tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/optimisation-inc-testing-cro Latest Optimisation (inc testing, CRO) content from Econsultancy 2017-01-18T09:49:32+00:00 tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68710 2017-01-18T09:49:32+00:00 2017-01-18T09:49:32+00:00 Lack of resources and budget still the main barriers to CRO: report David Moth <p>Much has been written on the Econsultancy blog recently about the importance of conversion rate optimization, but to what extent are businesses actually doing it? And what methods are most popular?</p> <p>The latest version of our <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/conversion-rate-optimization-report/">Conversion Optimization Report</a>, published in association with Redeye, asked respondents about both of these areas, revealing some interesting findings.</p> <p>Encouragingly, 55% of client-side respondents said that CRO is ‘crucial’ to their overall digital marketing strategy. Only 10% rated it as ‘quite important’ or ‘not important’.</p> <p>According to business consultant and all-round digital whizz <a href="https://twitter.com/danbarker">Dan Barker</a>:</p> <p>"It’s a rarity to get any kind of consensus on what is/isn’t ‘crucial’ in any business, so this essentially vindicates that if you do not feel it’s in your interest to focus a good amount of resource on CRO, you are a big exception among website owners.”</p> <p>However, despite this consensus, the report indicates that businesses are failing to dedicate enough resource to CRO.</p> <p>For the third year running a lack of resource and budget were cited as the main barriers to improving conversion rates.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3121/CRO_barriers.png" alt="" width="700" height="541"></p> <h3>CRO methods</h3> <p>The report also asked respondents about which methods they currently use to improve conversion rates. While the list isn’t exhaustive, it shows that the simplest forms of CRO are the most popular, which is to be expected.</p> <p>A majority of respondents (61%) said they use A/B testing, while online surveys (54%) and copy optimisation (51%) are also popular methods.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3120/CRO_methods.png" alt="" width="700" height="481"></p> <p>Tactics that involve some level of personalisation achieved lower scores, perhaps due to the data and tech capabilities required to implement them properly.</p> <p>For example, website personalisation is only used by a quarter of respondents (25%), while abandonment and behavioural emails scored 34% and 37% respectively.</p> <p>If you’re one of those who has yet to implement basket abandonment emails, you can find out how to get started in our <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/the-fundamentals-of-email-marketing" target="_blank">Fundamentals of Email Marketing Guide</a>.</p> <p>And to learn more about CRO, download <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/conversion-rate-optimization-report/">Conversion Rate Optimization Report</a> or book yourself onto our <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/conversion-optimisation/">Conversion Optimisation training course</a>.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68676 2017-01-04T11:44:47+00:00 2017-01-04T11:44:47+00:00 10 important stats from Econsultancy's 2016 research Nikki Gilliland <h3>Agencies predict low growth rates for 2017</h3> <p>The <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/reports/digital-agency-rate-card-survey-2016/">Digital Agency Rate Card Survey 2016</a> revealed that predicted year-on-year growth in the UK has reached an all-time low.</p> <p>From an online survey of 398 UK digital agencies, it found that the proportion of agencies expecting their businesses to grow by over 50% has more than halved in the last two years, going from 24% in 2014 to 11% in 2016.</p> <p>Meanwhile, agencies predicted that their daily rates will grow by an average of just 2% this year.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2738/Digital_Rate_Card_Survey.JPG" alt="" width="600" height="564"></p> <h3>Disparity between customer needs and marketer capabilities</h3> <p>Our <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/customer-recognition-how-marketing-is-failing-at-its-top-priority">Customer Recognition Report</a> highlighted how marketers are falling short on customer experience management due to a lack of digital capabilities.</p> <p>While up to 84% of marketers cite identifying users, personalizing messaging and measuring impact as “very important to growth,” only 10%-14% are able to deliver in these areas.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2739/Customer_Recognition.JPG" alt="" width="649" height="491"></p> <h3>60% of marketers lack a cooperative culture</h3> <p>In the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/trends-and-priorities-in-the-media-and-entertainment-sector/">Trends and Priorities in the Media and Entertainment Sector</a> report, the biggest barriers for digital transformation were found to be organisational factors.</p> <p>59% of marketers said they lack a cooperative culture, while 49% said management is against investing in data and tech, and 46% said that boards fail to understand digital strategy.</p> <p><em><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2745/Trends_and_Priorities_Media.JPG" alt="" width="650" height="473"></em></p> <p><em>You can find out three further priorities for marketers <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68129-four-urgent-priorities-for-marketers-in-media-entertainment" target="_blank">in this article</a><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/trends-and-priorities-in-the-media-and-entertainment-sector/" target="_blank">.</a></em></p> <h3>Companies to increase CRO budgets this year</h3> <p>In October, our <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/conversion-rate-optimization-report/" target="_blank">Conversion Rate Optimization report</a> was released, looking at the strategies companies are using to improve conversion rates.</p> <p>With 52% of companies seeing a significant increase in sales from adopting a structured approach to data, research also found that over half of companies plan to increase their CRO budgets this year.