link to ‘New York City’ within the first paragraph of the post.</p> <h3> <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0143/expedia_nyc_2.png" alt="" width="750" height="412"> </h3> <h3>Selecting a flight</h3> <p>If you click on the ‘New York City’ link in the blog post, you’ll land on the flight booking page:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0144/expedia_new_york_vacations.png" alt="" width="750" height="352"> </p> <p>Two things to note here:</p> <ul> <li>The default landing page is “Bundle Deals”, not flights or hotels.</li> <li>The landing page title is “New York Vacations”. </li> </ul> <p>Expedia assumes that since the user is coming in from the blog, he is looking for vacation packages and not just a separate hotel/flight deal.</p> <p>The landing page is heavily customized to focus on New York City. There’s a short description and custom video about the Big Apple:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0145/expedia_new_york_packages.png" alt="" width="750" height="373"></p> <p>A travel guide:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0146/expedia_nyc_travel_guide.png" alt="" width="750" height="300"> </p> <p>And a list of top rated hotels and flight deals:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0148/expedia_top_deals.png" alt="" width="750" height="426"> </p> <p>The landing page ends with a CTA for booking flights/hotels/rental cars:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0149/expedia_cta.png" alt="" width="750" height="78"> </p> <h3>Searching for a flight/hotel</h3> <p>Since the landing page is for “New York Vacations” and not just flight tickets, using the search takes us to a different landing page for selecting a hotel and a flight:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0150/expedia_page_1.png" alt="" width="750" height="431"></p> <p>This is pretty much a masterclass in conversion optimized design:</p> <p><strong>1. Upsell:</strong> Expedia subtly reminds you that you can have a more comfortable trip by upgrading your flight class.</p> <p>Since Expedia knows that you are searching for vacation packages, comfort and not cost is likely your top concern.</p> <p><strong>2. Countdown Timer:</strong> The “Deal of the Day” with the countdown timer is a great way to <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64333-what-is-scarcity-marketing-and-should-you-use-it/">show scarcity</a> and compel action.</p> <p><strong>3. Social Proof:</strong> By showing the number of people viewing a listing right now, and the total number of reviews, Expedia gives you <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65722-18-highly-effective-examples-of-social-proof-in-ecommerce/">social proof</a> of the hotel’s quality.</p> <p><strong>4. Scarcity:</strong> “Only 2 tickets left” is a good example of how Expedia uses scarcity (real or artificial) to compel action.</p> <p>After you select a hotel, you’ll be asked to pick a room on a new page:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0151/expedia_sofitel_page.png" alt="" width="750" height="365"> </p> <p>Note the number of ratings/reviews on this page. Expedia has collected reviews from Tripadvisor, its own platform, as well as a “% Recommended” rating.</p> <p>All of this is compelling social proof for choosing a hotel. After all, research shows that travelers <a href="http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/hotel_guests_read_6_12_reviews_before_booking_says_tripadvisor_survey">read up to 12 reviews before selecting a hotel</a>.</p> <p>If you want further proof of the hotel’s quality, you can scroll down further and see “Verified Reviews” from Expedia’s own customers:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0152/expedia_reviews.png" alt="" width="750" height="375"></p> <p>After you’ve selected a hotel, you’ll be asked to select a flight for your vacation package.</p> <p>This page is decidedly different from the flight selection pages we saw earlier. However, these changes are largely cosmetic; the user experience remains largely the same.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0153/expedia_sofitel_upsell.png" alt="" width="750" height="465"> </p> <p>There’s not much to note here except for the “Best Price Guarantee” banner and textbox, as well as the “Only 3 Tickets Left” scarcity alert.</p> <h3>Booking the flight/hotel</h3> <p>Once you’ve selected the departing and returning flight, you’ll have to confirm the booking.</p> <p>This page is again different from the flight confirmation pages we saw earlier:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0154/expedia_sofitel_3.png" alt="" width="750" height="408"></p> <p>There’s the usual “Best Price Guarantee” banner and the scarcity push at the top of the page, but we’ve covered that already.</p> <p>There’s also a visual indicator of your savings - something most retailers now do as standard.</p> <p>However, there are a lot of upsells here as well. Scroll further down the page and you’ll see upsells for car rentals:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0155/expedia_sofitel_4.png" alt="" width="750" height="312"></p> <p>Followed by upsells for different local activities:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0156/expedia_sofitel_5.png" alt="" width="750" height="618"></p> <p>And just before you click the ‘Continue Booking’ button, you’ll see a prompt to purchase travel insurance as well - something Expedia seems to push heavily for most customers.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0157/expedia_sofitel_6.png" alt="" width="750" height="143"></p> <h3>Paying for the flight</h3> <p>After entering the passenger information, you’ll be taken to the payment page.</p> <p>This is similar to the payment page we saw earlier, except now the travel insurance upsell is pitched even more strongly:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0158/expedia_flight_booking.png" alt="" width="750" height="408"></p> <p>Besides the conversion-focused design and copy choices we covered earlier, there are a few more things that stand out here:</p> <ul> <li>The “Don’t Miss Out!” FOMO warning is highlighted in an even bolder text.</li> <li>The more expensive insurance - $53/person - gets prime screen real estate, as well as more compelling copy and visually arresting design (bold text, yellow checkboxes, and green background).</li> <li>Notice the “Most Popular” tag right next to the more expensive insurance package.</li> </ul> <p>The rest of the payment page is still the same with a simplified payment process and a prompt to create an Expedia+ account.</p> <h4>On to paid channels...</h4> <p>That covers the customer journey for users coming in from one social channel - Twitter.</p> <p>This leaves all users acquired through paid advertising. So below, we’ll see how Expedia captures and converts PPC traffic. </p> <h3>Scenario #4: Paid search traffic (AdWords)</h3> <h4>The Situation</h4> <p>We’re back to our Texas guy, except that he’s now abandoned social media as well. Instead, he goes back to look up flights to NYC on Google.</p> <p>Because he just wants to book flight tickets, he starts off by searching for “flight tickets”.</p> <p>One of the first (paid) results he sees is Expedia:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0159/expedia_paid_search.png" alt="" width="750" height="445"></p> <p>Let’s see how Expedia converts this visitor into a customer.</p> <h3>The landing page</h3> <p>After clicking on the ad shown above, this is the page you’ll see:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0161/expedia_paid_search_landing_page.png" alt="" width="750" height="285"></p> <p>This is exactly the same as the search feature on the Expedia homepage which I’ve already covered before.</p> <h3>Using search</h3> <p>After entering your flight route, and hitting ‘Search’, you’ll see the same flight selection page as you saw earlier.</p> <p>Interestingly, if you’ve stopped by this page before, you might see an alert notifying you of any price changes, like this:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0160/expedia_paid_search_3.png" alt="" width="750" height="293"></p> <h3>Booking the flight</h3> <p>Once you select a flight, you’ll see a flight summary on the next page:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0162/expedia_paid_search_4.png" alt="" width="750" height="392"></p> <p>This is just like the page earlier (note the “41 people…” social proof pop-up). </p> <p>The rest of the booking process is just the same, so I won’t dive deeper into it.</p> <p>What this breakdown shows is that Expedia uses the same process to convert a user from paid search as it does for an organically acquired user.</p> <p>There is, however, another popular paid channel for getting customers: Facebook.</p> <p>In the final scenario, let’s look at how Expedia captures and converts users through remarketing on Facebook.</p> <h3>Scenario #5: Facebook ads traffic </h3> <h4>The situation</h4> <p>The allure of Facebook’s distraction-machine is ever constant, even for our Texas guy booking a flight to New York.</p> <p>Instead of finalizing his purchase, he decides to look at what his friends are doing on Facebook.</p> <p>After scrolling through his feed, he sees a familiar logo as a “sponsored post”:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0163/expedia_facebook_ad.png" alt="" width="750" height="772"></p> <p>This ad is a result of Expedia’s remarketing efforts. Expedia tracks every user on its site and knows when someone skips out on a purchase.</p> <p>Thanks to retargeting, it can reach these people again as they browse the web, particularly on Facebook.</p> <p>How does Expedia convert this user into a customer? Let’s take a look.</p> <h3>The landing page</h3> <p>Let’s take a look at Expedia’s Facebook ad again:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0163/expedia_facebook_ad.png" alt="" width="750" height="772"></p> <p>Expedia knows that the last hotel you looked at was Hotel Sofitel in NYC when you were searching for vacation packages.</p> <p>So this is the first hotel it shows you in the Facebook ad.</p> <p>Clicking this hotel’s link takes you straight to the hotel booking page. Here you’ll have to enter the date of your journey to see room prices:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0165/expedia_facebook_ad_3.png" alt="" width="750" height="441"></p> <p>Take note of the alerts at the bottom of the page. These act as social proof, showing the customer that there are actual people viewing and booking this hotel.</p> <h3>Booking the hotel</h3> <p>Once you’ve selected the dates, you’ll be taken to the room selection page.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0166/expedia_facebook_ad_4.png" alt="" width="750" height="356"></p> <p>Interestingly, instead of highlighting the more expensive option for $520 (which even has a ‘sale’ tag on it), Expedia pushes the $468 option.</p> <p>Also note the “It only takes 2 minutes” label right below the booking button - Expedia wants to assure you that booking the hotel wouldn’t eat into half your day.</p> <p>Once you hit the ‘Book’ button, Expedia will ask whether you want to pay online or at the hotel itself.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0167/expedia_facebook_ad_5.png" alt="" width="750" height="373"> </p> <p>Choosing the online payment option takes you to the payment page:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0168/expedia_facebook_ad_6.png" alt="" width="750" height="638"></p> <p>You’ve seen this page before, but I still want to highlight a few things:</p> <p><strong>1.</strong> Scarcity trigger at the top of the page compels action. Expedia asks you to “act fast” else the price of the hotel might change.</p> <p><strong>2.</strong> Sign-in bribe in the form of Expedia+ gives users a reason to sign-up for an Expedia account.</p> <p><strong>3.</strong> Social proof reassures customers that others have booked this hotel recently.</p> <p><strong>4.</strong> Security assurance right before customers enter their payment information helps negate customer fears.</p> <h3>The end... </h3> <p>So that’s it for Expedia’s Facebook ads conversion strategy - at least one of them.</p> <p>Understand that a company like Expedia would likely have hundreds, if not thousands of <a href="https://www.marketizator.com/blog/e-commerce-funnel.html">conversion funnels</a>. You’ll likely see different variations of the pages above if you were to go through this exercise yourself.</p> <p>What you should take away from this teardown is how Expedia uses conversion focused design, copywriting and psychology tactics such as scarcity and social proof to convert visitors into customers.</p> <p>These principles hold true across verticals. It doesn’t matter whether you’re running a three-person startup selling shoes or a billion dollar ecommerce store, you can use the same CRO principles to increase conversion rates.</p> <p><em>For more on this topic, see:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/conversion-rate-optimization-report/"><em>Conversion Rate Optimization Report 2016</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64210-what-is-conversion-rate-optimisation-cro-and-why-do-you-need-it/"><em>What is conversion rate optimisation (CRO) and why do you need it?</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/topics/conversion-rate-optimization/"><em>Conversion Rate Optimization Training</em></a></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68102 2016-07-27T14:02:00+01:00 2016-07-27T14:02:00+01:00 Why there should be more plaudits for digital audits Chris Bishop <p>Those at the top of organisations don’t feel they have the strategic sweep to justify the time and effort required to commission them.</p> <p>Audits are viewed at times as a little “too tactical” or only done once every blue moon by agencies aiming to impress for your business, only to then collect dust on top of Econsultancy buyers guides print outs or even your old New Media Age magazines (<strong>Ed</strong>: We let this lie, but only to show we have a sense of humour).</p> <p>For the in-house Head of Ecommerce, requesting a digital audit might sound dangerously like a turkey voting for Christmas. </p> <h3>Are we selling audits wrongly?</h3> <p>Or is it the slightly cheesy marketing of website or marketing auditors themselves that is putting people off?</p> <p>All that tired ‘digital health check’ stuff might be the kind of foot in the door tactic that make brands feel suspicious of then giving access to their precious AdWords account, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67171-what-is-affiliate-marketing-why-do-you-need-it/">affiliate network</a> or analytics suite.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/7503/healthcheck.jpeg" alt="health check" width="275" height="183"></p> <h3>How important are digital audits anyway?</h3> <p>In reality, though, digital audits are absolutely vital. And third party objective auditing ensures that you’re not marking your own home work or ignoring long term problems.</p> <p>Proper auditing, UX testing and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67473-seven-conversion-rate-optimization-trends-to-take-advantage-of-in-2016/">CRO analysis</a> means you can elongate the lifetime and effectiveness of your website and digital media activity, in a way that can be done on any budget.</p> <p>Your digital real estate is often an expensive investment - you’ve got to maintain it properly to get results.</p> <h3>Regular servicing is vital</h3> <p>Think of that shiny new website you’ve just spent months developing as a new car you’ve just acquired.</p> <p>To start off with, it’s the envy of everyone who sees it. After-sales support is pretty good and you can see years of trouble free motoring ahead of you. Before you know it, though, your warranty is up and you’re on your own.</p> <p>As the car ages, small problems become big problems. It performs less effectively. You’re paying for petrol, but it’s becoming less and less economical to run. There are so many things going wrong with it you don’t know where to start. Eventually the car's value is so diminished you might as well scrap it and buy a new one.</p> <p>It’s the same with websites and digital marketing campaigns. They can’t be left to look after themselves – and even the mechanic themselves might need some fine tuning or training themselves.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0007/7504/service-blog-flyer.jpg" alt="car service" width="380"></p> <h3>What a digital audit can do for you </h3> <p>Audits can show you how to balance your budget more effectively through action and prioritisation. They can identify common issues like plateaus in activity and drop offs in acquisition; all the elements that reduce profitability. </p> <h3>The Lessons of the Audit</h3> <p>Constantly learn, constantly improve, constantly trade! A timely and constructive audit will help you:</p> <ul> <li>Keep up to date with the latest channel trends - Google changes, new publishers in affiliate, new platform or techniques for social. </li> <li>Use competitor analysis to keep your enemies close! It’s crucial to analyse and understand market share/spend and its consequences for your brand. </li> <li>Help you (re)define your goals.</li> <li>Confirm your objectives or KPIs so you can measure success.</li> <li>Understand new opportunities.</li> <li>Benchmark improvements or conversely measure areas of decline.</li> <li>Ensure corporate compliance – its best practice to have someone external “rubber stamp” your activity.</li> <li>Encourage serendipity – the uncovering of that nugget of information that transforms your understanding and makes the commercial difference.</li> </ul> <h3>Should you take the plunge?</h3> <p>Regular and skilled digital auditing is a detailed and never ending task.  It can transform the effectiveness of your digital advertising, website and budget.  </p> <p>Is it sexy? It’s showing your website a lot of love and attention. It’s optimizing and maximizing your marketing profitability and performance. Sounds pretty sexy to me.</p> <p><em>More on auditing:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68031-answering-the-key-question-of-content-auditing-where-do-i-start/">Answering the key question of content auditing - where do I start?</a></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67941 2016-06-13T10:15:00+01:00 2016-06-13T10:15:00+01:00 10 nudge-tastic examples of persuasive copywriting from charities Dan Brotzel <h3>1. Cognitive ease</h3> <p><a title="Easy does it: six ways content can reduce effort for your online users" href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66684-easy-does-it-six-ways-content-can-reduce-effort-for-your-online-users/" target="_blank">Simply reducing the perceived effort of interacting with your content</a> can be a powerful nudge to engagement in itself.