</p> <p>This appears to be an effective strategy, with 73% of those who have already increased their budget seeing a marked improvement.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2742/CRO.JPG" alt="" width="650" height="470"></p> <h3>84% of influencer research is carried out manually</h3> <p>At the beginning of 2016, Econsultancy published the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/the-rise-of-influencers/">Rise of Influencers report</a> in association with Fashion &amp; Beauty Monitor.</p> <p>Exploring the role influencers play in the fashion and beauty industries, it found that there are some big challenges for brands navigating this new marketing realm.</p> <p>According to the survey, finding the right influencer is one of the biggest tests, with 84% of research being carried out by manually searching platforms like Facebook and Twitter.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2743/Influencers.JPG" alt="" width="343" height="629"></p> <h3>74% of agencies are working with celebrities</h3> <p>The <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/the-future-of-celebrity-marketing/">Future of Celebrity Marketing report</a> further reflected the growing demand for both social media stars and high profile personalities.</p> <p>While 74% of agency respondents said that they are already working with celebrities, a further 12% said that they aim to embark on a celebrity endorsement within the next year.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2751/Celebrity_Marketing.JPG" alt="" width="650" height="419"></p> <h3>35% of organisations believe technology is key to understanding customers</h3> <p>At every level of maturity, organisations agree that having the right technologies for data collection and analysis is key to understanding customers.</p> <p>This statistic comes from the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/secrets-of-elite-analytics-practices/" target="_blank">Secrets of Elite Analytics Practices</a> report, which also found that the more advanced the analytics capabilities, the more adept companies are at sharing knowledge between teams.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2744/Secrets_of_Analytics.JPG" alt="" width="637" height="587"></p> <h3>48% of organisations do not have a mobile strategy</h3> <p>Despite the fact most organisations agree that mobile deserves a strategic approach, last year's <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/digital-intelligence-briefing-taking-advantage-of-the-mobile-opportunity/">Digital Intelligence Briefing</a> found that nearly half are failing to put this into practice.</p> <p>The report explained how even the 20% that do have a well-defined mobile strategy are not making the most of customer analysis, proving the untapped potential of data.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2748/Digital_Briefing.JPG" alt="" width="650" height="536"></p> <h3>Email rated top for ROI</h3> <p>2016 marked the 10th anniversary of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/email-census-2016/">Econsultancy's Email Marketing Industry Census</a>.</p> <p>In an online survey of 1,150 marketers in February and March, 73% of respondents ranked email marketing as 'excellent' or 'good' for ROI.</p> <p>Increasing from 66% in 2015, this meant that email marketing was ranked 9% higher than SEO (organic search).</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2749/Email_marketing.JPG" alt="" width="640" height="544"></p> <h3>B2B marketers lack confidence in CX</h3> <p>Last May saw the release of the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/the-tension-in-b2b-customer-experience-management/">Tension in B2B Customer Experience Management report</a>, highlighting how B2B organizations are improving the customer experience.</p> <p>Surprisingly, despite B2B companies realizing that they're being evaluated on the same level as consumer brands, just 16% believe customers rate their CX on a par with B2C.</p> <p>Internal silos and a lack of long-term strategy were reported to be just two of the reasons why.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2750/B2B_CX.JPG" alt="" width="690" height="574"></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68662 2016-12-23T10:06:08+00:00 2016-12-23T10:06:08+00:00 10 festive digital marketing stats from this week Nikki Gilliland <p>Oh, and don’t forget to check out the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/internet-statistics-compendium" target="_blank">Internet Statistics Compendium</a> for lots more!</p> <p>Here goes nothing…</p> <h3>Second week in December generates more conversions for online retailers</h3> <p>New data from Qubit has revealed the trends impacting online retail this Christmas.</p> <p>From analysis of 74m visits to 120 UK and US online retailers, it found that the third and fourth of December was the most popular Christmas shopping weekend for consumers to visit online retailers.</p> <p>However, the 10th and 11th of December was more successful overall, with online retailers converting a smaller number of consumers for slightly higher levels of revenue. Despite there being 5.51% fewer visitors than the previous weekend, conversion rates were 10.36% higher, with 0.92% more revenue generated.</p> <h3>Half of UK Christmas shoppers looking for last-minute bargains</h3> <p>According to recent research by SAS, nearly half of British consumers joining the Christmas shopping rush this week will be holding out for bargains.</p> <p>Despite the biggest discounting weekend of the year, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, already being behind us, nearly a quarter of UK consumers will be leaving it until the last week before Christmas to buy gifts. </p> <p>What’s more, with 46% of shoppers citing the economy as having the biggest impact on how they will shop for gifts this year, nearly half will be on the look-out for last minute bargains.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2630/christmas_shopping.jpg" alt="" width="650" height="433"></p> <h3>The impact of ‘Smart Christmas’ for marketers</h3> <p>Based on this year’s Black Friday sales, the Chartered Institute of Marketing has predicted that smart devices – e.g. health devices and virtual reality – will be the top selling gifts this Christmas.