</p> <p>Here Donor Tools emphasises the speed of getting up and running in its call-to-action button:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4733/smart_donor_image.png" alt="Donor Tools" width="605" height="372"></p> <p>Here the BBC's Children in Need shop does all the hard work for you by simplifying postage &amp; packaging costs:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5891/BBC_Children_in_Need.png" alt="BBC Children in Need" width="592" height="716"></p> <p>(And if the charity ended up quids in taking this one-size-fits-all approach, who’s going to begrudge Pudsy?)</p> <p>And here the RSPB makes it clear that helping to support its goal of habitat preservation needn’t be a massive slog either – in fact, you don’t even need a garden:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5974/rspb.png" alt="" width="587" height="230"></p> <h3>2. Social proof</h3> <p>We are social animals, hard-wired to follow the crowd.</p> <p>As Robert Cialdini puts it in <em>Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion</em>: ‘People see an action as more appropriate when others are doing it.’</p> <p>With its slogan ‘Join the movement’, sustainable transport charity Sustrans is all about communal action.</p> <p>Its ‘Sponsor a mile’ campaign makes good use of personal stories and emotional hooks to encourage more people to support the 14,000 miles of the National Cycle Network:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5893/National_Cycle_Network.png" alt="National Cycle Network" width="674" height="655"></p> <p>Over in the online shop of the National Museum Wales, meanwhile, there’s a handy ‘Most viewed’ category for present-buyers short of inspiration:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5975/wales_shop.png" alt="" width="700"></p> <p>In the Shelter shop, course descriptions are supported by testimonials which, even if anonymous, remain effective because of the well-chosen quotes and job titles:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5895/shelter.png" alt="Shelter" width="632" height="473"></p> <h3>3. Objection-handling</h3> <p>Online, we have more need of trust and confidence in the organisations we’re dealing with than in face-to-face interactions.</p> <p>So we’re always checking sites for signs of credibility and answers to any objections or anxieties we may have, for instance about data security or financial probity.</p> <p>The Energy Saving Trust’s email newsletter sign-up, for instance, makes a big (and reassuring) point about how easy it is to unsubscribe before you’ve even signed up: </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5977/energy_saving_trust.png" alt="" width="800" height="300"></p> <p>The National Theatre of Scotland, meanwhile, uses a nice <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67268-how-to-achieve-the-right-tone-of-voice-for-your-brand/">tone of voice</a> and a bit of transparency to explain to users why it needs all the data it’s asking for:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5978/National_theatre.png" alt="" width="947" height="638"></p> <p>Another common objection in the non-profit space is: How much of my money actually goes to the good cause?</p> <p>Here’s a couple of answers, from the RNLI and the RSPB:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5898/rnli.png" alt="RNLI" width="317" height="246"></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5979/rspb_2.png" alt="" width="784" height="572"></p> <h3>4. Scarcity, loss aversion &amp; time-limited offers</h3> <p>The fear of missing out has been known about as a powerful trigger to consumer conversion in advertising for a century or more.</p> <p>People's desire to avoid loss turns out to be much more powerful than the desire to seek gain, and we are capable of behaving quite irrationally to sate that urge.</p> <p>The YHA’s email sign-up uses a nice tone to imply that only email subscribers get to hear about the best deals and discounts:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5900/yha.png" alt="YHA" width="368" height="281"> </p> <p>And its availability calendar is a powerful incentive to make your booking while there's still time:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5901/yha_2.png" alt="YHA" width="576" height="310"></p> <p>And over at the Shelter Shop, a little message in urgent red advises you of places running out on that training course you’re considering:</p> <p><br><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5902/Shelter_2.png" alt="Shelter" width="651" height="412"></p> <h3>5. Anchoring</h3> <p>The phenomenon of anchoring rests on the fact that our perceptions are often defined by context.</p> <p>£500 sounds pretty pricey for a handbag if you’re in Primark... until you walk into Gucci, and it suddenly seems like a snip. The context sets the norm.</p> <p>A classic technique to encourage higher spend or donation is by playing with the range of options available – one very expensive option can make others look like good value.</p> <p>The classic example is the wine menu: adding a single highly-priced bottle at the end of the list has been found to increase revenue overall, as diners often order the second most expensive (and typically the most profitable) bottle, which now looks like a good buy in comparison.</p> <p>Setting a minimum suggested donation amount can similarly drive up average donations.</p> <p>In this example, the values start at £20. If I want to give less than that, I have to manually enter my measly amount in the free box.  </p> <p> <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5903/Cancer_research.png" alt="Cancer Research UK" width="604" height="263"></p> <p>In this example, from Care Link, the design makes it pretty clear which level of service is right for me:  </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5980/Care_Link.png" alt="" width="800" height="452"></p> <p>And back at the YHA, anchoring makes direct debit look like a real no-brainer:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5905/YHA_3.png" alt="YHA" width="619" height="410"></p> <h3>6. Reciprocity</h3> <p>We all like to get something in return for our efforts. Free gifts, samples, discounts, content etc are all common ways to do this.</p> <p>In the non-profit context, showing what your donation will tangibly buy is another:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5906/nfp.png" alt="nfp" width="613" height="449"> </p> <p>In exchange for your donation, the British Red Cross offers lots of useful content informed by its obvious expertise in the areas of first aid and emergency care:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5907/BRC.png" alt="British Red Cross" width="615" height="602"></p> <p>But perhaps the best exponent of the reciprocity nudge is the RNLI, which reinforces the message that your donations are helping to support its work on almost every page:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5981/RNLI_2.png" alt="" width="800" height="321"></p> <p>The focus is admirably persistent. Even eating and drinking in the RNLI College restaurant, for instance, is helping to save lives at sea:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5982/rnLI_3.png" alt="" width="800" height="458"> </p> <h3>7. Internal consistency (foot in the door)</h3> <p>Once we make a choice or take a stand, we tend to behave consistently with that commitment.</p> <p>This is what door-to-door salespeople rely on: they ask a series of subtly qualified questions, (starting with, for instance, ‘Do you agree that double-glazing would add to the value and comfort of your property?’) and once you’ve said yes to one, it becomes harder to say no to the next.</p> <p>Petitions are another example – agreeing to take part sets us up to make a bigger commitment further down the line.</p> <p>In this series of screenshots, Shelter piques our interest with a local angle (‘What does the housing crisis look like where you live?’), and leads us through a carefully reasoned argument and into an invitation to add your signature on the issue: </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5912/shelter_4.png" alt="Shelter" width="480" height="360"></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5913/shelter_5.png" alt="Shelter" width="480" height="360"></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5914/shelter_6.png" alt="Shelter" width="480" height="360"></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5915/shelter_7.png" alt="Shelter" width="480" height="360"></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5916/shelter_8.png" alt="Shelter" width="480" height="360"></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5917/shelter_9.png" alt="Shelter" width="480" height="360"></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5918/shelter_10.png" alt="Shelter" width="480" height="360"></p> <h3>8. Guilt</h3> <p>These examples speak for themselves:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5919/shelter_guilt.png" alt="Shelter" width="608" height="403"> </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5921/dogs_trust.png" alt="Dogs Trust" width="479" height="360"></p> <h3>9. Affinity</h3> <p>When we like an organisation, we’re more likely to respond to it.</p> <p>We like ones that make us laugh, that do things that align with our values, and that we feel personally connected to.</p> <p>The more familiar we are with a brand, the more we like it too.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5922/RHS.png" alt="RHS" width="384" height="214"> </p> <h3>10. Authority</h3> <p>We trust people with perceived knowledge, so making the most of your experts can be a powerful nudge.</p> <p>Well-chosen stats – which we perceive as indices of expertise – convey authority too.</p> <p>So, too, can content from relevant experts, and recommendations from trusted sources and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/the-rise-of-influencers/">influencers</a>.</p> <p>Expertise and authority are very evident on the Cancer Research UK site:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5923/Cancer_research_2.png" alt="Cancer Research UK" width="736" height="757"></p> <p>And here are some impressive numbers from the Dog’s Trust:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5924/Final.png" alt="Dogs Trust" width="622" height="113"></p> <p><em><strong>Have you worked on an award-worthy charity marketing campaign this year? </strong></em></p> <p><em><strong>If so, make sure to enter Econsultancy’s <a href="http://www.festivalofmarketing.com/awards/categories?utm_source=econsultancy&amp;utm_medium=blog&amp;utm_campaign=econ%20blog">Masters of Marketing Awards</a> before June 17.<br></strong></em></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67914 2016-06-09T13:14:00+01:00 2016-06-09T13:14:00+01:00 Could 'incrementality' be key to freeing up digital ad budgets? Rachael Morris <p>However, new developments in programmatic have made it possible to directly credit sales to specific campaigns, leading to truly incremental advertising.</p> <p>So, how does an incrementality model work, and how can advertisers make the switch?</p><p>My <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/authors/rachael-morris/" target="_blank">previous posts</a> have talked about the advantages and disadvantages of the different ways we measure campaigns.</p> <p>So, I wanted to take a step back and talk about the point of all these forms of measurement - what are we actually trying to achieve?</p><p>The quote that gets pulled out most often on this is John Wanamaker's (“Half my advertising is wasted...”) and with good reason.</p> <p>It accurately describes the point of campaign measurement.</p> <p>We’re essentially trying to work out which parts of any campaign are having the most cost effective impact on an audience, so the overall campaign efficiency can be increased. </p> <h3><strong>Improving display measurement</strong></h3> <p>When agencies and advertisers look at measurement models and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66440-three-key-trends-from-our-marketing-attribution-briefing-digital-cream-2015/">attribution models</a>, they are (or should be) trying to find the fairest and most accurate way of sharing credit for the audience response, to allow them to improve the campaign plan over time. </p> <p>I previously highlighted some of the ways we can work to make traditional methods of measurement more accurate reflections of what is actually driving efficiency, but these are all just steps on the way to a better model.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5878/funnel.jpg" alt="" width="548" height="374"></p> <p>For instance, whilst post-visible conversions do discount those conversions that came from unseen ads, they don’t take into account the 'natural' baseline of people who would have bought the product anyway.</p><p>The next question then is <strong>what can be done about this? </strong></p> <p>How do we filter out those conversions that would have happened anyway, to make sure we aren’t optimising towards the cheap and easy conversions over and above genuine influence the campaigns are having on user behaviour?</p><p>This is a hot topic, often labelled 'incrementality'.</p> <p>There are already some attribution companies offering solutions and most clients we talk to are aiming to resolve it.</p> <p>So, why does incrementality still seem to be a problem? There are a few reasons:</p> <ul> <li>Not many companies offer it as a form of measurement, making it difficult for advertisers to find someone who can calculate this for them.</li> <li>It can be challenging to explain incrementality internally, particularly in large businesses that have traditionally favoured a more click-based approach.</li> <li>The most popular methods for measuring genuine campaign uplift are very inflexible, generally assessed quarterly, and are often not granular enough to make any real difference to your campaign.</li> </ul> <h3>How to measure incrementality </h3> <p>We started doing this a couple of years ago when a client asked us to help them prove the true value of display activity; they knew click-based attribution was undervaluing it, but felt that view-based attribution was overvaluing it.</p><p>Initially, we approached the challenge in a traditional way, comparing the performance of a charity ad to the performance of the branded display ad.</p> <p>This was when we first came across two problems with this way of measuring uplift.</p> <p>Firstly, it was very expensive - the client in question spent half their budget for the month on a banner promoting another company.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5879/budget.jpg" alt="" width="501" height="333"></p><p>The second problem came when looking at the data. It was clear that the biggest influence on the advert’s effect was whether it was viewed, and in any campaign there is a certain amount of non-viewable ads.</p> <p>Essentially, the unseen branded ads saw the same performance as the charity ads, while the branded ads that were visible had a much stronger response from customers.</p> <p>That led us to a new way of analysing results from that test, but also how we measured uplift from future tests.</p><p>So the method for measuring incrementality is basically the same as an <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64417-horror-stories-how-to-avoid-an-a-b-testing-nightmare/">A:B test</a>, but easier and less expensive to carry out.</p> <p>By knowing unseen ads don’t affect user behaviour this gives us a control group who we've targeted but haven't seen the message.</p> <p>We compare the conversion rates of this group with the one that did see the ads. Any conversions over the ‘baseline’ of the control group are incremental, so must have been generated by the campaign.</p> <h3>Moving to an incremental model</h3> <p>We've been doing this for a few years, but it's yet to be widely adopted. So, as an advertiser interested in moving to measuring the incremental uplift of your campaign, what can you do?</p><p>The first step is to speak to your agency or partner to ask if they are tracking the viewability of your campaigns.</p> <p>Can they get data at a user level? If they can, they should be able to calculate incrementality for you.</p> <p>If they can’t get hold of the data required, it might be worth reviewing what you track currently and whether you can make changes to allow them to pick up the necessary data.</p><p>Changing the way display is measured and reported can be an upheaval. But, confidently attributing a portion of sales to display spend allows budget conversations to run more smoothly.</p> <p>Over the last year many of the advertisers we work with have found moving to incremental measurement crucial in getting internal buy-in for the value of advertising.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67698 2016-04-01T14:11:31+01:00 2016-04-01T14:11:31+01:00 10+ of the best digital marketing stats we've seen this week David Moth <h3>A quarter of UK households subscribe to a streaming service</h3> <p>According to new figures <a href="http://www.barb.co.uk/tv-landscape-reports/netflix-taking-over/">from BARB</a> 24% of UK households subscribed to one of the three main video-on-demand services in Q4 2015.</p> <p>These include Netflix, Amazon Video and Now TV.</p> <p>The number of households with Netflix grew by 1.4m between Q4 2014 and Q4 2015, compared to an increase of 0.5m households for Amazon Video and 0.3m households for Now TV.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3507/SVOD-Households.png" alt="" width="800"></p> <h3>Q4 ecommerce stats</h3> <p>Monetate has published its Ecommerce Quarterly Report, based on analysis of 7bn online shopping sessions from Q4 and the holiday season. </p> <p>It found that online shoppers converted on purchases at a year-long high:</p> <ul> <li>Conversion rate peaked at 3.48% (up from 3.42% YoY).</li> <li>Returning visitors converted more often (4.55%) than new visitors (2.49%).</li> </ul> <p>More on those returning visitors:</p> <ul> <li>Returning visitors add items to cart 14.80% of the time (up from 13.68% YoY).</li> <li>New visitors add items to cart 7.61% of the time (up from 7.53% YoY).</li> <li>Overall add-to-cart rate was up YoY (11.06% versus 10.43%).</li> </ul> <h3>Social inspires shopping habits</h3> <p>Research by Aimia has found that more than half (56%) of consumers who follow brands on social media sites <a href="http://www.marketingweek.com/2016/03/23/social-commerce-how-willing-are-consumers-to-buy-through-social-media/">say they do so to view products</a>.</p> <p>Dubbed ‘social shoppers’, these individuals apparently visit social networks as part of their everyday shopping behaviour and use images they see on social media sites to inspire purchases.