</p> <p>However, it has also indicated that while this presents opportunity for marketers in 2017 – it could also pose problems.</p> <p>When it comes to health devices, the CIM suggest that brands need to be wary of data handling, as 57% of consumers do not trust organisations to use their data responsibly.</p> <p>Similarly, despite the growing popularity of virtual reality – and the Oculus headset set to be a popular gifting option – marketers need to consider whether or not virtual reality is truly an appropriate way to engage customers, or whether they are just jumping on the bandwagon.</p> <h3>Nearly a third of influencers regularly promote charities</h3> <p>According to new data from Buzzoole, social media influencers are challenging the perception of younger generations by regularly supporting charities.</p> <p>It found that 28% of social media influencers regularly support charities on their channels, with 74% saying that raising awareness of the causes they care about was a key priority for them. Likewise, 87% said sharing their own personal experiences is important, while 61% agreed that helping people is a big factor in what they do.</p> <p>Children’s and cancer charities are the most popular charities to talk about, with 19% and 21% of influencers citing these respectively.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Thank you <a href="https://twitter.com/Zoella">@Zoella</a> &amp; <a href="https://twitter.com/PointlessBlog">@PointlessBlog</a> for granting 5wishes yesterday &amp; to <a href="https://twitter.com/lolascupcakes">@lolascupcakes</a> for the fab cupcake workshop! <a href="https://t.co/s04ZeyA2qY">pic.twitter.com/s04ZeyA2qY</a></p> — Rays of Sunshine (@RaysofSunshine) <a href="https://twitter.com/RaysofSunshine/status/720207773586321408">April 13, 2016</a> </blockquote> <h3>Period between Christmas and New Year predicted for peer-to-peer shopping surge </h3> <p>Unwanted gifts are set to power a surge in online shopping between Christmas and New Year, according to new data released by eBay Advertising.</p> <p>In 2015, consumers were looking to snap up a bargain as early as Christmas Day, with “unwanted christmas present” being the most searched for item on eBay, dropping no lower than number two until 9pm that evening. </p> <p>If that is anything to go by, 2016 looks set to provide a similar opportunity for disappointed folk.</p> <h3>Amazon is the most valuable retail brand in the world</h3> <p>In a report on the <a href="http://www.kantarretail.com/brandz-top-25-most-valuable-global-retail-brands-20162017/">top 25 most valuable retail brands</a> in the world, BrandZ’s has named Amazon as the number one.</p> <p>With an estimated value of $98.98bn, the online retailer’s brand value has gone up by 59% year-on-year, outperforming others like Alibaba, Home Depot and Walmart.</p> <p>Though the list mainly features US brands, UK retailers Tesco and Marks &amp; Spencers were featured, coming in at numbers 15 and 24 respectively.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2628/Tesco.JPG" alt="" width="250" height="369"> <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2629/M_S.JPG" alt="" width="250" height="368"></p> <h3>53% of consumers happy to interact with brands on messaging apps</h3> <p>In a poll of 2,000 consumers in the UK and France, Kenshoo found that just over half are open to interacting with brands on Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger – as long as they can block brands they are not interested in.</p> <p>The study found that 51% of app users see messaging as faster and more immediate than email interactions, while 48% feel it is less hassle than speaking to a company on the phone.</p> <p>Another advantage of brands using messaging apps could be convenience for joint purchases, with 15% of consumers liking the idea of a group interaction to discuss travel research, for example.</p> <p>Similarly, finding information quickly is also a positive, with 33% liking the fact that messaging apps retain conversations, meaning there is no need to search through previous emails or notes from telephone calls.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2625/Most_used_apps.JPG" alt="" width="571" height="464"></p> <p><em>(Most used apps)</em></p> <h3>Black Friday results in growth rate of 22.9% in Novemeber YoY </h3> <p>The latest figures from the IMRG Capgemini eRetail Sales Index have revealed how retailers slashed prices throughout Black Friday weekend.</p> <p>The category which saw the sharpest drop in prices was electricals, with the average basket value falling to £119 in November – a decrease of 18.5% on the previous month and 22.7% from November 2015.</p> <p>Average basket values decreased in all sectors from the previous month, apart from home &amp; garden, resulting in a year-on-year growth rate of 22.9% in November.</p> <h3>Boohoo is the top brand for Facebook Live video in 2016</h3> <p>With <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68640-why-live-video-was-the-biggest-social-trend-of-2016">live streaming truly taking off in 2016</a>, Socialbakers has rounded up the brands whose Facebook Live videos performed the best.</p> <p>With 313,282 interactions, Boohoo’s black Friday giveaway comes in at the top spot, followed by the Body Coach’s Live Hiit, which generated 22,303 interactions.</p> <p>Here is the top five:</p> <ol> <li>Boohoo.com – <a href="https://www.facebook.com/boohoo.com/videos/1442411715776720/" target="_blank">Live Black Friday give away</a> (313,282 interactions)</li> <li>The Body Coach – <a href="https://www.facebook.com/JoeWicksTheBodyCoach/videos/1064153536991915/">Live Hiit</a> (22,303 interactions)</li> <li>Xbox UK – <a href="https://www.facebook.com/xboxuk/videos/10153935439346344/">Forza Horizon 3</a> (18,554 interactions)</li> <li>Oh Polly – <a href="https://www.facebook.com/ohpollyfashion/videos/927381400731700/">Online competition</a> (11,345 interactions)</li> <li>Chain Reaction Cycles – <a href="https://www.facebook.com/ChainReactionCycles/videos/10154549688487359/">Online competition</a>: Unior toolkit (9,343 interactions)</li> </ol> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fboohoo.com%2Fvideos%2F1442411715776720%2F&amp;show_text=0&amp;width=560" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <h3>Online searches for cocktails peak on Christmas Day and NYE </h3> <p>According to Equimedia, drinks and spirits brands should be doing more to capitalise on search interest in the run up to Christmas.</p> <p>From research of 39 separate cocktail types categorised by their main spirit ingredient, it found that searches for cocktail recipes are at their peak on Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve.</p> <p>However, with conversions unlikely at this point, brands should be engaging consumers as interest ramps up throughout the festive period – with the aim of inspiring them to stock up in advance.</p> <p>Equimedia has also highlighted the dominance of major brands, with Smirnoff Vodka outranking all other types of vodka, and Jack Daniels doing the same for whiskey. Despite this, the rise in popularity of artisan gin shows there is opportunity for smaller brands, with Sipsmith now within striking distance of Gordons Gin as the most-searched for in the cateogory.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68646 2016-12-21T15:30:00+00:00 2016-12-21T15:30:00+00:00 Was 2016 the year companies finally moved beyond button testing in CRO? Paul Rouke <p>There is no user behavioural insight, no process or methodology, WYSIWG testing, tests being concluded too early, egotism and opinions running riot and most significantly, there is a lack of appreciation for the importance for experimentation from the C-suite - due mainly to a lack of knowledge and understanding.</p> <p>The list goes on. </p> <p>In early 2016, I set out <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67454-five-digital-realities-every-ceo-md-must-face-in-2016/">the five digital realities every CEO and MD must face up to</a>. The article was centered around how businesses need to become more customer-centric and harness the potential of strategic conversion optimisation and the positive effect it could have on their business. </p> <p>Unfortunately, over the past year (well, almost a year) I can see that little progress has been made. In this article, I am going to share my thoughts on this lack of progress.</p> <h3>Why is there still a startling lack of investment in converting visitors to customers?</h3> <p>It is true that converting visitors to customers will become essential, but has this message resonated and started having an impact within businesses? Not very much; at least, not yet. </p> <p>The reality at the end of 2016 is much like it was at the beginning: most businesses have a fixed mindset, running and growing their business as they always have, with the primary focus on acquiring traffic to generate sales.</p> <p>For many decision makers and marketeers, A/B testing is a simple tactic to tinker with buttons, headlines and images from basic data analysis. There’s still no real strategy. </p> <p>The penny will drop at some stage, although for many businesses this could quite easily be too late as their more open-minded, progressive and growth-focused competitors have embraced the importance of CRO (long before others have).</p> <p>With more than<a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/07/12/record-80-new-companies-being-born-an-hour-in-2016/"> 80 new companies being started <strong><em>every hour</em></strong></a> (each looking to take market share and disrupt the status quo), I hope established businesses start putting their budgets in more intelligent strategies in 2017.</p> <p>As the saying goes, there is no time like the present.</p> <h3>We need to master A/B testing <em>before</em> tackling personalisation and big data</h3> <p>Why walk when you can start running straight away?</p> <p>As we heard in 2015 and throughout 2016, the future is all about big data, one-to-one experiences, behavioural targeting, automation and machine learning.</p> <p>With so many articles and other media promoting this message, many businesses were leapfrogging intelligent A/B testing and landing feet-first in automation and personalisation in 2016.</p> <p><em>What a shame.</em></p> <p>It is time for businesses to firstly go back to the roots of simple A/B testing, driven by understanding users, understanding data and harnessing a multi-disciplinary team to create more persuasive and compelling user experiences for every single visitor.</p> <p>Once that has been accomplished, then you can start adding on the bells and whistles. </p> <p>You don’t personalise a crappy checkout for a one-on-one experience – you improve the experience for every single visitor through intelligent, persuasive UX design and A/B testing.</p> <h3>Tools and machines can’t replicate brains</h3> <p>Despite my protestations, in 2016, we saw the tools and tech get even bigger and shinier.</p> <p>As far as testing tools and experimentation software, Optimizely gave us Optimizely X, Qubit developed a more cohesive experience-building platform and now more AI tools are coming to market.</p> <p>What this has meant in 2016 is more businesses believing the answer to improved website performance lies in these tools because:</p> <ol> <li>they’re better than the last one and..</li> <li>they have more features and functions, meaning our experimentation workflow can be more efficient.</li> </ol> <p>For the millions of pounds or dollars invested in the latest tools and technology (which in the majority of cases gather dust amidst the lack of resources), the lack of knowledge and skills available to get the best out of these tools is a crying shame.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0008/2485/ezgif.com-resize__1_-blog-flyer.png" alt="" width="400"> </p> <p>Within many businesses it’s still a case of 'all the gear, no idea'.</p> <p>The most important tool businesses have got at their disposal is people. You can’t buy ‘off the shelf’ creativity, innovation and strategic thinking. Even machines need to be given the data to create variations. </p> <p>Conversion optimisation requires creativity, innovation and strategic thinking. It requires people and their brains.</p> <h3>Are you customer-centric?</h3> <p><em>We are a customer-centric business. The customer is king. We listen to our customers.</em></p> <p>Almost all business say they are customer centric, yet the reality at the end of 2016 is that very few actually are. It’s merely lip-service. </p> <p>Many business will claim that they have multiple channels that all feed into their online experiences.