</p> <p>Just under a third of online shoppers (31%) said they use these channels to browse for new items to buy, with Facebook being the most popular network (26%).</p> <p>The research surveyed 2,017 people aged 18 and over.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3508/aimia.jpg" alt="" width="980" height="600"></p> <h3>Data strategy stats</h3> <p>A new infographic from Experian includes a load of stats looking at how companies are approaching their data strategy.</p> <p>Click the image to see the full version.</p> <p><a href="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3512/data_strategy_infographic.png"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3513/Screen_Shot_2016-04-01_at_10.57.22.png" alt="" width="800"></a></p> <h3>Instagram video goes up to 60-seconds</h3> <p>Earlier this week Instagram announced it is increasing the maximum length of videos on its service to 60 seconds. </p> <p>Until now, videos have been capped at 15 seconds.</p> <p>Read Patricio Robles’s post for <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67684-instagram-s-new-60-second-video-limit-five-things-brands-need-to-know/">an insight into what this means for Instagram users</a>.</p> <h3>What will the world look like in 2020?</h3> <p>What’s better than one infographic? Two infographics!</p> <p>Beyond Digital have created this visual based on <a href="http://www.infomentum.com/uk/solutions/business-solutions/Business-2020/index.htm?utm_source=pr_origin&amp;utm_medium=pr&amp;utm_campaign=Business%202020">a survey of 1,000 UK office workers</a> looking at how office technology is set to evolve over the next five years.</p> <p>Click this image to see the full version, and for more advice on changing working practices check out our <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/digital-transformation/">Digital Transformation hub</a>.</p> <p><a href="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3518/beyond_digital.jpg"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3517/office_infographic.png" alt="" width="600" height="413"></a></p> <h3>Third-party content slowing down websites</h3> <p>Websites are being slowed down by third-party content such as display ads and remarketing services.</p> <p>This unsurprising finding comes from NCC Group which looked at the UK’s top 50 retail sites, then analysed the 10 fastest and 10 slowest. </p> <p>It found that on average the slowest homepages contained 7.5 times more third-party content than the fastest. </p> <p>The faster sites averaged just 83KB of third-party content, while the slowest contained 618KB. </p> <h3>We’re football crazy, we’re football mad...</h3> <p>Ahead of the European Championships in France this summer, <a href="http://advertising.ebay.co.uk/news/2016/mobile-first-brands-will-cash-football-fever-summer">eBay Advertising has published a load of data</a> about people’s online shopping habits during major football tournaments.</p> <p>During the 2014 World Cup UK shoppers made more than 3bn searches on eBay.co.uk, with the Sporting Goods category seeing a particularly big uplift.</p> <p>92,000 searches were made for “football” on ebay.co.uk in the first week of the 2014 World Cup, equating to almost ten searches per minute. </p> <p>This was almost a quarter (22%) higher than the average number of searches for the equivalent weeks in April and May. </p> <p>And to wrap up this week, here's a great song about football by George Dawes...</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ByvUIRm1BzA?wmode=transparent" width="615" height="461"></iframe></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67630 2016-03-16T12:07:00+00:00 2016-03-16T12:07:00+00:00 Forget AO.com, does Benefit Cosmetics offer the best ecommerce experience? Paul Rouke <ol> <li>Knowing and communicating your unique value proposition.</li> <li>Being truly, passionately customer centric.</li> <li>Harnessing social proof to make this central to the purchasing decision.</li> <li>Embracing <a href="http://www.slideshare.net/PRWD/iterative-versus-innovative-testing-exploiting-the-full-spectrum-of-testing-opportunities-paul-rouke-elite-camp-2015-final">the full spectrum of testing and optimisation</a>.</li> </ol> <p>Whenever a website is praised or wins an award, I always check to see what all the fuss is about.</p> <p>Using these four criteria as a starting point, you can begin to assess whether or not a website can truly deliver the goods.</p> <p>I am always curious to see who can join the illustrious list of true disrupter brands such as Uber and AirBnb, and as my previous post concluded, AO.com hs joined that list having disrupted the white goods industry.</p> <p>As such, when I read that Benefit Cosmetics (part of the multi-billion, multinational luxury goods conglomerate LVMH) was recently awarded '<a href="http://beauty20awards.com/who-won-the-beauty20-london-the-10-best-loved-beauty-brands-online/">Best Beauty Brand Online</a>’, I had to check it out for myself and see whether the brand is worthy of the title!</p> <p>So here goes. Will Benefit join the illustrious list of disruptive brands and cement itself as a trailblazer for the beauty industry? Let's find out.</p> <h3>1. Knowing and communicating your unique value proposition</h3> <h4><strong>Universal header area</strong></h4> <p>Landing on the homepage - or other primary landing pages - I’m extremely surprised to see that Benefit Cosmetics doesn’t dedicate <em>any</em> part of the primary header area to communicate anything tangible about its unique value proposition.</p> <p>Prime website real estate is just being neglected.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/2800/Homepage_top_half.PNG" alt="" width="600" height="382"></p> <p>This online crime happens all the time.</p> <p>Brand X feels like it is big enough, credible enough and well known enough to not need to communicate why visitors should stick around and buy from them and not one of their competitors.</p> <p>As crowded as the beauty market is, you would think every brand would jump at a chance to communicate their USPs.</p> <p>It doesn’t matter how big or well-known you are, <strong>you should always be providing visitors with reasons to stay. </strong></p> <h4>On primary landing and decision making pages, under the navigation</h4> <p>Just as Benefit doesn’t communicate any form of its unique value proposition in the site-wide header, it doesn’t dedicate any area under or around its primary navigation for communicating what makes the brand and products special.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/2818/bestsellers.PNG" alt="" width="601" height="339"></p> <p>As I shared in my AO.com critique, we all know about the fact that people need to see things a number of times before it typically “sinks in”.</p> <p>Never has this been more important for retailers than with your unique value and service proposition messages.</p> <p>In summary,<strong> Benefit Cosmetics is failing to communicate its value proposition clearly on key landing pages</strong><em>. </em></p> <h3>2. Being truly, passionately customer centric</h3> <h4><strong>Providing customer journeys that match different types of buyer behaviour</strong></h4> <p>The two ways to browse products on Benefit Cosmetics are to ‘shop by product’ and ‘shop by dilemma’.</p> <p>Though 'shop by dilemma' is an intriguing concept, only having two initial options to start a product search is limiting.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/2819/product_page_top_half.PNG" alt="" width="600" height="306"></p> <p>What about shop by latest releases, shop by most popular, shop by highest rated?</p> <p>Even with a small product set compared to a retailer like AO.com, visitors will still benefit from being able to browse your range by other ways than just the type or category of product.</p> <h4><strong>Replicating the offline shopping experience</strong></h4> <p>Benefit Cosmetics is doing some really positive things in this area, not least actively encouraging visitors to visit a store.</p> <p>Often multichannel retailers are almost afraid of promoting their store finder as they want their online visitors to buy online.</p> <p>Truth is, bridging this gap (and encouraging the multichannel shopper) will in turn help create new customers who have the potential to become brand advocates.</p> <p>The terminology used in the primary navigation ‘Get Serviced’ followed by the headline ‘Pamper Yourself Pretty’ are excellent examples of using emotive language and speaking directly to the visitor.</p> <p>Creative and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65365-how-seven-ecommerce-brands-use-highly-persuasive-copywriting/">persuasive copywriting</a> is certainly an area that Benefit has prioritised as part of its online user experience and it shows.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/2820/pamper_yourself.PNG" alt="" width="601" height="324"></p> <p>Store integration is intrinsic to the online experience.</p> <p>In the section ‘explore our services’, hovering over any of the services immediately presents you with a ‘Find a Store’ button – this <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67345-23-creative-examples-of-hover-states-in-ecommerce-ux/">subtle hover state</a> change ensures visitors are drawn to what they want you to do.