</p> <p>Affordability and simplicity have meant there’s increased visibility on customer actions, but the responsive solutions to problems flagged through these tools are:</p> <ol> <li>based on internal opinions of what the solution should be and..</li> <li>not put through a testing tool to let the customers tell you what is their preferred solution. </li> </ol> <p>Not only that, but in a year which saw machine learning’s rise to prominence, many businesses are still ignoring the value that one-on-one research has.</p> <p>When was the last time you spoke one-on-one with your customers and prospects to ask them how you can improve your user (and customer) experience?</p> <p>Intelligent, natural one-one user research is still <em>the</em> most undervalued and underutilised activity that businesses invest in. </p> <p>No matter how long companies choose to run their business, there is no escaping that the most successful, sustainable businesses truly invest in understanding how they can best serve their customers.</p> <h3>Your competitors are taking optimisation seriously</h3> <p>It isn’t all doom and gloom. There’s been a real uptake in businesses understanding the importance of experimentation in their business and this is a definite shift in the right direction.</p> <p>The next step heading into 2017 will be businesses transforming their internal processes to develop an intelligent culture of experimentation across all aspects of the online experience.</p> <p>It is very likely that some of your key competitors are in this minority. They have recognised how much of a competitive advantage it can be, and they are busy planning and testing a much better user experience for their (and your) potential customers.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0008/2484/ezgif.com-resize-blog-flyer.png" alt="" width="500" height="234"></p> <p><em>Will you join your competitors and start taking optimisation seriously?</em> </p> <h3>You have the power to start controlling your own destiny</h3> <p>Compared to the increasingly competitive space of visitor acquisition, conversion optimisation allows you to control your own destiny. </p> <p>You choose how much you want to invest in optimising and improving your website experience and commercial performance.</p> <p>Will 2017 see you and your business start controlling your own destiny? Go on, you know you want to! </p> <p><strong><em>Now read:</em></strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68621-ux-in-2017-what-do-the-experts-predict/">UX in 2017: What do the experts predict?</a></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68635 2016-12-13T15:09:00+00:00 2016-12-13T15:09:00+00:00 The secrets of elite analytics practices: Report Arliss Coates <p>Today we're expanding on those insights with commentary from top marketers on the power of measurement.</p> <p>In this, the first of two long reads, we explore how analytics is revealing opportunities in a complex customer journey and what tactics are winning out.</p> <p>We'll also be exploring its limitations and hearing how these senior marketers plan to overcome this challenge.</p> <h3><strong>Building brand responsiveness into the customer journey</strong></h3> <p>Channels and platforms are multiplying and marketers are struggling to describe that journey, much less follow it. The terms customer journey and purchase funnel imply a linear progression, the reality is that it's anything but.</p> <p>In an effort to reflect today's "always on, everything everywhere" customer behavior, various alternatives have been proposed including a customer journey circle, a loop and even a fish.</p> <p>What is clear from our research is that the majority of marketers believe understanding this customer journey is a work in progress. Less than a third of respondents to the IBM/Econsultancy August 2016 survey stated that they had a thorough, up-to-date view of the customer journey.</p> <p>Having plunged headlong into the digital universe, marketers are finding that channels clamor for acknowledgement but their teams and tools aren't up to the attribution task. It can often feel like the customer is moving too fast for them.</p> <p>Thoryn Stephens, head of data at American Apparel states: "I'm a strong advocate of multi-touch attribution, but it's really hard for businesses to go from a first and last touch culture to MTA. It doesn't happen over night."</p> <p>And therein lies the problem. Stephens adds: "As <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67203-data-analysts-vs-data-scientists-what-s-the-difference/">a data scientist</a> and technologist, I'm of the firm belief you cannot manage what you can't measure."</p> <p>Jim Sprigg, Head of CRM at IHG hotels, is one of the lucky ones: "Because we know who the customer is on every channel, we're really focused on understanding the impact of messages and content.</p> <p>"We've figured out a way to test across all channels and most companies haven't figured that out."</p> <h3><strong>Approaching the journey analysis task</strong></h3> <p>So it's clear that until brands have an understanding of how their customers behave across the various touch points, it's going to be difficult for them to serve them effectively.</p> <p>It sounds like marketers have a gargantuan task ahead of them. The question now should be "where to begin?"</p> <p>In this case, our research revealed what components of customer journey analysis top performing companies excelled at. It was salutary that the lower performing companies naturally engaged with these components far less.</p> <p>The top two were understanding the source of the customer - marketing channel or referral, etc. - and discovering their preferences of product, contact method, content and so on.</p> <p>For companies struggling to embed customer journey analysis, it's a question of gathering in information wherever it is to be found but prioritizing its use to manage the scale of the task.</p> <p>IHG's Sprigg outlines his process: "We have to be deliberate about it and take whatever information is available. We use cunsumer insights from primary research, the types, needs and perceptions of customers.</p> <p>"Then we can bring in performance analysis and make inferences from that."</p> <h3><strong>Prioritizing investment in the top of the funnel</strong></h3> <p>One of the problems is that understanding customer preferences and catering to them may be an essential part of starting that brand relationship with them, but it is far removed from the point of conversion.</p> <p>Marketers are struggling to link understanding the customer journey directly to ROI which, in view of revenue-focused business goals, de-prioritizes it.</p> <p>"Most of the conversations around return on investment are in the digital channel and justifying expenditure [diverting from TV]," explains Rex Jackson, VP of marketing and sales at Legoland Florida Resort.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2396/legoland_florida.png" alt="" width="836" height="401"></p> <p>"We have awareness tactics and conversion strategies. The latter is closely related to ROI but the former is more difficult to tie in as it's further up the funnel."</p> <p>Jackson's answer to this challenge is to break their KPIs up into awareness and conversion and having different ROI measures attached to each, based on where the customer is in their purchase journey.</p> <p>Marketers need to be more intelligent about understanding the contribution customer journey analysis makes to the end goal.</p> <p>Our research revealed that brands we would consider "elites" in the analytics space said that understanding where and when problems arise were the two most powerful results of their analytics capability.</p> <p>This was far above (63% vs. 27%) the much vaunted 'understanding customer behavior'.</p> <p>Interestingly, the situation was reversed when it came to laggard companies who valued customer behavior and gleaning customer knowledge far above understanding where problems arose (40%/47% vs. 7%). </p> <p>"I always start with the challenge - where can you drive value and from there, align the solution," Stephens summarizes.</p> <h3><strong>Bring information and strategic need together</strong></h3> <p>"Funnel analysis and where it breaks down is extremely important, however even more important is talking to your customer and understanding their needs or what's important to them," says Brian Streich, former CMO at StubHub and now head of growth at Vacatia.</p> <p>For marketers struggling to embed customer journey analytics into the organization, these findings would suggest that an excellent place to start is to begin with understanding where customers are coming from, their preferences and where the pain points in the experience are.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2394/vacatia.png" alt="" width="800" height="404"></p> <p>We have already stated in the report that friction is the most important force in the physics of online commerce, but perhaps even more important for brands is to take the time not just to fix but explore where the friction is happening.</p> <p>To borrow from former Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, there are known unknowns and unknown unknowns. Some of your most damaging friction points may still be invisible.</p> <p>"At Vacatia, one of our most popular features is FlexPay. We offer guests two ways to pay over time. When we asked our guest care team for feedback on what it was they thought got guests over the hump to book, they all said FlexPay."</p> <p>"But when we looked at our experience, we didn't really talk about it anywhere. Often guests only found out about it because they called us to ask about something else. This insight led us to make that feature more prominent through the site. Immediately, our conversion and use of FlexPay went up."</p> <p>Sometimes friction is clearly reduced by clearly communicating to customers what it is you already have but don't fully understand the importance of."</p> <h3><strong>Staying in context</strong></h3> <p>The problem with advocating laser focus on the consumer is that while you're busy optimizing experiences at an individual level, changes also have to be relevant at an audience level.</p> <p>IHG's Sprigg conducts optimizations at control group level but these are not isolated events. His analytics and optimization process is a series of test and learn opportunities that are plugged in across the whole specturm from single channel and segment level to a company and audience-wide reach.</p> <p>"We're trying to define the solution we want to build with multiple layers of testing. We will have control groups that define what a customer sees across all channels over time but will also have a control focusing on a single channel.</p> <p>"We score long-term content, we score short-term content. We then come up with a way to combine these scores and map out what the experience will look like once there is a framework in place. It's a multi-layer optimization."</p> <p>For Lego Resort's Jackson, this means taking a layer of insight deep enough to launch a range of campaigns and optimize down to audience preferences, after the fact: "The single biggest change I've seen is that optimization allows me to spend less time tweaking and optimizing creative on the front end, before customer exposure.</p> <p>"Instead, it allows us to place a variety of creatives into the market and then allow optimizations to happen in real time as we discover which resonates more."</p> <p>Sprigg suggests that failing to build insights out to an audience level is down to approaching the task from the wrong direction.</p> <p>The figures bear out his argument. Our research showed that companies with a powerful capability to translate individual issues to an audience level (the top 21% percent of the sample) had average conversion rates 136% higher than those with less sophisticated capabilities.</p> <h3><strong>Managing the customer journey for growth</strong></h3> <p>Customer journey analytics is clearly the bedrock for brands' future growth but it continues to pose challenges for marketers.</p> <p>There may be no shortage of data flowing into the organization but maintaining consistency across channels and tying the information to specific customers is a task many have yet to master. But with contextual personalization and people-based media both dominating the conversation, it's a something brands will have to rise to.</p> <p>In the second of our long reads on embedding customer analytics into the company, we will be looking at some of the organizational and infrastructural changes marketers are having to make to adapt both culturally and technologically to the demands of new data.