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/2821/find_a_store.PNG" alt="" width="601" height="324"></p> <p>Benefit has another whole area dedicated to its customers with the ‘Wow your Brows’ page.</p> <p>From striking, emotive imagery and humanised language, to video content and specific advice tailored to women’s different styles of eyebrows, this is an extremely (and impressively) customer-centric page.</p> <p>I can't help but wonder why it doesn't promote this specialist area in the universal header!</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/2822/wowbrows.PNG" alt="" width="600" height="360"></p> <p>In addition, it dedicates a whole section of the homepage to helping fix ‘Beauty Dilemmas’.</p> <p>This once again showcases visually striking images that ooze brand personality (which is consistent throughout the whole site).</p> <p>In summary,<strong> when it comes to being truly, passionately customer centric, Benefit is doing a lot right.<br></strong></p> <h3>3. Harnessing social proof to make this central to the purchasing decision</h3> <h4>Customer satisfaction is one of the first things new visitors are presented with</h4> <p>First-time visitors to AO.com see a prominent customer satisfaction score on the homepage.</p> <p>When examining Benefit’s homepage, apart from a sub headline ‘What benebabes love most’ (which doesn’t provide you with any way to find out what or who are ‘benebabes’) and some very small hearts, there is a distinct lack of social proof used to demonstrate the popularity and advocacy of the Benefit customer base.</p> <p>Of course it has the standard social links in the footer, but visitors have absolutely no idea if Benefit has 500 or 500,000 Pinterest followers, or 250 or 250,000 Twitter followers, or 800 or 800,000 Facebook likes.</p> <p>I will let you guess the numbers behind the brand...</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/2823/footer.PNG" alt="" width="600" height="117"></p> <h4>Prominence of reviews</h4> <p>As mentioned, with the miniscule love hearts under product images it’s almost as if Benefit Cosmetics doesn't want visitors to think about or look at <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/9366-ecommerce-consumer-reviews-why-you-need-them-and-how-to-use-them/">the reviews</a>.</p> <p>It would be interesting to see if any research was made in this decision.</p> <p>Not only that, you have no idea whether products have seven or 700 reviews until you get to the product page.</p> <p>From my experience, I always advise retailers to clearly communicate how many reviews you have for a product prior to visitors going to that product page.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/2824/most_loved.PNG" alt="" width="600" height="371"></p> <h4>Detailed, intelligent, informative, relevant customer reviews</h4> <p>Whilst the reviews are not prominent on the homepage, once you get on the product page Benefit has an exceptional rating and review system.</p> <p>It provides both fantastic depth of reviews and also puts the visitor in control of seeing the reviews most relevant to them.</p> <p>This shows how important Benefit take its customer reviews and the review system should be applauded, but ideally it should look to get this in front of the customer earlier in the journey.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/2825/mascara_page.PNG" alt="" width="600" height="340"></p> <h3>4. Embracing the full spectrum of testing and optimisation</h3> <p>Unlike with AO.com (which is a brand I know truly embraces the full spectrum of optimisation), the very fact that Benefit doesn’t appear to have a testing tool installed says to me that this is one of the biggest opportunities for its next phase of growth.</p> <h4><strong>What do I mean by the full spectrum of testing and optimisation? </strong></h4> <p>Very few businesses embrace the full spectrum of opportunities on offer from A/B, multivariate and personalisation testing.</p> <p>Typically testing is quick and simple and focused on the low hanging fruit (what we at PRWD call <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67245-why-mvt-doesn-t-live-up-to-the-hype-isn-t-worth-significant-investment/">iterative testing</a>).</p> <p>The biggest business growth opportunity many businesses are missing out on is the impact and growth that innovative and strategic testing can deliver for their business.</p> <h3>In conclusion...</h3> <p>In summary, Benefit Cosmetics is doing some fantastic things with its digital experience to convert visitors into customers.</p> <p>But as this quick evaluation has highlighted, there are a range of opportunities which can take it to the next level:</p> <ol> <li>Effectively communicating the unique value proposition to differentiate itself in the marketplace.</li> <li>Utilising the scale and passion of its social communities and customers to better effect.</li> <li>Most importantly, recognise that full spectrum optimisation represents the biggest growth lever.</li> </ol> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67454 2016-02-01T10:09:36+00:00 2016-02-01T10:09:36+00:00 Five digital realities every CEO & MD must face in 2016 Paul Rouke <p>You can’t change your past but you can change your future. You can’t change the decisions got you where you are today but your future decisions can take you in new, more life changing directions.</p> <p>My point is that there are some things you can’t control but you shouldn’t let that define you.</p> <p>For the few percent of people in the world who choose to take control of their own destiny and start their own business (or those who become a business owner), there are business realities that we have to face up to but you can still control your own destiny.</p> <p>The reality is you and your team simply have to create a perceived value in your product and service to get people to spend money with you.</p> <p>You can’t control what your competitors are doing but you <em>can</em> create your own culture. For a business to succeed it requires one person to make it happen.</p> <h3><strong>What about your business online? How important is it and what steps should you be taking?</strong></h3> <p>Back in late 2012 I published “<a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/11372-will-2013-be-the-year-of-conversion-optimisation/">Will 2013 be the year of conversion optimisation?</a>” So, was it?</p> <p>Was it hell.</p> <p>So when will it be the ‘year of conversion optimisation’? At the rate we are going, 2019. What a crying shame.</p> <p>If only conversion optimisation was as sexy sounding as social media, big data, personalisation or omni-channel (for more areas of focus, see Ashley Friedlein's <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67397-ashley-friedlein-s-10-digital-marketing-ecommerce-trends-for-2016/">10 digital marketing trends for 2016</a>).</p> <p>In this post I will discuss five realities every CEO must get to grips with in 2016 (and beyond) when it comes to their online experience.</p> <h3>1. Investing intelligently in converting visitors to customers will become essential</h3> <p>There is still a fundamental disconnect between the amount of money companies spend on acquiring traffic, versus what they are willing to invest in turning a higher percentage of that traffic in to customers.</p> <p>It’s almost as if increasing the investment in conversion optimisation is somehow problematic for an acquisition strategy, when reality is it has the potential to dramatically improve the ROI you get from the hundreds, thousands and millions of pounds spent on traffic acquisition each month.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/1185/Jedi-Master-Yoda-in-a-sce-006.jpg" alt="" width="550" height="330"></p> <p>Even those businesses who <em>are</em> increasing their investment in conversion optimisation may not be doing so intelligently and are therefore still struggling to grow.</p> <p>Millions of pounds of marketing budget is wasted each year on tools which just aren’t used properly and are therefore failing to produce the advertised results.</p> <p>Then there are millions of pounds being spent on big website redesigns that simply don’t deliver the increase in performance expected from that level of spend.</p> <p>The reality for CEOs is that by investing consistently and intelligently in strategic conversion optimisation they will finally be creating the platform on which they can outgrow their competition.</p> <p>Here are <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66339-five-characteristics-of-businesses-ready-to-grow-through-data-driven-optimisation/">five characteristics of businesses ready to grow through conversion optimisation</a>. If you are embarking on a website redesign, <a href="http://www.slideshare.net/PRWD/how-to-avoid-a-website-redesign-disaster-paul-rouke-at-digital-marketing-show-2015-55256619">here is how to avoid disaster</a>.</p> <h3>2. Pure and simple, A/B testing needs to be mastered before you starting chasing the home run that is big data &amp; personalisation</h3> <p>It is very easy to be excited by something new and shiny. You want to dive in head first and play with all the bells and whistles.</p> <p>Think about your first love. Whether it was love at first sight or your mutual feelings took a little longer to develop, you no doubt fell head over heels with that person.</p> <p>You probably didn’t even stop and think about what are the important foundations to get in place to allow your new relationship to have the biggest chance of long term success.