</p> <p><em>This post was co-written by Morag Cuddeford-Jones.</em></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68507 2016-11-15T14:36:49+00:00 2016-11-15T14:36:49+00:00 Which vertical sector is the king of the hill for email marketing? Henry Hyder-Smith <p>In addition, 10 years of increased integration between the technologies and channels used now means better segmentation, increasingly sophisticated personalisation and customer-driven marketing.</p> <p>However, in order to make such a tactics and strategy analysis more useful for marketers it’s important to drill down until we reach the sector level.</p> <p>This way marketers can learn from each other and even cherry pick (and test) good ideas that already work in other sectors.</p> <p>Using data collected for the Adestra/Econsultancy Email Marketing Industry Census 2016 – a survey of over 1,100 digital marketers around the world - we looked at the top six sectors: Retail/Mail Order, Print/Publishing &amp; Media, Charities/Government &amp; Non-profits, Financial Services &amp; Insurance, Travel &amp; Hospitality and Technology &amp; Telecoms.</p> <p>We analysed each sector to see which are producing the best return for the budget they spend on email, the tactics and strategies they use, the time spent on them, how they focus on mobile and implement automation, and finally their outlook on the future.</p> <p>I’ve picked three sectors from the report which are notable for being best performing, most improved and showing most growth potential.</p> <h4><strong>Print, publishing &amp; media</strong></h4> <p>Yet again, the Print, Publishing &amp; Media industry has produced consistent results across the board. Publishers have seen email performance shoot up since last year (see fig.1), and they top the chart for total sales attributable to the email channel.</p> <p>They make use of the broadest number of ESP services and lead the pack in optimising email for mobile. It’s not surprising then that there is no other sector that feels more love for their ESP.</p> <p><em>Fig.1 How do you rate the performance of your company’s email campaigns? (Results show Excellent or Good)</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0008/1327/2016_email_performance_sector_census-blog-flyer.png" alt="Email performance 2016 Sector Census" width="470" height="376"></p> <h4><strong>Charities, Government &amp; Not-for-Profits</strong></h4> <p>From mediocre results last year, the sector with the biggest turnaround has to be Charities, Government &amp; NFP. Their ROI is consistently higher (and now tops the chart at 84%, excellent/good ROI – see Fig.2), email performance has skyrocketed and more time is now spent on strategic activities.</p> <p><em>Fig.2 How do you rate the email channel in terms of return on investment? (Results show Excellent or Good)</em></p> <p><em><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0008/1329/2016_roi_sector_census-blog-flyer.png" alt="Email ROI 2016 Sector Census" width="470" height="329"></em></p> <h4><strong>Retail/ Mail Order</strong></h4> <p>ROI has grown considerably from last year for the Retail/Mail Order sector, and email performance is just keeping above the overall email industry average.</p> <p>Retailers also score above the industry average for mobile optimisation strategy. While they are keeping time spent on tactical activities down, they have however lost a little focus on strategy.</p> <p>Their use of tactics overall has dropped back since last year, however firms have seen modest improvements in success when implementing automated email programmes. With an eye on the future, retailers are the most innovative sector (see Fig.3), and feel most strongly about innovating with creative behavioural triggers.</p> <p><em>Fig.3 How do you intend to innovate with email in 2016?</em></p> <p><em><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0008/1328/2016_innovation_sector_census-blog-flyer.png" alt="Email Innovation 2016 Sector Census" width="470" height="339"></em></p> <h4><strong>And the king of the hill is…?</strong></h4> <p>Publishers have produced the most consistent results across the board, while charities have shown a huge upswing in both return and performance as they get to grips with more email tactics and strategies. Travel firms too have upped their game as they adopt more email tactics, data services and mobile optimisation techniques.</p> <p>Retail performance is largely middle of the road, however the sector has a great future potential if it can focus its efforts. While finance firms have experienced a rise in email performance, they are let down by not embracing email tactics or ESP services, and have low email optimisation strategies.</p> <p>Similarly, with few highpoints, tech companies are often trailing the pack in terms of how they use email and (predictably) the return it produces.</p> <p>While we can still highlight individual improvements across the board, some sectors need to use the experience and successes of their peers and look at the opportunities, services and tactics available to really make the email channel work harder for them.</p> <p>It might seem an uphill battle, but experimentation and testing are the name of the game.</p> <p><em>Subscribers can download the full <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/email-census/">Email Marketing Census 2016</a>.</em></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68505 2016-11-09T10:50:00+00:00 2016-11-09T10:50:00+00:00 A closer look at Booking.com's customer-focused strategy Nikki Gilliland <p>From multichannel ads to personalised apps – Booking.com is intent on keeping up with the evolving needs of its customers.</p> <p>Here's more on Gillian's talk, including other ways the company is delivering a winning experience all round.</p> <h3>Fostering diversity and innovation</h3> <p>When asked if Booking.com was a travel site or a tech company, Gillian didn’t miss a beat before answering with the latter. </p> <p>Because while travel might be its product, what many people fail to realise is that Booking.com is in fact the third largest ecommerce platform in the world. </p> <p>With a large team of web developers, and running more than 1,000 A/B tests at any one time, it also prides itself on innovating through continuous experimentation.</p> <p>Interestingly, while on this topic, Gillian emphasised how Booking.com also prides itself on diversity.</p> <p>Women make up 60% of the company's workforce, and with little to no background in technology herself, she explained why the company’s diversity is an important reflection of its global and wide-ranging demographic. </p> <h3>Concierge services to improve experiences</h3> <p>Booking.com fosters innovation through its constant measurement of data.</p> <p>In other words, it is continually looking at what customers want from the site as well as how they behave online.</p> <p>In turn, it is always introducing new technology and features to improve the online experience.  </p> <p>One example is a focus on delivering personalised messaging even long after the customer has booked their accommodation. </p> <p>Now, customers can interact with the site on their way to a hotel or apartment or even while out and about looking at tourist landmarks.</p> <p>Whether they want to order room service or make a restaurant reservation, concierge features like these help to create a more bespoke and personalised experience from start to finish. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">The only thing better than finding your perfect getaway home, is arriving there. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/bookingyeah?src=hash">#bookingyeah</a> <a href="https://t.co/hVuE7hxX6e">https://t.co/hVuE7hxX6e</a> <a href="https://t.co/dDCp8thAlg">pic.twitter.com/dDCp8thAlg</a></p> — Booking.com (@bookingcom) <a href="https://twitter.com/bookingcom/status/794113931149185024">November 3, 2016</a> </blockquote> <h3>Targeting mobile travellers in the moment</h3> <p>So, what enables innovation like this to occur in the first place?</p> <p>Increased mobile usage, of course.</p> <p>Gillian spoke about how today’s consumers, and specifically millennial consumers, are using their mobiles in the moment – deliberately travelling without a plan and relying on smartphone technology to give them the service they need in real time.</p> <p>Naturally, when it comes to push notifications, there is a fine line between a mobile app being helpful and annoying. </p> <p>However, Gillian goes back to the notion of measuring and testing user response to determine when and how often interaction is required.</p> <p>Ultimately, it should never be about bombarding the customer with messaging, but engaging with them in the moments when they need it most. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1302/travel_app.jpg" alt="" width="780" height="521"></p> <h3>Staying relevant in a competitive space</h3> <p>With over 1m transactions every day, Booking.com’s customer base is huge.</p> <p>So, how does the company compete for the millennial audience against the likes of Airbnb.</p> <p>For Gillian, the answer is offering a non-traditional mix of multichannel marketing.</p> <p>While Airbnb and other more digital companies might resist offline entirely, Booking.com still dedicates a small yet focused portion of its budget to this. </p> <p>Why? Well, despite the ‘in-the-moment’ demand of mobile consumers, the company recognises the fact that a memorable offline ad is also what’s needed to stay in the mind of someone booking in six months' time. </p> <p>That being said, the company is still largely digital in its marketing presence - continually optimising for search to ensure relevancy and visibility online. </p> <p>Likewise, social media spaces like Facebook, where travel is an ever-present topic of conversation, offer great opportunities for targeted ads.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/1LHTKVtiDnQ?wmode=transparent" width="640" height="360"></iframe></p> <p><em>(If you fancy a look at other travel marketing campaigns, you can find <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67766-10-examples-of-great-travel-marketing-campaigns/" target="_blank">10 great examples here</a>.)</em></p> <h3>The future of travel</h3> <p>While Booking.com is undeniably functional, its site has often been criticised for being incredibly unsexy in design.</p> <p>A little harsh, perhaps. But does this matter?</p> <p>For Gillian, the answer is decidedly no.</p> <p>What <em>is</em> important is that the company takes into consideration actual customer feedback rather than just assuming what it is they might want.</p> <p>Again, this goes back to user testing, with the developers making small and constant changes in order to gauge response.</p> <p>In future, more pressing matters include improving the Booking.com experience in any way possible.</p> <p>This looks set to include greater <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67894-what-are-chatbots-and-why-should-marketers-care/">chatbot</a> functionality, with booking assistants enabling an even faster and easier journey (both online and in literal terms) for customers than ever before.</p> <p>Finally, at the end of the talk, Gillian was asked a rather shoehorned-in question about Brexit. More specifically, its potential impact on the travel industry.</p> <p>For a global company like Booking.com, there doesn't appear to be any major issues on the horizon.</p> <p>Ultimately, it appears that people will always travel. The only thing that might change is where they travel to. </p> <p>But then again, with more leaving this decision up to the last minute, and even using sites like Booking.com to decide for them – nothing in this industry is quite so certain any more.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1301/London.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="483"></p> <p><em>For more on this topic, see:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/digital-trends-in-the-travel-and-hospitality-sector/"><em>Digital Trends in the Travel and Hospitality Sector Report</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67996-what-travel-tourism-marketers-can-learn-from-discover-la/"><em>What travel &amp; tourism marketers can learn from Discover LA</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66156-12-insanely-beautiful-travel-and-leisure-websites/"><em>12 insanely beautiful travel and leisure websites</em></a></li> </ul> 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>