</p> <p>Because of this, realistically, you won’t be with your first love today. Data-driven optimisation is a culture of experimentation.</p> <p><a href="http://vignette1.wikia.nocookie.net/muppet/images/7/74/BeakerHands.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20120626193657"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/1226/dr_beaker.jpg" alt="" width="475" height="316"></a></p> <p>It can’t be like a first love because if it is, chances are you will have limited impact, low test success rate, poor buy-in from senior management and a general lack of confidence in the potential of conversion optimisation being a crucial growth lever for your business.</p> <p>So many times I see businesses conducting quite complex personalisation and multivariate tests, with little or no reason <em>why</em>.</p> <p>When you analyse the online experiences of these businesses, it become clear very quickly that what they shouldn’t be doing is getting distracted by the shiny new tools and complex tests.</p> <p>Instead, they should learn to walk before they can run by mastering the science and art of researching, planning and delivering intelligent, insight driven A/B tests.</p> <p>The reality for CEOs is that they need to recognise that big data and personalisation is not what their business needs right now.</p> <p>What their business <em>really</em> needs is intelligent and pure A/B testing to drag their online experience kicking and screaming to a place which benefits everyone of their visitors.</p> <p>Intelligent KPIs are also required to measure and improve the impact that optimisation is having for your business – my previous article ‘<a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66434-vanity-versus-sanity-metrics-in-conversion-optimisation/">vanity versus sanity metrics in conversion optimisation</a>’ underlines the importance of quality <em>then</em> quantity, for your optimisation strategy.</p> <h3>3. Tools and machines cannot replicate people’s brains</h3> <p>I have previously written about <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67245-why-mvt-doesn-t-live-up-to-the-hype-isn-t-worth-significant-investment/">why MVT (multivariate testing) should be replaced by NHT (No Hypothesis Testing)</a>.</p> <p>In that article, I explained how so often the role of coming up with an ‘improved’ version or variation of a webpage is put in the hands of the tool.</p> <p>Instead of having one or two strong, intelligent variations based on an insight driven hypothesis, the tool is used to deliver multiple variations of headlines, buttons and copy to visitors to see “which one sticks.”</p> <p>The biggest mistake businesses make is in limiting the investment they make in people, or more importantly, in people’s expertise.</p> <p>So often companies invest a huge amount of money in enterprise level tools, only to just scratch the surface on what is actually possible.</p> <p>If you asked 50 brands if they feel they are getting value for money from their testing platform or whether they are utilising the feature set to its potential, 10% (at most, from my experience) would say yes.</p> <p>The reality for CEOs is that they need to recognise that data-driven optimisation will not be achieved without significant investment in the people responsible for crafting and delivering improved online experiences.</p> <p>Think user researchers, data analysts, UX designers, front and back end developers, copywriters and psychologists.</p> <p>These are all essential skill-sets being employed by brands like Booking.com, AO.com and Spotify. AO.com has used such people so well that it led me to asking <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66768-ao-com-the-best-ecommerce-experience-available-online/">whether AO is the best ecommerce experience online</a>?</p> <h3>4. You will need to become customer-centric at some stage</h3> <p>Becoming or being customer-centric seems like an obvious statement. Most business would claim they are customer-centric.</p> <p>The reality is businesses are still only scratching the surface when it comes to truly understanding the behaviour, perception, expectations and motivations of the people they call customers.</p> <p>Let’s get this straight. Having some remote user testing videos done, adding an on-site survey and watching a few session recordings does not a customer-centric business make.</p> <p>It doesn’t even get you close. You could say I’m just biased as I have worked in user research for over 15 years now, but here is what these 15 years <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uc6wzgsaZTw">have taught me about conversion optimisation</a>.</p> <p>The reality is those businesses that genuinely make that decision to become customer-centric are the ones outpacing their competition and taking market share; you only need to <a href="http://www.prolificnorth.co.uk/2016/01/shop-direct-predicts-increase-in-digital-personalisation-in-2016/">look at Shop Direct Group</a> to see that.</p> <p>You need to make this same decision before it’s too late.</p> <h3>5. Yes, your competitors are already taking optimisation really seriously</h3> <p>Be warned, your competitors are already taking conversion optimisation much more seriously than they ever have before.</p> <p>They’ve seen the true beauty of conversion optimisation, experimentation, and having a test and learn culture running through their business.</p> <p><strong>The beauty is you can take control of your own destiny.</strong></p> <p><strong><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/1227/destiny.gif" alt="" width="512" height="256"></strong></p> <p>You choose how much investment you’ll make in people, skills, tools, processes, cultural transformation.</p> <p>You choose how ambitious and progressive your business will be in optimising and evolving your online experience. You choose whether the business <a href="http://www.slideshare.net/PRWD/iterative-versus-innovative-testing-exploiting-the-full-spectrum-of-testing-opportunities-paul-rouke-elite-camp-2015-final">embraces the full spectrum of optimisation</a>.</p> <p>Do you want an example of a brand controlling its own destiny? Look no further than AO.com.</p> <p>I’ll put it out there, it's making buying washing machines and dishwashers fun and desirable. If AO.com can do this, what is stopping you?</p> <h3>In summary</h3> <p>It’s time to face up to these realities and start walking the walk. Remember, you can control your own destiny.</p> <p>Time to choose.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67382 2016-01-12T15:20:43+00:00 2016-01-12T15:20:43+00:00 How record-breaking sales may have masked Black Friday failure Alex Painter <p>Many organisations focused, with mixed success, on making sure their websites didn’t collapse under the weight of the extra traffic.</p> <p>But while a website that falls over on the busiest shopping day of the year is the nightmare scenario, there are other aspects of performance to consider.</p> <p>A number of studies show that even small fluctuations in the time it takes a web page to load can have a significant effect on the revenue it generates.</p> <p>One of the best known is from Walmart, which demonstrated a direct link between load time and conversion: average load time for the converted population was 3.22 seconds. For the non-converted <a href="http://www.slideshare.net/devonauerswald/walmart-pagespeedslide">population it was 6.03 seconds</a>.</p> <p>More recently, Etam increased conversions by 20% by cutting <a href="http://blog.quanta-computing.com/etam-earns-20-of-conversion-by-optimising-its-online-store/">average page load time from 1.2 seconds to 0.5 seconds</a>.</p> <p>With this in mind, it isn’t enough just to make sure the website stays up. A website that slows down during peak periods is also potentially very costly.</p> <p>In this article I'll look at how page speeds were altered on Black Friday, and for more on this topic read:</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67061-seo-black-friday-how-are-brands-preparing-their-landing-pages/">SEO &amp; Black Friday: How are brands preparing their landing pages?</a></li> <li> <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66657-need-for-speed-how-to-optimise-website-performance/">Need for speed: how to optimise website performance</a>.</li> <li> <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/10936-site-speed-case-studies-tips-and-tools-for-improving-your-conversion-rate/">Site speed: case studies, tips and tools for improving your conversion rate</a>.</li> </ul> <h3>Page speed on Black Friday</h3> <p>Slowdowns on Black Friday are very much the norm. The graph below shows how one major UK retail homepage performed before, during and after Black Friday (load time is represented by the green and yellow bars).</p> <p>Median load time increased from 9.4 seconds on 26 November to 11 seconds on 27 November, falling back to 9.6 seconds on 28 November.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0007/0411/black_friday_1-blog-flyer.png" alt="" width="555" border="0"></p> <p>This website didn’t suffer any serious errors. It didn’t go down altogether. But it does look as though it failed to make the most of a huge sales opportunity.</p> <p>It would be interesting to know whether this retailer considered its Black Friday a success.</p> <p>The website made it through unscathed. It probably made record sales. But the drop in performance on the big day almost certainly meant it missed out. No matter how successful it was, it could have done better.</p> <p>Rather than just avoiding outages, then, retailers need to focus on maintaining performance at busy times.</p> <p>This is something that can be addressed in load testing – subjecting a website to increasing levels of traffic in a controlled environment.</p> <p>Part of the process involves finding out where the system’s breaking point lies, but it’s also crucial to find out when and why performance starts to degrade.</p> <p>Remedial steps can then be taken to make sure the website doesn’t slow down when it matters most.</p> <p>And some organisations do manage to maintain performance. The graph below shows load times for another retailer that ran some big Black Friday promotions.</p> <p>While we can’t know how far traffic met or exceeded expected levels, we can at least say that this organisation didn’t miss out on extra sales because its website was slow.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0007/0412/black_friday_2-blog-flyer.png" alt="" width="555" border="0"></p> <h3>Improving performance when it matters most</h3> <p>There is a third way.</p> <p>What if you don’t just maintain performance on your busiest day of the year, but actually manage to improve it?</p> <p>There are a few retailers that achieve this. It’s not always clear whether it’s by accident or design, but some Black Friday homepages are noticeably lighter (i.e. have less content) than their everyday counterparts.</p> <p>This has two advantages – one is that it puts less pressure on systems, potentially reducing the need to invest in shoring up those systems.</p> <p>The other is that the page is likely to load faster. And a faster page delivers a better user experience, better conversion rates and more revenue.</p> <p>We saw a number of retailers adopt this approach, and the graph below shows performance over time for one of them.</p> <p>Both page size (represented by the grey area) and load time (shown in green) fall in perfect harmony on the eve of Black Friday:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0007/0413/black_friday_3-blog-flyer.png" alt="" width="555" border="0"></p> <p>It’s worth mentioning that this particular site’s performance left a lot to be desired, both before and after the change.</p> <p>However, it did see a huge improvement, with the likely result that it earned substantially more per visitor on and after Black Friday.</p> <h3>How do retailers actually achieve these savings in page size?</h3> <p>In the above case, the standard homepage included some very large banner ads that were cut from the Black Friday version, along with a large volume of video content.</p> <p>Black Friday also offers the opportunity to direct visitors to a narrow range of deals, rather than deliver content that represents the full product range.</p> <p>Very often, though, the things organisations do to cut page size on Black Friday are things they could and should be doing throughout the year.</p> <p>This suggests that performance probably isn’t the main driver - why would you only want a high-performing website on one day of the year?</p> <p>If so, some retailers are blissfully unaware that they owe part of their Black Friday success to a faster website – just as others don’t realise they could have done better if they’d maintained or improved performance.</p> <p>In both cases, the impact of performance is real but masked by other factors.</p> <h3>Summary</h3> <p>The message, then is a relatively simple one, even if the reality of getting a website ready for Black Friday is anything but simple:</p> <ul> <li>Performance has been shown to affect the ability of ecommerce sites to generate revenue.</li> <li>A website’s performance tends to suffer at peak times.</li> <li>Retailers should focus on maintaining or improving performance over the Black Friday period – just making sure the website’s available isn’t enough.</li> <li>One way to optimise the performance of a homepage or Black Friday landing page is to deliver less content – and some retailers appear to be reaping the rewards of this approach.</li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67361 2016-01-04T14:21:16+00:00 2016-01-04T14:21:16+00:00 Why adopting HTTP/2 should be a priority in 2016 Patricio Robles <h3>What is HTTP/2?</h3> <p>HTTP/2 is the new version of the HTTP protocol that is used to transfer data across the web. The current version, HTTP 1.1, became a standard in 1997.</p> <p>Obviously, the web has changed a lot since then and HTTP 1.1's shortcomings have become more and more apparent over the years.</p> <p>Several years ago, Google set out to address some of these shortcomings by developing <a href="https://developers.google.com/speed/spdy/">SPDY</a>, a protocol that modifies HTTP to improve page load times.</p> <p>Major browsers, including Google Chrome, Firefox, and Safari, added support for SPDY, but less than 3% of websites are using SPDY because it requires installation of a web server module.</p> <p>HTTP/2 is based on SPDY and will bring many of SPDY's improvements to the masses. The most notable of those improvements are:</p> <ul> <li>Multiplexing support, which allows clients to transfer data over a single connection.</li> <li> <a href="https://nghttp2.org/blog/2014/11/16/visualization-of-http-slash-2-priority/">Prioritization</a>, which allows the most important content to be transferred first.</li> <li>Built-in compression.</li> </ul> <p>HTTP/2 retains the most familiar components of HTTP 1.1, such as methods (GET, POST, etc.) and headers.</p> <h3>Why does HTTP/2 matter?</h3> <p>HTTP/2 has significant user experience implications, and may also become a key SEO consideration.</p> <p><strong>1. User experience implications</strong></p> <p>Fast page load speed is critical to delivering a superb user experience. Even on tablet and mobile devices, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/10497-tablet-mobile-users-expect-pages-to-load-within-seconds-report">users expect pages to load within seconds</a>.</p> <p>Unfortunately, many organizations struggle with page load speed because their sites require lots of assets like CSS, JavaScript and images to be served.</p> <p>HTTP 1.1's limitations can make serving these assets very costly, but HTTP/2's improvements have the ability to increase page load speeds without any application-level changes.</p> <p>As <a href="https://http2.akamai.com/demo">Akamai's HTTP/2 demo</a> demonstrates, HTTP/2 can reduce load times significantly.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/0353/Screen_Shot_2016-01-04_at_11.43.01.png" alt="" width="795" height="442"></p> <p><strong>2. SEO implications</strong></p> <p>In a Google Webmaster Central Hangout in November, Google employee John Mueller revealed that GoogleBot will soon support HTTP/2.</p> <p>As Search Engine Land's Patrick Stox <a href="http://searchengineland.com/everyone-moving-http2-236716">explained</a>, this has SEO implications because site speed is a ranking factor:</p> <blockquote> <p>With GoogleBot adding support for HTTP/2, websites that support the protocol will likely see an additional rankings boost from speed.</p> <p>On top of that, with Chrome and Firefox only supporting HTTP/2 over HTTPS, many websites that have not yet upgraded to HTTPS may see an additional boost in rankings when they do.</p> </blockquote> <p>Additionally, Stox suggests that at some point, Google could make use of HTTP/2 itself as a ranking factor <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65783-just-how-much-of-a-ranking-signal-is-https">the way it has HTTPS</a>, so coupled with the potential user experience benefits, HTTP/2 is a no brainer.</p> <h3>Adopting HTTP/2</h3> <p>A number of popular web servers <a href="https://github.com/http2/http2-spec/wiki/Implementations">have implemented HTTP/2</a>. Specifically, Apache supports HTTP/2 as of version 2.4.17 and Nginx supports HTTP/2 as of version 1.9.5.</p> <p>Microsoft offers HTTP/2 support under the Windows 10 and Server 2016 Technical Preview. </p> <p>In most cases, organizations with the ability to upgrade their web servers will be able to adopt HTTP/2 with minimal hassle and simple configuration.</p> <h3>Gotchas</h3> <p>Not surprisingly, not every organization can adopt HTTP/2 and take advantage of what it has to offer by installing a web server that has HTTP/2 support.</p> <p>Many of the techniques created to address HTTP 1.1's shortcomings are actually problematic when using HTTP/2.</p> <p>As web developer Matt Wilcox <a href="https://mattwilcox.net/web-development/http2-for-front-end-web-developers">explained</a>, widely-used optimizations that are problematic in an HTTP/2 world include:</p> <ul> <li>Image sprites</li> <li>CSS and JavaScript file concatenation</li> <li>Use of cookie-less domains to serve assets</li> <li>Domain sharding for asset hosting</li> </ul> <p>Before adopting HTTP/2, organizations will want to "undo" these optimizations to ensure that they are not negating HTTP/2's benefits.</p> <p>Fortunately, implementing these optimizations often requires considerable effort and in some cases, application-level changes, so once HTTP/2 is ubiquitous, many organizations will find that their optimization efforts can be directed elsewhere, such as to their application backends.</p>